Where? - 65-67 Douglas Pde. Williamstown
Price? - $19
Website? - http://www.thevictoriainn.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki, Stefo
Hello all! Hope you had a great Easter break, and you're currently reading this review in a chocolate-induced stupor brought on by the consumption of at least half of your body weight in Humpty Dumptys and Cadbury bunnies.
As it was Easter, last Friday marked the annual Good Friday Appeal for the Royal Children's Hospital, what you may not know is that for the last ten years the ALH pub group has been running what they call "Parma Week" wherein $2 of every parma sold at any of their 80+ participating venues around the state for the week leading up to Good Friday goes directly to the Royal Children's - An initiative we're always happy to support.
Think of a pokies pub anywhere in Melbourne's inner (or outer) suburbs and dollars to donuts you're thinking of an ALH pub, so we had plenty of choices to pick from for this weeks parma review - Unfortunately ALH pubs don't have the best reputation when it comes to their culinary prowess, In my experience their parmas are your standard processed oversized chicken nugget garbage and as much as I wanted to support their charitable spirit, I also didn't want to eat a crappy parma. So I hit Google in an effort to find a pub in the ALH group that also had a decent reputation for their food. Which we found in the Victoria Inn.
Well, mostly. Online reviews for this place were pretty harsh, mainly complaining about a lack of atmosphere and the presence of pokies, but in a strange anomaly a lot of the reviews I read (even the negative ones) ended along the lines of "... but the parma was pretty good". Good enough for us! With expectations suitably low we loaded up the parma bus and headed to Williamstown.
We arrived at the Vic and were pleasantly surprised - If you could tune out the jingle of the pokies room the front bar at the Vic actually had a bit of character. Multiple seating options, a small lounge area and some booths - It wasn't going to win any awards for interior design, but it was a very cosy little space.
The dining room could use a little on the atmosphere front, but it wasn't offensive - just a bit bland. Four walls and some tables with a TV up in the corner (lucky, as the first game of the 2016 AFL season was kicking off when we arrived). There were a few diners there already and filling up fast, so we grabbed a seat, checked the menu...
... and placed our orders at the bar.
ALH pubs are pretty notorious for not having a great range of beers. Most of the time if you don't enjoy VB or Carlton Draught you're out of luck, So imagine my surprise when I noticed that the Victoria Inn were also rocking a tap of Cricketers Arms Scorcher Summer Ale - A beverage I was happy to partake in.
Footy on the TV, beer in hand, expectations for the food about as low as they can get, we settled in ... and about 20 minutes later our meals arrived at the table.
That ... actually didn't look too bad! Despite being rather small (a fact emphasised by it being placed on a massively empty plate) the schnitzel was unprocessed, plump chicken breast. It was definitely on the small side, but thick, juicy and served absolutely scalding hot. The crumbs, while a little on the soggy side, weren't offensively applied.
Was expecting an oversized chicken nugget, wound up getting an undersized great quality schnitzel... I'm gonna take that as a win.
The toppings were all acceptable, although nothing really blew us away. The napoli's flavour dominated the palate, rich and chunky. The cheese was applied liberally and well melted. The ham was there ... but not really detectable.
Although not amazing everything was perfectly fine, and (again) much better than expected.
The chips were pretty middle of the road. Pub chips with a desperate need for some seasoning, much like the parma they were served piping hot, and due to all the free plate real estate from the salad coming out separately not a single one was served under the parma - which was greatly appreciated. I could have definitely used an extra handful though.
As I mentioned moments ago, the salad was served in its own bowl that was actually delivered from the kitchen separately from the parma. It was your standard garden salad. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and some radish slices. Everything was fresh and crisp with a healthy dose of balsamic. Refreshing and delicious.
If I were in Williamstown I'd happily pay $19 to have this parma again, at no point did I feel like I was getting ripped off with the quality of ingredients. The Victoria offers an $18 parma n' pot Wednesday night special with 5 different novelty varieties available. If you're a Willy local this sounds like a decent deal and definitely the night to visit if you're planning on checking out what the Victoria Inn has to offer.
I wouldn't go back to Williamstown just for this parma, but if I found myself at the Victoria Inn I would have no qualms ordering it again. It is probably the best parma I've had from an ALH pub, which I'm aware isn't saying much, but makes me kind've happy to know that they aren't all terrible. And props again to them for 10 years of Parma Week for the Good Friday Appeal - Will catch them again for year 11.
- Surprisingly good quality chicken breast
- Salad served in separate bowl
- Quite a small schnitzel
- Soggy crumbs
- Chips needed seasoning