Attempt #62 - 'The Napier Hotel'

 

[info]

When? - 4th of August, 2011

Where? - The Napier Hotel, 210 Napier St, Fitzroy

Price? – $20.00

Barry? - No

Website? -  http://thenapierhotel.com/

Reviewers – Carly, Lee, Nikki, Pat[/info]

 

I was stumped at the start of the week when it came to pubs to try, we had just come off our review of The Exchange, which took the spot as our new #1 parma, so surely the parma following that act would pale in comparison. I looked at our map and saw a bit of a gap in the Fitzroy region, I also remembered that the Napier was in Fitzroy, and they offered up a parma that we had been meaning to try for a very long time

Still not convinced I turned to Cleverbot, the website that lets you chat to an artificial intelligence… hopefully he could shed some light on the situation.

Well… that was pointless. So we decided on the Napier, loaded up the Parma Bus, and headed to Fitzroy.

There was a smaller group this week so I decided not to make a booking… BIG mistake - this (rather large) pub was packed when we arrived, and it was barely even 7pm. Luckily we managed to squeeze in to a table in the front bar.

Now the Napier offers up two varieties of parma, A standard parma and a very original offering where in place of ham they stack fillets of smoked kangaroo. Tantalizing, no?

There were four reviewers so we agreed to get two roo parmas and two ham parmas, with the condition that we were all allowed to have a taste of the other one, for review purposes. $20 each, we placed our order at the bar, and awaited our foods arrival.

I had hoped to institute a new feature in Parma Daze this week in which I timed how long the parma took from ordering to delivery. I recorded the order time (7.24pm) but when the parmas arrived I was so excited I totally forgot to record the arrival time, from memory it was about half an hour … not too bad.

I have photos of both the roo parma and the ham parma below

The Roo Parma

 

The Ham Parma

I ordered the roo parma and I have to say I was in total shock when it fell to the table - I was expecting shaved roo slices as if they had been through a deli slicer - no sir, this was sliced roo fillets, about the same size you would see in a stir fry, smoked to perfection and tender as hell. they added a unique taste to the parma that has to be tasted to be described - a truly different parma experience that every parma lover needs to try!

The chicken was top quality breast, thick, big, well crumbed and generously covered in toppings, my only complaint (similar to last weeks parma) is that they overdid it a littlewith the napoli, some areas were swimming in it and it overpowered the rest of the chicken, but otherwise a great parma. During my meal I had the opportunity to try the Ham variety, and even though I was greatly enjoying the Kangaroo parma I must say that the ham variety was delicious in its own right, its amazing how the ham completely altered the flavour of the entire meal, yet kept it tasty, I’d be torn if I had to choose between roo and ham a second time, both were vastly different, yet equally delicious.

Cross section - you can see some kangaroo on top -

The chips were crinkle cut … points already, and well salted, there was a decent serving (under the chicken unfortunately) but we got a fair few ‘poo chips’ as they were dubbed, the ones that didn’t come out quite right, like an inbred puppy, where the other chips were golden brown, the poo chips were dark and almost inedible - despite those it was a decent chip offering. Crinkle cut rocks.

The salad was a point of contention amongst reviewers. It was presented beautifully and looked amazing, however when you broke it down it was rather sparse and eating it became a challenge, It was a garden salad consisting of lettuce, tomato and lots of diced cucumber, with some parsley and dressing thrown through, very basic, but still kind of tasty, the problem came with trying to eat a pile of diced cucumber with a fork and a knife sitting on a very crowded barroom table, If a spoon were available it would be much easier but as it were the over-dicing of the cucumber became a hassle.

The Napier is a great, cosy pub, the decor is… indescribable, if you have any sort of moral objection to the Fitzroy Football club you might want to give this place a miss as the front bar looks like Fitzroy threw up on the place… in a good way! everywhere you look is a different piece of football paraphernalia, definitely enough to keep you entertained while waiting for your chicken

I was worried that this weeks parma would have a hard time following The Exchange but it put up one hell of a fight, this was a fantastic and unique parma experience that I’d be happy to try again any day of the week, points for originality, quality and the overall experience… a top notch parma!

Parma - 8.5
Chips - 8.15
Salad - 6.5
Value - 8.13
Total - 7.96

The search continues…

Napier Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #60 - 'The Gladstone Park Hotel'

 

[info]

When? - 20th of July, 2011

Where? - Gladstone Park Hotel, 196 Mickleham Rd, Tullamarine

Price? – $21.50

Barry? - No

Website? -  None

Reviewers – Adam, Grace, Lee, Tony[/info]

The Gladstone Park Hotel. This is where I would normally insert the story of how we came across the pub in this weeks review, but to be honest there isn’t much of a story behind the Gladdy Pub, It’s rather close to where I work (what I do when I’m not eating parmas) and is one of those pubs that I’ve always seen but never really registered it as a place to get some food, maybe a cheeky beer and a quick pokies sesh, but as for a place to eat it never quite registered.

So imagine my surprise when we arrived at 7 to a packed bistro, If we didn’t have a booking I don’t think we would have gotten a table. I’d normally take a pub being so busy at 7 o’clock on a Wednesday to be a good sign. It’s a big place, with a bistro, TAB, lounge, pokies, drive through bottle shop and a motel out the back, its definitely a popular place for the locals to drop into for an after work drink

UPDATE: A fine young chap on the Parma Daze facebook just pointed out that the Gladstone Park hotel have a ‘Shop-a-docket’ going around, ‘Buy one meal, Get one Free’ Monday - Wednesdays, and come to think of it I remember a few people ordering with these at the time, so if you can get a shop-a-docket for a free parma go for it! (the “free” meal maxes out at $17.95, so the 2nd parma will cost you $3.55 - still a bargain)

We took our seats and perused the menu - the parma clocked in at $21.50, a little expensive but forgivable if the food is decent. We joined the massive queue to order our meals and placed our orders - An interesting sidenote - If the staff do not ask if you would like a garlic bread, you get a garlic bread for free. Everyone who ordered was hoping against hope that she would forget, but alas we got no free garlic bread, no matter how much we tried to Jedi-mind trick her into handing one over.

“you don’t need to ask us if we want garlic bread with our meal”

We paid for a garlic bread instead and it came out of the kitchen insanely quick, to the point where it almost beat us back to our own table after ordering.

There were a few mentions of special parma nights advertised around the pub, apparently Sunday is “Parmas of the World” nights and Friday is “Karaoke, Steak & Parma Night” unfortunately none of the advertising actually specified prices/what was involved in those specials, so thats all the information I have on them.

When we ordered the staff said it would be a 45 minute wait for our meals, after about 30 minutes they arrived - I was off playing the candy machine in the corner and came back to a piping hot parma sitting on the table. Awesome.

We have had a bad run of processed chicken the past few weeks, so when I saw that everyone’s parma was a different shape I silently wept with joy, it was real chicken breast. The chicken was thick, albeit a little small, but real chicken breast, it was well crumbed and cooked with a good covering of toppings (including smoked ham that added a nice smokey flavour to the meal) cheese/napoli/crumbs all good.

Due to the odd shape of my chicken it was hard to get a good cross-section, but heres the best I could do -

The chips had promise, beer battered chips are my favourite but unfortunately they were a bit of a let down. As you can see from the photo there was only a handful beside the parma, and I think we got the bottom of the chip barrel for the night as they tasted rather soggy, as if they had been sitting out for awhile, which I suppose is just luck of the draw - they had lots of potential and weren’t bad by any means, but could have been much better.

The salad was served in a separate bowl, a garden salad with carrot, cucumber, lettuce, onion, tomato with a creamy, almost ‘seafood cocktail’ dressing. It was a good size, fresh, crisp and tasty. As far as garden salads go, this was a good one.

Overall I enjoyed the parma at the Gladdy. It tasted great, and although the servings were a little small it was real chicken breast, and that can’t be beaten. $21.50 is a little expensive for what we got, but I’d definitely be interested in heading back on one of their specials nights to see what they have on offer. Oh, and the Candy Machine is a winner, its one of these ones…

and its full of all sorts of oddly shaped items that can very easily clear the entire tray of chocolate in one go, PROTIP - Aim for the cricket balls.

