Where? - Federation Square, Melbourne
Price? - $22
Website? - http://www.transporthotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo, Tony
Well, last night was a bit of a disaster, as Eric Bana would put it if you watched Full Frontal in the 90's, it was a complete shemozzle.
The night started with a solid plan, Head into the city to Sand Hill Road's newest creation The Garden State Hotel. Sure they don't take bookings but we'll get there early and secure a table... She'll be right!
Incorrect. Apparently I didn't get the memo that the Garden State is the busiest bloody pub in Melbourne right now, and if we wanted to snag a table in the public bar we should have headed in at about 5:30am. The place was shoulder-to-shoulder packed from the time we got there (6ish) to the time we gave up (7:30ish). Those that had booths weren't moving and those that needed a booth were circling like velociraptors. On the rare occasion some seating did open up it was snatched away in milliseconds (thats when the attack comes - not from the front... but from the sides. The other group of people scoping out the booth you want, you didn't even know were there).
So we bailed on the Garden State, vowing to return once the hoopla dies down, and went to our backup spot Hairy Little Sista on Little Collins, but wouldn't you know it... They've taken the parma off the menu!
Okay, lets try Beer Deluxe. Shit. Only the Hawthorn Beer Deluxe has a parma on the menu, not the Fed Square one.
By this point we were cold, we were hungry, and we could see Transport in the distance. What the hell, it's been four years, let's give them a redo.
I don't think I've been to Transport since the first time we reviewed it back in August 2012, and to be honest I don't think the concrete monolith has changed one iota since then.
The indoor seating at Transport is weird. The area around the main bar is propagated with one or two extremely long concrete slabs with fixed wooden chairs that are a pain in the arse to get into and out of, rather than bother with those we opted to sit outside under the umbrella and by one of the many gas heaters.
We checked the menu...
Ordered our meals and grabbed a pint.
On our last visit I praised Transport's use of the Boomerang ordering system (It's the thing where you get a little buzzer that flashes and vibrates when your food is ready to be collected). This time around however, the Boomerang failed us.
Between the review team we had three Boomerangs. Two of them chimed 10 minutes after ordering, the third stayed silent. Three of us tucked into our parmas while two of the group looked on with puppy dog eyes. It wasn't until we were nearly finished our meals that they checked on theirs at the bar only to discover that the order hadn't been put through the system, and the Boomerang they were given was about as useful as a rock.
Some complimentary pints were handed out for their trouble, but I think the damage was already done.
Anyway, lets check out the parma, before and after
First up, I was ecstatic to see that they had gotten rid of the teardrop shaped plates that were almost impossible to eat off without spilling your parma everywhere.
The schnitzel was decently sized, you definitely aren't walking away from this parma hungry. The crumbs were crunchy but quite thick, I didn't manage to get a cross section this week as it had gotten too dark outside but the crumb to chicken ratio was way out of whack.
The chicken was cooked well, slightly dry but not criminally so, and gone was the weird flour taste that it had last time.
The toppings were average all round. The cheese needed more time under the grill, the ham was absolutely tasteless and the napoli, while no longer tasting pasty and burnt, tasted quite sweet - almost sugary, and it overpowered pretty much everything on the plate.
Gone are the super oily crinkle cut fries and in their place was a serving of what we all know as "Maccas chips". Never been a huge fan of Maccas chips with a parma unless they are done exceptionally well, which these were not. They were warm when arrived but turned stone cold and hard about 7 seconds after starting to eat them. A standard pub chip would have been a much better addition to the parma.
Salad was a mixed bag. Fresh and crisp ingredients no longer coated in oil, however I feel that they've gone too far the other way as it was almost entirely undressed and dry.
Lets play a little game, I call it "Guess which of the four reviewers giving quotes had their order lost and had to wait 45 minutes for their parma". It's a working title.
It's not often the price of a parma drops between a first and second attempt, but the last time we visited Transport we were stung $23.90, last night it was a much more tolerable $22 even. I won't be running back to Transport any time soon but it's nice to know I'm not being gouged on price.
This is a tough parma to sum up. Since 2012 they have definitely made some improvements and overall I think it was a better parma than it was - But I still wouldn't call it good. Average at best, but if you find yourself with no other options (as we did last night) you won't be too offended.
- Quite big for the price, very filling
- Thick crumbs
- Overpowering and overly sweet napoli
- Boomerang system forgot two of the five parmas we ordered