Where? - 301 High Street. Northcote
Price? - $25
Website? - http://northcotesocialclub.com/
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki, Pat
The Northcote Social Club is the lost parma review. A few years ago I couldn't make it to a review as I was away on Holiday (Possibly my Honeymoon? Can't quite remember) and delegated the weekly parma review duties to Reviewer Pat - Who gathered a team, headed to Northcote and gave the Social Club's parma a crack.
Then he pretty much forgot to do anything after that. No review was written, nothing went up on the site, the world (amazingly) kept on spinning.
I didn't realise this when I picked the Northcote as our destination this week and was only informed once we had locked it in that we had, in fact, done this parma before, Although from what I can gather this was before the swanky new renovations took place. I figure since the review never actually made it to the site there was no drama in finally giving the Northcote Social Club a review (granted it was a little late, but we got there eventually!)
I briefly mentioned the renovations earlier - This pub looks great. The front bar & band room are pretty much your standard pub fare - but the open air dining area and beer garden out the back is where this pub really shines. There are covered areas with fans & heaters if you need to take shelter from the elements, but also an uncovered spot up the back if you want to see the stars above.
Wednesday is vegan/vegetarian takeover night at the Northcote, so as well as the standard menu there is also a full vegan specials menu available to choose from, right down to vegan and gluten free beers (no vegan parmas unfortunately).
So amid all the happy patrons chowing down on couscous and quinoa, we checked the menu, spied our target...
... and placed our orders at the bar.
The range of beers on tap at the Northcote is adequate - Nothing overly craft focussed but should be enough to keep everyone happy. From Melbourne Bitter to Mountain Goat Steam Ale I'm sure you'll find something to wet your whistle, and if you're really feeling fancy theres a decent range of bottled beers available as well (Stone & Wood, Two Birds, Moon Dog ... You name it).
Around 15 - 20 minutes after ordering the parmas arrived at the table -
The parma looked impressive on the plate. Only served slightly on the chips but most of them were free to breathe. The chicken breast schnitzel was a little small, not overly so - but varied a little in thickness, ranging from "damn thats thick" to "hmm ... this is a little thin". It was cooked well for the most part, conservatively crumbed and carried a great crunch.
My biggest complaint would be the chicken itself came out quite dry - there was a lot of napoli on top, which helped a bit, but the dryness of the bird was still very much detectable.
The toppings were all pretty good. The cheese was a flavoursome tasty blend, As I mentioned the napoli was plentiful and carried a light tangy flavour that complimented the dish well.
The ham was fine, had a great taste to it that definitely made its presence known - However I'm not sure just how "off the bone" it was as the menu states, seemed like pretty standard sliced stuff to me. Either way there was plenty of it and it all worked well.
The chips were pretty great. Beer battered, well cooked, crunchy and delightful. They were in need of a little salt, but there was plenty available at the cutlery station along with both tomato and HP sauce for dipping. A fine addition to the meal.
The salad was pretty much an afterthought - Dry, mostly wilted leaves with barely any dressing to speak of. Definitely needed a bit more love on the salad front.
Reviewer Pat pretty much just stole my next paragraph for his quote, but he is spot on - $25 is a pricey parma, and while this was a perfectly fine meal I would hesitate in shelling out another 25 clams for it again. The Northcote offers a "Monday Mass" $15 chicken or eggplant parma and $15 jugs from 6pm. At $15 this parma is an absolute belter and definitely one you should check out ... but for $25 it falls a bit shy of the mark.
I really enjoyed my trip to the Northcote - The pub looked great, the beer was cold and the parma was a damn fine meal short of a few minor quibbles. Overall it was a great parma - Just not a $25 dollar parma.
- Quality chips
- Tasty toppings
- Amazing beer garden/dining area
- Chicken was a little dry
- No love in the salad
- Expensive for what you get