Parma - 6.5
Chips - 6.25
Salad - 6
Value - 4.88
Total - 6.03

The search continues…

Gladstone Park Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #59 - 'Leo's Spaghetti Bar'

[info]

When? - 14th of July, 2011

Where? - Leo’s Spaghetti Bar, 55 Fitzroy St, St. Kilda

Price? – $14 for small parma, $19 for regular parma (see review for details)

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.leosspaghettibar.com.au/

Reviewers – Adam, Lee, Nikki, Pat[/info]

Todays review is going to be a downer, which is possibly why I procrastinated on writing it for so long, why it is coming to you guys a few days too late, and for that I apologise.

Some non-review related stuff first, if you aren’t interested in that stuff, scroll down until Tony Danza tells you to stop, the review of Leo’s will kick off there.

First up, some news, Those who follow our story of how Parma Daze came to be will know that all the reviewers used to meet at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Ascot Vale every Wednesday, for their Wednesday parma night - a parma that after 59 reviews we are yet to find an equal. About a year and a half ago The Prince of Wales was torn apart by fire, and the best parma in Melbourne was lost.

Unfortunately last week word came through the grapevine that its pretty certain the owners of the building have opted not to rebuild the pub and have asked the owners of the Prince of Wales to vacate the premises, looking to sell the building to developers.

The Prince of Wales was a huge part of many peoples lives, including my own - It was my second home, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without that pub, I met my fiancee under its roof, as well as some of my best mates. Hopefully a little bit of the Prince shall live on in Parma Daze, as we still refuse to rest until we find Melbourne’s perfect parma.

Farewell, Prince of Wales Hotel. You will be missed.

Since the early days of this website, one restaurant has come up pretty regularly in conversation, via email, facebook, twitter and even word of mouth, Leo’s Spaghetti Bar always came up as one we should try. On at least ten separate occasions I have been suggested Leo’s, and to those ten people who suggested it to me I apologise in advance, as this review is probably going to offend you guys.

We arrived at a semi-busy Leo’s and took our seat, we glanced at the menu but we were pretty clear on what we wanted… parmas. After a few attempts we managed to wave over a waitress to take our order, but on ordering we were posed with a question that I wasn’t prepared for - would we like the ‘special’ parma, or the parma on the menu. I asked what the difference between the two was and she responded ‘Oh just the size of the chicken is a bit smaller, the special one is $14 and the menu one is $19’ Curious but hungry, Reviewers Pat, Adam and Myself ordered the $19 meal and reviewer Nikki volunteered to try the $14 variety. We organized a garlic & cheese pizza to stave off our hunger while we waited.

Now a small garlic and cheese pizza doesn’t go very far when you split it amongst 4 people, so after the first one was demolished in about 7 seconds flat we decided to try another - again we had to wave like madmen to get the attention of the staff to place our order, eventually we got it through and garlic pizza no #2 came out at the same time as our chicken parmas fell in front of us.

$19 Parma -

$14 Parma -

I first saw my parma, and size-wise it was decent (at first glance, anyway) but I was shocked when I saw reviewer Nikki’s parma - everything was smaller, smaller salad, tiny amount of chips and the size of the parma itself was laughable, it looked as if you could put it in a bun and call it a chicken burger - It’s pretty obvious what happened, those darn neighbour kids were playing with their baseball in the backyard, the ball smashed through Leo’s kitchen window and bam

Honey, They shrunk our parma.

But back to my parma, There was barely any nude schnitzel, heaps of cheese and some shaved ham, however it was very light on the napoli, leaving the parma very dry. I mentioned the abundance of cheese before however it was absolutely tasteless and rubbery, reminiscent of cardboard. The chicken itself was a little thin after first cut, which you can see from the following cross section - The chicken seemed to be of good quality, however taste-wise it didn’t quite cut it.

The chips were shoe-string (aka. McDonalds) fries, stacked under the parma, there was a decent serving, however completely forgettable.

The side salad was quite good, large serving of lettuce, onion, rocket, cucumber, tomato and onion with a creamy caesar dressing - very tasty.

This parma was a massive let down, mostly because I had heard so many good things I was itching to try it. The difference between the ‘special’ and ‘regular’ parma was simply shocking, 90% of the places we visit offer the exact same meal on the special night as they do on the regular night, having such a drastic change for a $5 difference in price is just insane, especially since $15 still isn’t that cheap in the world of parmas! especially without a free pot.

Although we don’t score on it, the service at Leo’s also has to be mentioned, it may sound as if I’m just nitpicking now, but we were never approached to see if we needed anything, not once, From our first order, to several drinks during the meal, to even getting the bill at the end of the night, we had to go to extreme effort to get any attention from the staff.

We did go to Cold Rock afterwards though (a few doors up from Leo’s), that was friggin amazing.  I got Cookies & Cream ice cream mixed with cookie dough. Seriously, how good is Cold Rock!?.

Parma - 4.75
Chips - 4.00
Salad - 5.63
Value - 5.75
Total - 4.98

The search continues…

Leo's Spaghetti Bar on Urbanspoon

Attempt #58 - 'The Castle Hotel'

[info]

When? - 7th of July, 2011

Where? - The Castle Hotel, 56 Courtney St. North Melbourne

Price? – $19.50

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.thecastlehotel.com.au/

Reviewers – Cale, Grace, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Tony[/info]

We first discovered The Castle after we finished our parma at our current #1 holder - The Metropolitan Hotel, just a stones throw from the castle, We stopped in for some post parma bevvys on that night back in May last year and found it was a nice little spot, and seemed to have potential to serve up a decent bird. We added it to the list & a short year and two months later we were back! ready to see what The Castle had to offer.

We rocked up at seven and took our reserved table - the bistro is very well presented, almost looking like they provided table service (wine glasses on table, etc) yet we still had to order from the bar - I perused the menu and found the parma -

That sounds like a veritable treat for the tastebuds! we ordered our meals, grabbed a few pints and took a seat, before too long our parmas arrived!

If we gave points for presentation, this parma had it in spades, it looked fantastic! the parma itself was set on an angle against the salad bowl, to create cover fore the chips without smothering them. It looked fantastic and I was really looking forward to digging in. Unfortunately on first bite I realised I was going to be sorely disappointed, It was like biting into the most delicious looking piece of fruit and discovering it was plastic. From the wording on the menu I was expecting something full of flavour but to be perfectly honest it tasted like cardboard, as bland as a pair of beige pants.

The schnitzel was thin and processed, there was plenty of ham and cheese but they were both equally as tasteless

The chips were overcooked and just as uninspired, barely a handful on the plate, totally forgettable, The one positive would be that due to the triangle of safety created by the angle of the parma, they remained crispy to the end.

The salad was the most impressive thing on the plate, but honestly that isn’t saying much, a standard garden salad in a bowl (always a good move) with some rocket leaves, tomato, cucumber, onion and tomato with a mustard dressing - It was pretty tasty, but when the salad is the best part of the plate its a sad state of affairs

It wasn’t a bad parma to be honest, but it was just nothingness, like chewing on cardboard … it just had no taste, and for $19.50 thats a bit expensive for nothingness.

They do a special ‘$16 for everything on the menu Monday & Tuesday’ which would help the value score, but to be honest I wouldn’t be seeking this parma out anytime soon - especially with the amazing parma at The Metropolitan a few metres away.

Parma - 4.17
Chips - 4.17
Salad - 5.50
Value - 4.17
Total - 4.43

The search continues…

Castle Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #57 - 'George's Hamburgers, Fish & Chips'

  [info] When? - 30th of June, 2011

Where? - George’s Hamburgers, Fish & Chips. 325 Keilor Rd, Essendon

Price? – $9.90 Barry? - No Website? - None

Reviewers – Lee, Nikki[/info]

Followers of the Parma Daze Twitter may be a tad confused, as I had posted earlier in the week that we were hitting up a pub that offered a triple parma, Alas (this week at least) it was not meant to be, we had a few regulars who couldn’t make it so our regular parma review squad dropped to two.

For this reason I figured we would forego the triple parma attempt in Thomastown and focus on a parma that was recommended to me on the PD Facebook that I have been meaning to try for awhile - The take away ‘parma pack’ at Georges Hamburgers, Fish & Chips, in Essendon. The reason it worked the best with a small group is that there isn’t really anywhere to eat at the fish & chip shop, sure there were a couple of tables outside, but on a freezing cold Melbourne night eating outside isn’t really an option, and the logistics of getting a large review team to get a take-away parma and eat it elsewhere would be a bit of a headache, thus small review team = easy take away review!

