Attempt #137 - 'The Oxford Scholar'

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When? - 11th of April, 2013

Where? - The Oxford Scholar. 427 Swanston St. Melbourne

Price? - $16 ($12 Parma Mondays)

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

Reviewers – Adam, Janet, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo, Tony[/info]

 

A few weeks ago we received an email from a reader suggesting we go to the Oxford Scholar, A pub that had been on the facebook vote a few times but never actually made it. I figured ‘what the hell’ put it up again and (low and behold) it got up! We loaded up the parma bus and took a trip to the Oxford Scholar.

I’m gonna sound old here, but the last time I had a sesh at the Scholar was nearly ten years ago, when a friend of mine was attending RMIT and invited me down for some beers with his uni mates. Back then the pub was much bigger and stood alone from the university, I was surprised to see that RMIT has now spilled across the road, and the Oxford Scholar now shares a wall with a university (which is a bit of a shame, as there used to be a massive beer hall out the back of the Scholar which now appears to be gone)

Still plenty spacious inside (with TAB and pool tables) we took a seat and checked the menu…

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Sixteen bucks is definitely a student-friendly price these days, It didn’t inspire much hope that this would be a quality parma, but we placed our orders none the less.

The Oxford Scholar runs a bunch of $12 meal specials on different nights of the week (Monday being parma night). Last night (Thursday) was $12 steak night, we could see a lot of steaks coming out of the kitchen and I’ve gotta say they looked impressive. If I didn’t eat a parma every Thursday for the past few years (and for the foreseeable future) I’d definitely be back to give it a go.

Before too long (half a pint-ish) our parmas arrived…

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Pretty much what I was expecting for a budget parma. Processed schnitzel, thick crumbs/thin chicken, rubbery cheese and canned napoli. The ham was good (as it usually is, its hard to stuff up ham) but overall it’s a budget parma for a budget price.

And yet… I kind’ve enjoyed it. Sure the ingredients were all canned and processed, but it was still piping hot and fresh. We have had a string of average parmas over the last few weeks, and maybe I am just adjusting to the mediocrity - but I didn’t mind it (although some of the other reviewers weren’t as kind as me).

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The chips were quite good. Standard pub chips but a decent serving, well cooked and lightly seasoned with chicken salt. Who doesn’t love chicken salt? Definitely the highlight of the dish.

The salad was standard garden salad, nothing impressive but nothing bad. All the ingredients were fresh, and there was some variety on the plate (as opposed to the plate of lettuce we got last week).

The reviewers were rather quiet in quotes this week, I don’t know what got into them, next week I’ll poke them with a sharper stick

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To be honest, for $16 its hard to ask for more, It’s a value parma at a pub connected to a University - If I were a starving student I’d be wrapped with what I received (especially on parma night, for $12 I’d be there every monday).

In saying that I can’t look past the low quality ingredients and processed shnitz… If you’re expecting cheap & nasty you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Before I go, we choose which pub to visit each week by putting a poll on our facebook page - be sure to click over, cast your vote, and tell us where you want us to go!

Parma - 5.43
Chips - 5.65
Salad - 4.64
Value - 6.73
Total - 5.58

The search continues…

Oxford Scholar Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #136 - 'The Gertrude Hotel'

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When? - 4th of April, 2013

Where? - The Gertrude Hotel, 148 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Price? - $20

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

Reviewers – Adam, Cale, Fridge, Grace, Lee, Matt, Stefo, Tony [/info]

 

Arriving at the Gertrude we were greeted with a fabulously inviting little bar. Dark stained wood, dim lighting, exposed bluestone walls - all the things I love in a pub (and the ever-rotating craft beer selection on tap was fantastic, worth the trip alone), I even heard murmurings of a quality little beer garden out the back that’s definitely worth checking out.

We took our seats and checked the bar menu.

Parma sighted

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Parma ordered.

I had just finished the last mouthful of my first pint when they landed on the table (I’m a quick drinker and was damn thirsty after deciding that a walk from Elizabeth Street to Gertrude Street “wasn’t that far”).

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Hmmm. First of all, the cheese on top was crazy overcooked, dark brown splotches were abound on all of the parmas (the one pictured above wasn’t the worst of the bunch) The schnitz, the cheeze, the napoli - everything was overcooked and dry (with the edges of the schnitzel actually burnt). However that can be forgivable if the ingredients are quality… lets take a look at the cross section -

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Processed schnitzel, more crumb than chicken.

For a processed schnitzel the toppings saved it a little, but it was just so dry. The cheese was rubbery, the napoli had the consistency of tomato paste and the ham … actually the ham was probably the best part about the meal. It carried a great flavour that complimented the dish perfectly.

I’m normally not big on french fries, I prefer a chunky pub chip - but I’ve gotta say that for french fries these were actually okay - well seasoned and plenty of them, My one criticism being they were (like the parma) overcooked, the smaller ones tasting more like a bag of Smith’s chips than a fry.

Can you call it a salad when it only has one ingredient? For a pile of lettuce tossed in a little dressing it tasted alright - boring, but fresh, just a bit of cucumber, or tomato or anything other than lettuce would have been appreciated.

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For $20 I was unimpressed. Normally I would say “If it wasn’t overcooked it had the elements of a great parma” but that is only partly true - sure it would have helped, but that faux-schnitzel is hard to overlook. Wouldn’t be back for the parma - Would be back for the pub, and the great drink selection.

Parma - 4.38
Chips - 4.63
Salad - 2.75
Value - 4.50
Total - 4.13

The search continues…

Gertrude Hotel on Urbanspoon