Where? - 382 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Price? - $10 Thursday parma night, $21 normally
Website? - http://albertandsydney.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
I'm going to preface this review with two points. They might be a little spoiler-y to the rest of the review, however I need to make some things clear from the get-go.
- This review is for the Thursday night $10 schnitzel & parma night at Albert & Sydney, not for the full priced parma.
- I hate thigh chicken. I know some people are okay with the use of thigh, but there is a time and a place where its appropriate.
With that out of the way, let's begin.
New blood is rare on Sydney Road. Even with the multitude of bars and pubs that come and go from the stretch of businesses it's very rare that a new parma pops up for us to try - Which is why when one does appear we jump on it immediately.
Around the time we did our review of the Charles Weston I heard word of another cheap parma night in Brunswick, the place that used to be Albert Street Food & Wine had a new name and a new menu - parma included. I saw an advertisement for their $10 Thursday schnitzel night and locked it in for us to try.
Albert & Sydney is a very cool space. With a DJ cranking tunes on a Thursday night, sunny beer garden out the back and plush leather booths to sink into its the perfect vibe to grab a cocktail and a feed.
We sat at our table, ordered some drinks and checked the menu, a sheet clipped to the front of the regular menu listed the details of schnitzel night at Albert & Sydney...
After a quick giggle at "neapolitan" sauce (was it going to be chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavoured?) we ordered our parmas, due to the $10 special we had to choose between chips or salad, so we split the difference and got a plate of each so we could properly review both.
The Hawkers Pilsners went down a treat, and at $5 they were an absolute bargain. Reviewer Nikki opted for the espresso martini ($13 during happy hour) and was exceedingly impressed. Everything about Albert & Sydney was kicking goals at this stage, before too long our parmas arrived...
The schnitzel was tiny. Amazingly tiny. Out of sheer curiosity of "how much do they charge for this on a regular night" I grabbed the menu and checked the proper listing. My heart sank.
They use thigh at Albert & Sydney.
We have covered this before on a previous review, but there is a time and a place for thigh, and a chicken parma is not one of them. I picked up the cutlery, tucked in and the grey chicken that greeted me confirmed my suspicions. Crap.
It was a damn shame too, as the crumbing used on the thigh was absolutely fantastic. Crisp, flavoursome and a fantastic crunch, however it was all spoiled by the chicken underneath. The schnitzel, although small, was not hammered too thick.
The toppings were decent. Good coverage (although it was a pretty small target to hit). The cheese was flavoursome and the napoli fresh. I think a shave of ham would have helped as well, something from the full priced parma that was absent on the parma night variety.
The chips, while looking quite lonely on the massive plate, were pretty good. Beer battered, served piping hot and well seasoned - Definitely the best thing on the plate.
The salad over on Reviewer Nikki's plate was adequate, but not much more. Mostly lettuce with a few slivers of onion and tomato, she was definitely envious of my chips. It was fresh, but underdressed.
Our rule of thumb with judging value at ParmaDaze is "Would I happily pay the price I paid to have it again", and although it's cheap my answer to that for the parma here is a definite no. Price isn't everything.
We've had a lot of discount parma nights in the time we've been reviewing, but none have felt as cheap as this one. It looked minuscule on the plate, only giving the option of chips or salad, stripping out the ham that is normally on the menu and using the cheapest cut of chicken you can find. Yeah $10 is insanely cheap for a meal, but to be honest I'd rather pay $15 and get a parma with two sides, a slice of ham and a chicken breast. The $5 stubbies of Hawkers would be enough to get me in the door alone if they served a quality meal alongside it.
I know some people swear by the use of chicken thigh, I am not one of those people, maybe my bias against thigh has made this review harsher than it should be but in my opinion there is just no place for thigh in a chicken parma, no excuses.
Other than the parma Albert & Sydney is a cool venue with super friendly staff, amazing cocktails and a really chilled out vibe. If I'm welcome back I could definitely see ducking back in for a few lazy hours of cocktails in the sun. Just get rid of the thigh.