Okay, that was a long intro about nothingness, I’ll get to the parma. The take away parma has always been an elusive beast - We’ve all had that drunken conversation while standing at a kebab window at 3am saying “I wish I could get a take away parma right now… that would be the best” then dearly regretted buying said kebab the following morning.

Like bigfoot himself, the good take away parma has always been a myth, hoping we would be able to put the search to rest, we arrived at Georges and I scanned the menu, I was a little worried that we had the wrong place to begin with as I couldn’t see parmigiana listed anywhere, it wasn’t till I got to the very end of the menu board that I spotted it - Chicken parma pack - $9.90

We placed our order and waited around for them to cook it up, Normally this is the part of the review where I would discuss the establishment itself, but at a fish and chip shop I really don’t have much to report!

Its a small room divided by a counter, fryers on one side, waiting customers on the other, The chairs were comfy and the copies of ‘Womans Day’ seemed pretty current, so I guess thats something. As I was appreciating the possible copyright infringing artwork on the wall, our order was up.

Remember the days when all fish & chip shops had arcade machines to kill time? they should totally bring that back, that was awesome. We picked up our styrofoam containers of food, hopped in the car and headed home, as much as I enjoy the ambiance of Keilor Road, The comfort of my own place seemed the best option, and I’ve gotta say I enjoyed being able to watch Family Guy while I ate a parma sitting on my couch. On to the parma…  

I’ve gotta say I had zero expectations when I went into this parma, which is why when I cracked open the container I was pleasantly surprised, I cut into the schnitzel and it seemed thick enough, there was plenty of cheese, a little light on the napoli but the obligatory slice of ham was nowhere to be found.

The parma itself was okay - The crumbs tasted a little bit on the processed side and the lack of ham/little napoli was a bit of a let down, But when the only other option we have for a take away parma is the McCain’s offering, this chicken is like manna from heaven.

Underneath the parma were the chips, If you’ve ever had fish & chip shop chips before you know what they taste like, plentiful in number and fresh from the fryer with each parma, other than needing a bit of salt they were great, I had trouble getting through them all.

The salad was indeed a star, even though it was a take away parma it was one of the better salads we have ever had on one side we had a greek salad with lettuce, onion, cucumber, olives and fetta with a light french dressing.

On the other side there was a healthy dollop of creamy coleslaw, a most welcome addition that complimented the meal perfectly If you live in the area and feel like you could smash a quick parma then this is definitely one for you, call in advance and pick it up on the way past if you have a craving only parma can satisfy - you won’t be disappointed.

The parma itself was a slight let down, coming off a little too processed for my liking, but they definitely make up for it with the chips and salad, Neither myself nor Reviewer Nikki finished our containers (probably due to the huge amount of chips supplied). For only $9.90 its hard to go wrong.

Parma - 5.0
Chips - 5.25
Salad - 7.75
Value - 8.00
Total - 6.20

The search continues…

Georges Hamburgers Fish And Chips on Urbanspoon

Special Attempt - 'The Underdog'

[info] When? - 16th of June, 2011

Where? - The Underdog 16a Clapham Common South Side, London

Price? – £9 Parma £10 Asahi Buckets (4 stubbies) £5 for 2 games bogan bingo on Thursday nights!

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.theunderdogbar.co.uk/

Reviewers – Stefo, Fridge[/info]

As I mentioned in previous reviews, a few weeks ago we lost two of our reviewers to the foggy shores of London town. We allowed them to leave the country on the promise that they would become roving reporters, sending us back parma reviews from across the pond when they found them, And they haven’t disappointed - I’ll let Reviewer Stefo take over as he sends us his report from The Underdog, London.

We have now been in London for nearly two weeks and we were yet to find a Parma on any pub menu! Desperately hoping to find one our hopes faded until by chance we were invited to Bogan Bingo on Thursday night at the Underdog by Runchy, one of Reviewer Fridges mates. So we got on the tube (which later turned out to be the Parma tube) and headed to Clapham Common.

Once getting off the tube we headed to the underdog which is about a 50m walk from the tube station. As we arrived there was a sea of tables all with bookings on them so bookings are essential for this one. We found our table, helped ourselves to a bucket of Asahi from the bar andmade ourselves comfortable. At this point in time I will send out a warning

….The underdog does offer table service for drinks but it will cost about £2 extra!

Upon sitting down we raised the menu to our eyes and there was only one thing I could read…. CHICKEN PARMAGANIA!

…The waitress came around and started at the opposite end of the table to me however within seconds she was up to me as the whole table of Aussies ordered Parma’s! There was a fair wait for our food but it was eased by the amount of gorgeous women that kept coming into view! By the time our Parma’s arrived, our jaws were well and truly touching the table.

 

It looked amazing! And with a healthy serving of curly fries I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in! I started on the curly fries which were crisp tasty and very satisfying. I think they were also beer battered, but either way they were really good! Only one downside to the curly fries is that their roundness makes them prone to falling off your plate.

 I cut into my parma to find that it was quite thin and that the thickness I thought existed was actually more curly fries under my parma.

However the parma definitely wasn’t over crumbed and only had a couple of spots of nude schnitzel, it was fresh chicken and cooked very well. It didn’t exactly fill the plate but was very satisfying. The salad as we have noticed with most salads in this country was quite small and very stock standard with some rocket leaves, spinach and a dijonase dressing. 

The highlight of the night was yet to come however…. For any Aussie trvaelling to the motherland you simply MUST go to Bogan Bingo. Imagine every Bogan saying you can think of, combine it with two Bogan hosts, 2 games of Bingo, amazing prizes and unlimited laughs and you’ve got it!

Conversion rate: £10 = $15.35                       £5 = $7.67 £9= $13.81                           £2 = $3.07

I was shocked to see London town offer up such a tasty looking parma! those curly fries looked damn amazing didn’t they? I’m a little jealous I didn’t get to try them myself. Take note, Aussie parma makers! Curly fries are where its at!

Massive thanks to Reviewers Stefo & Fridge for taking the time, I hope you have all enjoyed this culinary vacation, we will be back next week with a Melbourne based review, so stay tuned! Also be sure to keep an eye on the Twitter for up to the minute information. Until then…

The search continues…

Attempt #55 - 'The Waterside Hotel'

[info]

When? - 9nd of June, 2011

Where? - The Waterside Hotel, Corner of Flinders St. and King St. Melbourne

Price? - $18 with free Melbourne longneck

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.watersidehotel.com.au/

Reviewers - Adam, Lee, Nikki, Pat[/info]

 

Before this review I had heard very conflicting reports about the Waterside Hotel’s parma, ranging from ‘god awful’ to ‘freaking amazing’, It has been on our list for a very long time but seemed to always get pushed down the queue (probably out of fear of it being as awful as some of the reports said). It was time, we could postpone no more and on Thursday night we headed down to the Waterside Hotel to see what they had on offer.

We arrived and took a seat in the bar area (there is a separate dining room if you are feeling a little bit fancy), an image on the TV screen and on the little menu cards on the table informed us that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Waterside offer up a parma special - $18 for a parma and a longneck of Melbourne Bitter. Now Melbourne isn’t my first choice for beer by any means, but when they are handing out free longnecks who am I to say no?!

We ordered our parmas and started our meal off with a bowl of wedges, which were fantastic, the garlic aoli was amazing and the wedges themselves were seasoned to perfection - if these wedges were in any way a precursor to the meal that was to come the Waterside was going to rate very well indeed.

Wedgealicious!

