I recently found myself on a trip to the Bellarine Peninsula. Rather than driving up and back on the same night (and having to stay sober) we instead opted for an AirBNB in Ocean Grove so we could hit the party, Grab a night’s sleep and on the way home the next day cross the bridge and visit a pub we have been meaning to review for a very long time, the Barwon Heads Hotel.
Until very recently Ocean Grove was a dry town, due to a ruling in the 1800’s no alcohol was allowed to be produced or sold - Luckily enough the Barwon Heads Pub, situated directly at the end of the bridge that connects the two towns had the thirsty patrons covered since it opened in 1935.
Ocean Grove’s booze ban is now a thing of the past but the Barwon Heads pub remains, and having been taken over by new owners it has undergone a bit of a facelift in the last year or so, and (according to the website) there are more improvements still to come.
We arrived at the pub just as the kitchen opened, grabbed a seat in the bistro, checked the menu for our target and placed our orders.
The exterior of the Barwon Heads Hotel looks fantastic. The sorely needed coat of paint has come up very well and, the new beer garden area would have been a fantastic spot for a meal, if it weren’t so windy.
As far as beer on tap goes the Barwon heads pub had a few options. Other than the oversized copper tanks of unpasteurised Carlton Draught they also had Coopers, Great Northern, Carlton, Blue Point, Mountain Goat Steam Ale, Four Pines, Goose Island, little green cider and Pimms on tap. A pretty impressive selection for a country pub.
The parmas arrived and looked pretty impressive on the plate. Cutting in the schnitzel was top quality. Pure white chicken breast and served piping hot. The crumbs were mostly fine but could have been crunchier, the bottom of the parma was quite soggy but other than that I’ve got minimal criticisms of the quality of the chicken.
As for the toppings the cheese was laid on super thick and grilled to perfection. The napoli was fine however the aforementioned soggy crumbs soaked up a lot of it so I couldn’t quite get the full flavour hit a good napoli sauce should provide.
7.5 for the Parma
Other than being served in this basket the chips were pretty standard. Nothing wrong with them, they were well cooked and the basket kept them clear from the sauna that was the underside of the parma, but they were desperate for some seasoning or some kind of dipping sauce.
6.5 for Chips
The garden salad was fine, a lot of people don’t care about the salad but I appreciate when a bit of effort is put in. The salad at the Barwon was … okay, could have been fresher but the creamy salad dressing they used was pretty tasty, which helped it out a lot.
6.25 for the Salad.
The parma at the Barwon Heads Pub clocks in at $25, which I used to be able to say was expensive for a parma, but over the past year or so has become the new normal. I enjoyed this parma but $25 does seem a little rich. The pub does run an $18 parma night on Thursday nights which is a much more agreeable price for the parma we received.
6.75 for value.
All up I enjoyed the parma at the Barwon Heads pub. It’s not perfect by any means but it was a tasty parma in a pretty cool pub. The bistro does feel a little dated, but with renovations on the way hopefully they can breathe some new life into the old girl, they’ve done well so far.