Before long our parma’s trotted out of the kitchen, when we ordered our meals we already had pints in hand, so the staff were nice enough to put our longnecks on ice until the food arrived, we cracked our beers and dug in

The chicken was smallish with a nasty rim of schnitzel nudity, It was thick enough, without an overdose of crumbs and actually carried a decent flavour, although it seemed small I had trouble getting through the whole thing (although the pre-parma wedges may have played a part in that) The napoli, ham and cheese were plentiful, everything was there and tasted pretty okay, although the whole thing had a bit of an air of processed chicken that I couldn’t get out of my head

The chips were great, not quite as good as the wedges mind you, but plentiful in supply, well cooked, seasoned, and not smooshed down by the parma

I am a big fan of salads in separate bowls, that way the dressing doesn’t leak to the chips and soggify them (add that one to the parma daze dictionary - soggify  v. ‘sog-ee-fi’ - To make soggy, moist). The salad was a standard garden salad but fresh, well dressed and tasty, a great accompaniment to the meal

I’m not quite sure how to sum up this review - The Waterside is a great pub, spacious with options for dining, drinking or lounging (with the deck upstairs for a summer night) it is a great place to stop in for a beer or seven - I’m actually headed there this Saturday night to do just that. The parma .. argh… the sides were top quality, the salad was great, and $18 with a longneck is awesome value, but I just feel as if they cheaped out on the parma itself a little. On a non- Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night the parma runs at $19.50 without a longneck, I must admit I would be disappointed if I got what I did and paid that much. I think my final verdict would be this -

Definitely hit this parma on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night to get the $18 parma n’ longneck deal, its well worth it, all other times I would give it a miss, it just comes off as a little too cheap for $19.50. Good sides though.

Parma - 6.00
Chips - 5.75
Salad - 6.25
Value - 7.50
Total - 6.30

The search continues…

Waterside Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #53 - 'The Cock 'N' Bull British Pub'

[info]

When? - 22nd of May, 2011

Where? - The Cock ‘N’ Bull British Pub, 50 Wellington St. Launcestion, Tasmania

Price? - $19.50

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.launcestonguinness.com.au/

Reviewers - Adam T, Kylie, Lee, M, Nikki, Shanan[/info]

Not last weekend, but the weekend before that I found myself in Tasmania - Launceston to be precise, I was whisked down south with some friends (and fellow reviewers) for 3 days of drinking at wineries, eating far too much unhealthy food and continuous ‘Nerf’ gun battles thanks to the great people at K-mart having a sale on Nerf equipment.

We were there for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, around noon on Saturday I was starting to develop an itch that only a delicious parma could scratch. I started checking the menu’s of the pubs that I passed to discover something very disturbing about Launceston … Chicken parma’s are rare as hens teeth. Lots of pubs had chicken schnitzels on the menu, but without the trademark napoli, ham and cheese that transforms a hum drum schnitzel into the ambrosia of the chickeny gods. A quick google search showed that pickings were indeed slim on Launceston’s parma front, but I had managed to secure info on a pub that had one on the menu - The Cock N Bull British Pub.

Luckily it was rather close to where we were staying, so on Sunday afternoon we loaded up our rental parma bus (an 8 seater Chrysler Voyager) and headed to the Cock N’ Bull.

The Cock N Bull is a cosy british themed pub, it reminded me greatly of Pugg Mahones on Lygon street, except with British paraphernalia on the walls as opposed to the Irish stuff found at Puggs.

Downstairs was pretty busy when we arrived so we ordered our parmas and headed upstairs, which was virtually deserted. The friendly staff found the footy on the TV for us, we ventured downstairs to slip a cheeky $20 into the pokies and before long our chicken landed in front of us.

If you look at the above photo I’m sure you can see this parma’s main problem already, the outside edge of nude schnitzel spent a little too much time under the grill and ended up burnt to a crisp, not the best way to start. However once you got past the burnt rim the rest of the parma was pretty good, decent chicken thickness with great crumb/chicken ratio (apologies for the lack of cross section, I was damn hungry and forgot to take it) The napoli was plentiful and the cheese golden brown, if it weren’t for the disappointing burnt/nude outer circle it would have been a great offering.

The chips, while hiding under the parma were plentiful however standard. The Cock n Bull did offer a variety of sauces (Tomato, BBQ, Sweet Chilli & HP) to spice them up a little so theres little to complain about, just standard chips

Much like the chips the salad was also a stock standard garden salad accompaniment, lettuce, onion, cucumber & tomato, obscured partially by the parma itself which caused some wilting by the time I dug through to it.

All in all the Cock N Bull put up a pretty decent parma that would have been better if not for the burnt edges, To be honest I was just happy to have my craving fulfilled and in the land that parma’s forgot I’ll take what I can get!

Parma - 5.5
Chips - 5.67
Salad - 6.33
Value - 6.83
Total - 5.97

The search continues…

While we are on the subject of out-of-state parmas I want to mention that a fellow parma enthusiast has been inspired by us at Parma Daze to start ParmaRama, taking up the search for Sydney’s best chicken parmigiana. I look forward to seeing what he discovers, be sure to check it out!

Attempt #52 - 'Town Hall Hotel'

 

[info]

When? - 26th of May, 2011

Where? - The Town Hall Hotel. 33 Errol St. North Melbourne

Price? - $18

Barry? - No

Website? - None

Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Emma, Lee, Ness, Nikki, Pat, Stefo[/info]

 

Last night was a night of celebration, both for our Fifty-second official parma review (one for every week of the year!) and saying goodbye to reviewer Stefo, who is leaving our team to become a roving-reporter, hopefully sending us reviews from London and wherever else he visits while he travels the world. You will be missed Stefo! we are going to try and squeeze in one more review with him on the team, but for all intents and purposes this was the final parma Stefo would be having for the Melbourne Parma Daze team, so it was his job to select where we would be attempting this week, and he chose the Town Hall Hotel, in Errol st. North Melbourne.

The Town Hall hotel is a must-visit, not only for the insane decor but for one of the best kept secrets in North Melbourne, the beer garden. Walking through the front bar, then through the bistro, and past the kitchen will put you in a quiet beer garden you would never expect to find on busy Errol St, and dont worry if its a cold night, all the booths out in the garden are equipped with their own heaters hanging above that keep everything nice and cosy.

Oh yeah, I should talk about parmas sometime soon.

Be warned - bookings are essential at this place, we arrived at 6.45 on a Thursday night and the bistro was already packed with hungry patrons, luckily we had a booking so seating wasn’t a problem but you should keep it in mind if you intend to dine with a group. We glanced at the menu on the wall, went to the bar (past the oddly disturbing portraits of crying children) and placed our orders, after that there was nothing more to bit sit back and wait for our parmas to arrive.

It was a slight wait, but on a trip to check out the beer garden we could plainly see our tasty looking parmas frying up on the hotplate (not deep fried, points there). Before to long we saw our parmas line up along the heat lamps, 8 parmas wide and stacked high it was a very appetising sight, moments later they fell on the table in front of us

Can’t really see the height from this angle, but this parma was stacked high on the chips

The schnitzel itself was great quality, although calling it a schnitzel may be a bit of a false claim as there were very little, if any crumbs on the breast itself, not that its a bad thing, we have had parmas before that were light on the crumbs and it served as a refreshing change, I’d rather have too few crumbs than too many! Nude schnitzel was minimal, napoli was well distributed and there was a good amount of cheese, both mozzarella and parmesan.

Putting bacon on a parma is a risky move, some (such as myself) love bacon and can’t get enough of it, yet a few of the reviewers said it was too overpowering and all they could taste was bacon. frankly I can’t see any downfall to this, but I suppose its a personal taste. Here’s a cross section to demonstrate the crumb/chicken ratio, apologies for the flash photo, it was dark, but you can still see the quality of the chicken.

The Town Hall hotel needs to splash out and get some bigger plates, there were plenty of chips but the parma was stacked directly on top and without anywhere to move the parma too it made them very hard to get too. Despite being trapped under the parma the chips somehow remained amazingly crispy, bordering on too much so, you dont realise how much you miss a few soggy chips to mop up stray napoli until there aren’t any there.

The salad, while there was plenty of it, was standard garden salad. Lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato and some sprouts, I couldn’t detect any dressing, not a bad salad, but not remarkable

The Town Hall hotel is a must visit, at the very least to stop in for a beer and check out the ever so cosy beer garden. If you’re a fan of bacon the parma is a must-try, if not it its still top quality chicken and the light crumbing makes for a different parma experience, definitely one to check out, at least to see if its your ‘thing’. For $18 it’s a pretty good value meal, Worth checking out, no matter how controversial your opinion on bacon is.

Parma - 6.5
Chips - 5.19
Salad - 5.25
Value - 6.13
Total - 5.91

The search continues…

Town Hall Hotel on Urbanspoon

Farewell Stefo! you will be missed!

 

Attempt #51 - 'The Pub at Crown'

 

[info]

When? - 19th of May, 2011

Where? - The Pub @ Crown, Crown Entertainment Complex, Southbank

Price? - $19.90

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.thepubatcrown.com.au/

Reviewers - Cale, Grace, Lee, Nikki, Stefo, Tony[/info]

 

** NOTE - This pub has closed! Parma no longer available - Review will stay up for posterity. Enjoy!

To be honest I really can’t say how The Pub came onto our radar, its one of those pubs that I would see quite often and think ‘I wonder how their parma is’.

Well seeing as the point of this little website is to answer that question for others that may be pondering the exact same thing, we loaded up the parma bus and headed into The Pub ad Crown.

The pub is trying very hard to feel like a pub (if the name of the place wasn’t a dead giveaway), but upon entering you cant help but get the feeling that something isn’t quite right, that its all a thinly veiled facade, kind of like the fake ‘street’ they have at Movie World or Disneyland, sure the shops are there but you know that there is really nothing behind that 1940’s ‘Private Eye’ window except some bad wiring or maybe a storage room. The pub is trying to be a ‘country pub’ but you can see the shadow of their Crown Casino overlords looming in every corner.

We ordered our meals at the bar and awaited our foods arrival, the free parking tickets we got with our meal was a nice touch and certainly helped the value score. I wouldn’t say we were waiting a long time for our parmas to arrive, but we at one point we did check our receipts to see just how long it had been since our orders were placed, never a good sign. After a bit of a wait, the meals arrived…

I had a bit of hope when the parmas fell in front of us, the chicken looked big, the chips looked plentiful and the salad vegetables looked … passable, but on my first attempted cut into the schnitzel my heart sank. I say attempted cut as the chicken was so tough that I actually had to re-grip my knife and put some strength into cutting through the chicken. Not off to a good start, thats for sure. The chicken itself was credit-card thin, definitely hitting the ratio of more crumbs than chicken. There was plenty of cheese atop the parma but it was tasteless and rubbery, some reviewers resorted to picking it off towards the end of the meal rather than end up constipated for a month. It was skimpy on the napoli and the ham was present, but tasteless and barely covering a third of the chicken.

Here is this weeks cross-section to demonstrate how anorexic this chicken was

I have used the term ‘McDonalds chips’ to describe chips before, but none have fit the bill like The Pub’s chips, I don’t really need to describe them other than to say this, Go to Maccas and pick up a large fries, but don’t eat them straight away - let them sit in the bag for 5 - 10 minutes on the drive home, tip them out on a plate then eat, let me know what you think.

The Salad, wasn’t salad, it was vegetables, The Pubs parma comes with an offering of veggies in place of a salad, now this isn’t necessary a bad thing, I am open minded when it comes to my sides and I will treat all greens equally, however if they were going to serve veggies they should at least serve good veggies. They came out cold, undercooked and undersized, as if they came straight from a bag out of the freezer.

I always try hard to find something good say about a parma when we go on review, but this week I am really struggling to think of anything. The parma was bad, the chips were bad and the salad was bad. They do a discount parma night on Mondays and even offer a ‘deluxe parma’ then, but I really can’t see it being slightly cheaper effect the score too greatly, its too far gone. This is a parma at its cheapest and nastiest, and I think this would be one of the first times I have actually advised against partaking in at least some respect. If you find yourself thinking that a Pub @ Crown parma is for you, please take my advise and follow these handy steps

  1. Leave Crown
  2. Get in your car/a cab (depending on how much you’ve had to drink)
  3. Drive 4 minutes (1.7km) down the road to The Palmerston Hotel
  4. Have a decent parma that wont make you want to kill yourself

I have even drawn up a handy wallet-sized emergency information card, for your own protection (and the protection of your loved ones) please print and keep on your person at all times.

Click here to download full sized version

Parma - 3.75
Chips - 2.92
Salad - 1.33
Value - 5.33
Total - 3.42

The search continues…

The Pub at Crown on Urbanspoon

Attempt #50 - 'The John Curtin Hotel'

 

[info]

When? - 12th of May, 2011

Where? - The John Curtin Hotel. 29 Lygon St, Carlton

Price? - $12 Parma n’ Pot Thursdays, $12 all other times (no pot)

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.johncurtinhotel.com/

Reviewers - Cale, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo[/info]

Last month sometime I got an email from our friends over at thehappiesthour.com, alerting us to a decent sounding parma deal at the John Curtin hotel in Lygon st. $10 thursdays with a free pot (although since I recieved the email there has been a price jump to $12 parma n’ pot night, bloody recession). Seemed as good a pub as any to do our fiftieth review, so we loaded up the parma bus and headed to the Curtin.

Thats right, FIFTY reviews! Holy shit thats awesome.

We arrived at the Curtin and snagged a booth in the public bar for a couple of beers before heading into the dining area to eat, They employ a digital buzzer system at the Curtin wherin after you order your food you are given a high-tech coaster which flashes and vibrates when your meal is ready, indicating its time to go to the kitchen window and collect your tasty dish. We got comfy at our oddly shaped table and ordered our meals (with accompanying pots) The staff were very friendly and talkative, happy to have a chat. One thing worth noting is how freaking dark this pub is, I had to employ the flash for the parma photo below, which is a big no no in the food photography world as it pretty much makes all meals look shithouse. Anyway, after a short wait our buzzer buzzed and we headed to the counter and picked up our meals.

Bad news first - There was a fair bit of nude schnitzel and the cheese could’ve been melted a little more, and it was a little light on the napoli. Good news - it was a quality piece of chicken breast, well cooked with a great chicken/crumb ratio, and they weren’t too stingy on the ham.

The chips suffered the fate of being squashed entirely under the parma, now we can normally forgive half of the chips being squished but the whole lot is just criminal, apart from that they were well seasoned and pretty tasty.

If you like onion (like I do) then this is the salad for you, we had to stop at a 7-11 on the way out to pick up some gum as everyone had rancid onion breath, a fairly sparse garden salad of lettuce, onion, cucumber & tomato, it had a tasty mustard-seed dressing that brought it back from the brink, although some reviewers weren’t fans as the onion content was very high, gotta be a fan of onion to enjoy that.

Overall the John Curtin offers up an okay parma at good value, I think reviewer Stefo said it best last night when he said “I wouldn’t seek it out, but I wouldn’t complain if I had to have it again” (actually it might have been Cale … or Pat, I can’t remember I’d had a few beers)

on to the scores!

Parma - 6.3
Chips - 4
Salad - 4.4
Value - 8.2
Total - 5.84

The search continues…

John Curtin Hotel on Urbanspoon

Theres one more thing I’d like to add, Reviewer Pat has been playing a little game of late, in which whenever I happen to leave my little scoring notebook unattended, he steals it and secretly draws a penis somewhere amongst its pages (mature, I know). These artistic masterpieces are too important to the art world to hide from society, so without further ado, I give you…

Pat’s gallery of wangs

This cool fellow is enjoying a trip to the snow!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Its Super-Shlong!

Apparently thats supposed to be me licking that rather large, veiny monstrosity, I can assure you that this drawing is entirely fictional.

Well I hope everyone enjoyed that, I will be sure to update you should more penises arise (*badum ching*)

Attempt #48 - 'Westwaters Hotel & Entertainment Complex'

 

[info]

When? - 28th of April, 2011

Where? - Westwaters Hotel & Entertainment complex. 20 Lake St. Caroline Springs

Price? - $16 in the sports bar, $22 in the bistro

Barry? - Yes (one of the new ‘Play On’ machines)

Website? - http://westwatershotel.com.au/

Reviewers - Cale, Lee, Nikki[/info]

This weeks attempt took place in Caroline Springs, for some reason I got this song stuck in my head all night because of that fact. It’s a pretty awesome song, so here is some reading music to put you in the mood.

I swear after listening to that song you’ll be singing it for days, busting out ‘Baa Baa Baaaa’ at random, inappropriate moments, I know I have been.

Oh and henceforth in this review I shall be referring to Caroline Springs as ‘Sweet Caroline Springs’, I highly recommend the council to consider a permanent name change.

There isn’t much of a reason as to why we chose the Westwaters this week, we had heard good things and it seemed like a good idea! So we made the hike out to Sweet Caroline Springs, I hadn’t been out that way much and I must say I was shocked at the quality of the Westwaters - it is an absolutely massive complex, much like last weeks review of Skyways Tavern, but bigger, newer and nicer, with a Sports Bar, Bistro, TAB, cafe, pokies, bottle shop all underneath a Mercure hotel

We were spoilt for choice when it came to eating areas, sports bar down one end, huge bistro at the other and what seemed to be a cocktail/lounge bar connecting the two. We opted for the sports bar as we haven’t done a proper pub review in awhile, took our seats and ordered our meals.

Theres lots to do at the Westwaters if you want to kill some time while you wait for your food. Both Indoor and Outdoor pool tables are available, as well as pokies, TAB and one of the new Barry replacement ‘Play On’ machines. After a quick wait our parmas landed in front of us…

When the parma hit the table in front of us I was very impressed - great size, good thickness, homemade crumbs and a sprinkling of green things on the top, I’ve said it before but its amazing how much a sprinkling of green things improves the look of a parma. There was a little nude schniztel, caused my a phenomena which will henceforth be known as ‘Curly Ham’

Curly ham occurs when a parma is made using the circular slices of deli ham, when it is cut with the ‘skin’ still around the edges (its not really ‘skin’ kind of like a rind produced when they cure it), this normally wouldn’t cause a problem but when put on a parma and grilled, the ‘skin’ tends to shrink under the heat and the ham itself does not, causing the skin to tighten up and curl the edges of the ham up and away from the parma itself, taking the topping with it and leaving shamefully exposed nudge shnitzel below.

Now this isn’t that much of a problem, but it can easily be avoided by using shaved ham instead of sliced, something to think about. Anyway. back to the parma!

The chicken, while not only big was thick, juicy and flavoursome. The homemade crumbs were a delight and, despite the curly ham, the toppings were pretty much on the money, my only complaints (and they are minor ones) would be the napoli is a tad bland and the cheese (after awhile, it was a big parma and took some time to work through) got a bit rubbery. But as I said these are only minor issues with what was an outstanding piece of chicken.

The chips were another highlight, massive chunky chips that were almost a hybrid of chips and wedges. I initially thought the serving was a bit small, however these chips were so big they were almost a potato overload, any more would’ve gone to waste.

After the great entries in the parma and chips categories, the salad was a bit of a let down, A simple garden salad of rocket, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot and sliced onion. My initial impression was the onion was sliced a little too thin to give any flavour however hiding under the pile of rocket was a stash of heaps of onion, almost too much. The salad was just okay, it served its purpose, I just wish pubs would get over their obsession with rocket and put some real lettuce on the table. Rocket may look pretty but it tastes like crap, and I’d take something that tastes great and doesn’t look flash over something that looks fantastic but tastes like oily grass.

The Westwaters parma was pretty darn good, if not for a few minor issues it would be a serious contender, and at $16 in the sports bar its fantastic value (the parma in the bistro area prices at $22, not sure what is different to justify the extra expense, but I was more than happy with the $16 variety)

Our trip out to Sweet Caroline Springs surprised me, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the Westwaters but I was delighted to be proven wrong, definitely one worth checking out.

Parma - 7.83
Chips - 8
Salad - 4.5
Value - 8.17
Total - 7.27

The search continues…

WestWaters Bistro on Urbanspoon

Attempt #47 - 'Skyways Tavern'

 

[info]

When? - 20th of April, 2011

Where? - Skyways Tavern, 113 Matthews Ave. Airport West

Price? - $20

Barry? - Yes. Kinda… Read the review for details

Website? -http://www.skywaystavern.com.au/

Reviewers - Cale, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

Here at Parma Daze our first priority is to keep you, the reader, both informed and entertained. It is with that in mind that I draw your attention to the song embedded below. Is it the greatest song ever released? I am ninety seven percent sure that it is. (the other three percent go to Rebecca Black)

So click here,  hit play, crank your speakers and treat your brain to the auditory orgasm that is ‘Chicken Parma’ by Craig Lee Smith

Doesn’t it just take you there? If I close my eyes I can almost smell the napoli and hear the cheese bubbling. Where is the Grammy nomination committee on this one?!

And only $1.69 on iTunes! talk about a friggin bargain.

For those who are unaware, since about 2007 the week before the Easter holiday has been declared ‘Parma Week’ by pubs around Melbourne, the point of which is to donate $2 from every parma served to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, Unfortunately this review will go up on the final day of the event, so drop what you are doing and go out for a parma! do your bit for charity! (click Here for a list of participating pubs)

So in the spirit of charity we loaded up the parma bus and headed to the first pub on the list - Skyways Tavern in Airport West, This was a bonus for me personally as Skyways is quite literally the closest pub to my house, after a 2 minute drive from my front door we pulled up at the Skyways complex, The large carpark was actually very full and we struggled to find a spot, but we eventually found one and headed in to the bistro where the our were awaiting.

We needed no menu, so on arriving we headed to the counter to place our order - I noticed on the menu board they claim that their parma is, quite literally, the best thing on the menu, no kidding, heres a photo -

right there under the roast of the day, apologies for the photo quality, it says

BEST: CHICKEN PARMIGIANA Whole succulent butterflied chicken breast, hand crumbed, topped w’ virginia ham, napoli sauce & lashes of melted mozzarella “It’s the best parma we’ve ever made!”

That sounds damn good to me, and if their actual parma is at least half as good as their description of their parma, we are in for a real treat. We placed our orders, collected our complimentary bread roll and awaited our chickens arrival.

Skyways Tavern is a massive complex, spanning across multiple buildings it contains a Sports Bar, TAB, massive bistro, pokies, motel and drive in bottle shop, we were eating in the bistro area but headed into the sports bar afterwards - more on that later, as our parmas arrived not long after we ordered.

I’ve gotta say I was pretty disappointed when this parma landed in front of me, there was a fair bit of nude schnitzel, it looked a little on the small side and it was developing some slight slippery cheese.

As I started to eat I was proven wrong, It was surprisingly thick with a good amount of napoli and mozzarella, the crumbs were standard but not thick at all and the slice of ham complimented the parma nicely. The my only complaints with the Skyways parma would be the aforementioned nude schnitzel revealed a couple of burnt spots on the chicken, and some of the breast itself looked the slightest bit pink in some areas, but overall it was a perfectly acceptable parma

The chips were underseasoned and overcooked, its not often everyone on the review board passes around the salt shaker for use on their chips, not great.

The salad was served in a bowl separate to the parma, a nice touch, it was a basic garden salad of Lettuce, carrot, tomato & cucumber with a very tasty dressing - nothing special, but it did the job.

The Skyways parma is middle of the road, it has good points and bad, they do a Tuesday night $12 parma special that would be hard to go past if you were in the area, and the warm fuzzy feeling we all got from helping out the Good Friday Appeal on parma week definitely helped out collective consciences.

After the meal we headed across to the sports bar - if you ever have some time to kill in the area I would definitely recommend stopping in, with a TAB, pool table, big buck hunter, a golf simulator and some sort of Risk-type tabletop game you will never be short of something to do while downing some pots. but the BIG thing we discovered at this weeks attempt was the Barry machine.

Now, much to our dismay, Barry machines have been disappearing from pubs all over the place, it seemed as if they were dying out, their website had been defunct for months and it looked like the age of Barry was over - until last night.

We walked into the sports bar to check if there was a Barry machine, and we were greeted with this -

Same games … same machine (kinda) … different brand! it looks as if ‘Play On - Games on the Edge’ has bought out the Barry franchise and replaced them with this. I was happy, I’ll take kinda-Barry over no Barry any day of the week!

Lucky I was wearing my Action Jeans, as my Victory High Kicks™ would have been very restricted otherwise.

The Skyways Tavern parma was pretty good, not great, but okay. Worth having if you are in the area but definitely not one to go out of your way to seek out.

I hope everyone has a great Easter break, and stay tuned for a fresh review next Friday!

Parma - 6.40
Chips - 3.10
Salad -  5.60
Value - 6.06
Total - 5.51

The search continues…

Skyways Tavern on Urbanspoon

Attempt #46 - 'Lounge'

If anyone has a photo of this place from the outside, please email me! Not even google street view could help me this week as its on friggin Swanston street friggin walk!

[info]

When? - 7th of April, 2011

Where? - Lounge, Level 1, 243 Swanston St, Melbourne

Price? - $19

Barry? - No, but pool tables

Website? - http://www.lounge.com.au/

Reviewers - Cale, Dan G, Guy, Jake, Kylie, Lee, Matt, Ness, Nikki, Pat, Shanan, Stefo[/info]

After the failed photo taking, we ascended the stairs to Lounge and made our way to the table we reserved on the balcony - apart from a heap of unnecessary steps scattered around the place that would be absolute hell for a drunk person, Lounge is a fantastic venue. Inside is spacious, but with plenty of chairs, pool table, great range of beers and a very relaxed indie vibe all around, Outside the balcony offered a great spot, well heated and protected from the elements yet offering a great view of Swanston street, perfect for people watching, not in a stalker-y kind of way, just in a relaxing kind of way … although it would be pretty good for stalkers too. Wow, that’s a quotable quote right there!

We took our seats on the balcony and once the crew arrived we ordered our meals at the bar, the waitress was a tad taken aback when we ordered twelve parmas but soon enough we were sitting around with our drinks awaiting the chickeny goodness, although keeping the dockets was a bit of a challenge as we had so damn many of them!

Wow, I just realised this is turning into a very photo heavy entry, I’ve got to try and break up the photos with interesting text however I’ve got nothing else to say between now and when the parmas arrived. Ummm. Stuff…

Oh! the parma was $19, I have heard rumors of Lounge offering a ‘Parma o’clock’ Monday similar to the one we did at Sam’s Cafe, however there was no signage in the pub that would confirm a Parma O’clock, so that one remains a mystery.

There, killed enough space between photos I think… ahem

After a short wait, our parmas filed out of the kitchen!

As daylight savings hit last week it was already dark by the time our parmas arrived, this photo is the best look I’ve had at the parma I ate as the low lighting meant I needed flash to take the photo - which never helps the quality of the photo, especially on an iPhone camera, so I apologise.

The schnitzel was very thin on the edges and tapered in to average thickness in the middle, there was some nude schnitzel around the sides which left the already thin edges dry and overcooked. The center of the parma was heavy on the cheese and napoli, the cheese being the closest tasting to the famed Prince of Wales parma that we’ve had so far. The napoli had a bit of spice to it and there was a decent slice of ham covering a majority of the parma that added pretty nicely to the flavour, however there was one issue that took this parma from average to mediocre, and that was the crumbs.

I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but there was a definite taste to the parma that was familiar yet eluded me, the more I ate the more I could taste it and the more overpowering it became, It wasn’t until Reviewer Stefo named it that I realised what the elusive flavour was … corn chips

The whole parma tasted as if the crumbs were made of crushed corn chips, and from the time we named it that is all I could taste. Nachos, tacos, doritos, the whole parma tasted like a taco! now this would be fine if I had ordered a taco, but I had ordered a parma! A lot of reviewers were majorly turned off by the crumbs, Myself included.

hmmm  parma taco … now theres an idea!

Patent pending © 2011 Parma Daze

The chips were standard, seasoned but small serving, soggy from living under the parma and some reviewers reported them as being cold.

The salad wasn’t astounding, Simple garden salad of rocket, little bit of real lettuce, lots of cucumber and a slice of tomato, a little simple but tasty and did its job as a salad rather well

I loved the venue, we don’t get into the city center as often as I’d like to, we always seem to have a good time when we do, as I seem to say at the end of every bad review, I’d be happy to go back for a beer anytime - maybe I’m just an alcoholic.

After the parma we mosey’ed down to the HiFi bar where The Dan Band were playing a show for the comedy festival, you’d know the Dan Band as the Wedding band that play in Old School, The Hangover & Starsky and Hutch. Friggin hilarious and I recommend catching the show if you can get tickets.

Dan gives a very passionate rendition of ‘Single Ladies’

Lounge’s parma was a bit of a disappointment, not all of the reviewers thought it was that terrible, the parma’s scores ranged from a 2 to a 6.5, and everything in between! I guess it comes down to personal taste, do you like your parma to taste like a parma? or do you like your parma to taste like a taco?

mmm taco flavoured parma for my Ben

My kisses taste like tacos

Parma - 4.38
Chips - 4.79
Salad - 4.25
Value - 4.21
Total - 4.40

The search continues…

The Lounge on Urbanspoon

Attempt #45 - 'James Squire Hotel'

 

[info]

When? - 30th of March, 2011

Where? - James Squire Brewhouse. 16-17, 439 Docklands Drive, Waterfront City, Docklands.

Price? - $24 for standard (or ‘charlotte’) parma, novelty extra - see review for details

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.jamessquire.net.au/

Reviewers - Cale, Donna, Janet, Lee, Ness, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

 

Oh James Squire Hotel … I tried so hard to like your parma, I really did. but. I just can’t … Look, I’ll start at the beginning.

So, I’ve mentioned it before, but since starting this little website we get a lot of recommendations for ‘the best’ parma, via email, twitter, carrier pigeon and just word of mouth. While out at the local watering hole last Friday one of my mates (Reviewer Fridge, who’s real name is James Ford, just like Sawyer on Lost) suggested that we try the James Squire hotel on the docklands. This tickled my fancy-bone as we had been looking for a pub on the docklands for awhile now, and this seemed like just the ticket.

So we loaded up the parma bus and headed to the Docklands. Under the shadow of the half deconstructed southern star ferris wheel we found the James Squire Hotel, and at first glance I was impressed! Perfect waterfront location, beautiful establishment, gorgeous big comfy chairs and an amazing range of beers (A little James Squire heavy, but thats to be expected at the James Squire Hotel!)

Once the team arrived we took our seats and picked up the menu, rather than re-type it all here, I took a screenshot of the menu that is posted on their website

Quite a selection! I also love the idea of matching different parmas to different beers, great idea James Squire! however one thing that did strike me as a little off was the price - these were the most expensive parmas we have had, and the most normal parma on the list (the Charlotte) chimed in at $24! and thats without ham! these had better be the best darn parmas ever. After much deliberation we ordered, I decided on the ‘Banker’, not because of the avocado, but it was the only parma on the list with ham, the lineup looked like this

  • Myself & Ness - Banker
  • Nikki & Donna - Charlotte
  • Cale & Stefo - Farmer
  • Janet - Theif (‘Theif’ is right! $29 for a freakin parma!?)

We placed our orders and awaited our parmas arrival, while waiting I got myself a ‘tasting paddle’ from the bar, a fantastic idea and great way to sample all of the beers James Squire has on offer

dee-lish!

By the time I was 2 glasses down the paddle, our parmas arrived

My ‘Banker’

Cale’s ‘Farmer’

On first glance they looked amazing, an aesthetically beautiful parma. But hold on … where’s the salad? there was no salad anywhere to be found on the plate and for that price I would expect a salad (and the avocado slices don’t count!), we re-checked the menu and found this under the parma section …

EIGHT DOLLARS?!… I’m sorry to shout like that, I really am, but EIGHT DOLLARS?!?! for a side salad with my parma?! what the hell! also, how the hell are pan fried mushrooms seven dollars fifty. I’m not a tightarse by any means, but we have had parma attempts at which the entire meal has cost less than what the James Squire is charging for a side salad.

But I digress…

Other than the lack of salad, the parma actually looked pretty impressive, the herbed, home made crumbs looked amazing, great cheese coverage and they weren’t skimpy on the novelty topping, and for the first couple of mouthfulls it tasted great also, but there was one major issue - the schnitzel was at least 50% crumbs! Granted, the crumbs were delicious, but I would like some chicken with my chicken parmigiana! I kept hoping it would thicken up toward the middle as many parmas do, and it did, but only very slightly, by the end of the parma the crumbs that were a delight at the start of the meal were totally overpowering everything else on the plate. Cut back on the crumbs and thicken up the chicken guys! We have had worse parmas in the past, but for over $25 we expected more.

The chips, much like the parma, looked amazing when they arrived, massive chunky steak style chips that bordered more on sliced up roast potatoes than chips, unfortunately lack of seasoning and the sheer size of them left them a little dry, not terrible by any means, but not as fantastic as they looked

This is normally where I would talk about the salad. You are already aware of what happened with the salad.

Now we have only come across one other parma that was served without a salad, and in that case we simply gave it a zero across the board for salad score, which greatly affects its final score as you can imagine. We discussed this last night and came to the conclusion that method isn’t fair, if ‘The Simpsons’ has taught us anything its that you don’t win friends with salad

[youtube id="aM6xVQwIOYQ" width="580" height="337"]

So giving them a zero and dragging the score down because they choose not to include a salad is the wrong answer - instead they get a 5 (middle of the road) across the board for salad score, BUT the lack of salad is well and truly counted in the overall value score, which would definitely take a hit for the exclusion of a salad.

sound fair? I think so.

Also, I will be amending The Skinny Dog’s parma under this new rule as well (which will henceforth be known as the ‘You don’t win friends with salad’ rule), just to make it fair.

So as I said at the beginning, I Really tried to like the James Squire’s Parma, It looked amazing, they put a lot of effort into the different varieties (including a ‘parma of the week’ on the specials board). But for the price they are charging it simply isn’t worth it, as I said before, we’ve definitely had worse parmas, but if I were to order a ‘Theif’ Parma with a side salad I would be looking at over $37 for my meal alone, a full $10 more than what we paid for the Grandeoso double parma at the Hotel Albion, which is just crazy.

The venue itself is absolutely fantastic! The beers are amazing and its in a perfect spot. If I’m welcome to show my face there after the score I am about to give, I will definitely be back on a Friday night for another tasting paddle or five.

Parma - 5.36
Chips- 5.43
Salad - N/A
Value - 2.86
Total - 4.80

The search continues…

James Squire Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

Attempt #44 - 'Derrimut Skyes @ the Sunshine Golf Club'

Photos of this place are impossible to come by, so you get the photo I snapped on the way out, Although I couldn’t find a shot of the restaurant or the club, I did find this photo of this very nice view from the golf course itself

gotta love that gorgeous Melbourne skyline!

[info]

When? - 24th of March, 2011

Where? - Derrimut Skyes Restaurant, Sunshine Golf Club. 475 Mt. Derrimut Rd, Derrimut

Price? - $19.50

Barry? - No

Website? - http://www.sunshinegolfclub.com.au/

Reviewers - Bec, Ben D, Ben T, Cale, Emma, Glen, Lee, Luke, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tyson[/info]

**EDIT!** 10/4/2012 - It has been brought to our attention by a reader and fellow parma lover that the parma at Derrimut Skyes may have gone downhill!, to quote the email we recieved -

“My verdict: HORRIBLE! Two of us dined, one Parma was burnt and the other one was soggy. They tasted very bland and processed. But, it was the “chips” that got me. On each plate, it was one potato cut length wise, then length wise again to leave 4 large ‘wedges’ which were fried briefly. They were hard, undercooked and tasteless.”

Now one could put that down to just getting a bad batch, however the fact that the chips sound like they have changed completely leads me to believe the whole thing has had an overhaul - We will investigate this further, hopefully it was a momentary brain fart by the chef, but until further notice, dine at your own risk!

**EDIT!**  23/4/2012 - We have confirmation! Another reader just messaged me to confirm the downfall of Derrimut Skyes, his message -

“The parma was small, about the size of the palm of your hand maybe bit more, although tasty, certainly not enough to keep you satisfied, the chips, well, when the plates landed I thought, ‘Oh crap we don’t get chips’ I then lifted my parma to find 6 chips, no joke, only 6, and the chef must count them as my partner had only 6 chips under her parma too”

In light of this confirmation I can no longer recommend Derrimut Skyes parma, I can’t straight up remove it from the listings, but we will do our best to visit for a re-review in the near future! stay tuned!

First things first! I have some Non-review related stuff to report, If you aren’t interested in this (there is math … yuck), scroll down till you see a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head, the actual review will start there.

So regular readers may remember when I altered the formula that was used to calculate the final parma score, there was a lot of confusing math involved that I didn’t quite understand myself, but it basically meant that the Chips and the Salad were calculated as being half as important as the Parma and the Value, and their scores had half the impact on the final score than the parma and value did.

After much soul searching and sleepless nights, I have come to realise that this formula is also unfair - I think we would all agree that the parma is the most important thing on the plate, but I have come to the conclusion that the Value of the parma should not be weighed at the same level as the Parma, and definitely not above the chips and salad.

SO I have spent the morning re-inputting all of the scores from all 44 attempts into formula V.3 which weighs the Parma twice as important as the chips, salad and value, basically the highest score the parma can get is 4 (calculated by taking the average of each reviewers score (out of 10) and multiplying the resulting number by two fifths), the highest score the chips, salad, and value can get is 2 (though the same method the parma score is determined, but multiplying the resulting score by one fifth each), they are added together to get the total score.

example! say a parma gets a score of Parma - 8.5, Chips - 6.3, Salad - 7.4, Value - 6

that would be -

Parma - 2/5*8.5 = 3.4

Chips - 1/5*6.3 = 1.26

Salad - 1/5*7.4 = 1.48

Value - 1/5*6 = 1.2

3.2+1.2+1.4+1.2 = 7.34

Total = 7.34

This means there has been some minor re-jigging to the ladder, but the standings are pretty much as they were, with a couple of changes.

Im pretty sure this makes sense as the fairest way to calculate scores, if you don’t think it does, or you have any questions or comments feel free to email, or hit us up on the twitter or facebook.

Also, you may notice the shmancy new toolbar at the bottom of the site now, It has links to facebook, twitter, digg and even chat if you want to discuss parmas with other people on the site the same time as you are, hope you enjoy it! if you aren’t a fan just click the little double-arrow thing on the right and it shall be banished from your life forever.

Okay, on to the review. CUE THE BUNNY!

Sometime a couple of weeks ago I got an email from a reader name Alanna, claiming that she too was a Prince of Wales parma devotee, and she said (and I quote) “The only Parma that I have had that has even come close the cheesy-chicken- saucy goodness that was a Jimmies Parma was at the sunshine golf club – highly recommend it. “

Well that was that, The Sunshine Golf Club jumped to the top of the list, after doing a bit of research I discovered that the restaurant itself is called ‘Derrimut Skyes’ but it is located in the club house of the Sunshine Golf Club. I made a booking, assembled the crew, and we were off.

We arrived at the beautiful clubrooms (very swanky) and made our way to the restaurant where we took our seats - We normally review pubs so I will state now that this is most definitely a restaurant, not a pub. Full table service, bottles of chilled water and beautiful looking meals were a couple of things to note, as well as one of the best views of the Melbourne skyline I have seen in quite a while. We ordered our twelve parmas just before the entirety of our group arrived, and not long after everyone was in their seats did the meals start filing out of the kitchen

I’m gonna say it now, I love square plates.

There was some variance in schnitzel size but seeing as those sized ranged from ‘huge’ to ‘friggin huge!’ (the photo above being one of the smaller ones, but still huge) there was no love lost there, the home made crumbs were absolutely fantastic and the chicken breast was perfectly cooked, there was a little schnitzel nudity around the edges (of the ‘friggin huge!’ parmas especially) but to be honest it tasted great so I wasn’t phased. The ham, the napoli and cheese were all perfect. To be perfectly honest this was one of (if not the best) parma we have had since the downfall of Jimmies, the complaints were minor and the parma was delicious.

The chips were standard, kind of a small serving, served under the parma even though there was heaps of room on the plate where they could have gone. With no detectable seasoning (although there was salt and pepper on the table), However they were crispy, well cooked and complimented the meal fine.

The garden salad was good - If you like vinegar. Standard salad of lettuce, onion, cucumber and tomato, it was absolutely drowned in vinegar, to the point that some reviewers couldn’t eat it. A bit of a let down because it looked delicious when it arrived in front of us.

My face after trying the salad

The Derrimut Skyes parma is absolutely fantastic, the club itself is beautiful, the staff are friendly and coming in at $19.50 its not too bad on the price scale, (and for bargain hunters, Friday from 6-7pm is Toss the Boss, flip a coin when you order a drink and if you get it right you drink for free). If it weren’t for the lackluster sides it would be in contention for the top spot however there were a couple of issues that knocked it down, don’t get me wrong - Get in your car and head to Derrimut Skyes tonight, this is a parma that every parma lover in Melbourne has to try - absolutely fantastic and one I would go back for any day of the week, It would be the perfect finisher after a few rounds of golf on a lazy afternoon.

Parma - 8.96
Chips - 6.38
Salad - 5.33
Value - 7.08
Total - 7.34

The search continues…

Derrimut Skyes on Urbanspoon