Where - 42A Courtney St. North Melbourne
Price - $24
Website - http://www.metrohotel.com.au
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki & Stefo
When I mentioned at the top of our Woodlands Hotel: Redux review that there would be a few redos appearing in the coming weeks I wasn't kidding, and although today's visit to the Celtic at Metropolitan isn't strictly a redo, it is redo-esque, as it's taking the now closed top 10 title holder The Metropolitan Hotel and the now closed Celtic Club, smashing them together into an unholy Irish hybrid and I figured we'd better do our due diligence and see what sort of parma had been birthed in the process.
Our trip to the Metropolitan was right at the very start of our quest, our seventh review to be exact, and it blew us out of the water. It held the #1 for a long time and, had we been doing Golden Chook Awards that early on in this little endeavour, most definitely would have received at least one. We got to the Celtic Club's parma in 2015 and it wasn't as well received. It was okay, but definitely not one I'd write home about. So when the Celtic Club shut its doors I mentally noted it as another loss of a fine CBD pub but honestly didn't think much more of it.
Until, while walking past the Metropolitan Hotel recently, noticed they had changed their name to 'Celtic at Metropolitan' and that the menu had taken on a considerably more Irish pub fare slant (lamb stew, beef & Guinness pie... the usual suspects). I did a bit of research and it turned out that yes, since February this year the Metropolitan has become the "new home" of the Celtic Club, and is now trading as (you guessed it) Celtic at Metropolitan.
I was curious. The Metropolitan's parma was always great (granted I hadn't had it in about 7 years), and this spurred us to head over and see what kind've parma is being served at the once fantastic pub.
The Interior of the pub hasn't changed much at all. It's still the same Metropolitan I remember from 2010. There have been a few cosmetic touches here and there to Irish it up a little, but overall the bones of the Metropolitan are still there. Definitely a quality watering hole.
We grabbed a table and checked the menu, I got a little worried when I didn't see the parma listed under the "Mains" section of the menu but found it, oddly enough, listed under "Celtic Classics" amongst the Irish pub grub selections.
The tap list at the Celtic is unsurprisingly Irish. Guinness, Kilkenny & Heineken along with Little Creatures Pale, Furphy, Carlton, Byron Bay and Panhead, along with a few more bottled options in the fridge - Not the craftiest selection in the world, but I wouldn't really expect anything too fancy from an Irish pub.
About 10-15 minutes after ordering our parmas arrived from the kitchen...
First things first, this parma was a freaking monster. Engulfing everything on the plate, this was at least two parmas worth of parma in one serve. We haven't had a big parma in a while, this is definitely the biggest feed we've done in years... Absolutely huge.
Surprisingly, despite being massive, the quality of the schnitzel didn't take a hit. It was chicken breast, unprocessed and well cooked. A little dry but not overtly so, and the crumbs retained an awesome crunch. Solid foundation.
The toppings that we had were pretty good, the cheese blend was solid, with a strong tasty cheese bite. The napoli was a tad thick, but rich, flavoursome and covered the entire dish.
Now we may be a little biased coming off last week's review of the fantastic Park Hotel, which was covered in lashings of fresh smoked ham, but the parma at the Celtic was in desperate need of some ham on top. The chicken, the cheese and the napoli were all solid, but a parma this size needs some ham to help stave off Big Parma Syndrome halfway though. Everyone at the table agreed that some smoked ham on top of this parma would have taken it to the next level.
Compared to it's previous two iterations I'd say it's somewhere in the middle. Better than the Celtic Club on Queen Street, but not quite as good as the old Metropolitan's parma... Although that might be rose coloured glasses talking as I haven't had the old Metro parma for a good 7 or 8 years.
What trip to an Irish pub would be complete without a serve of curry chips? For $8 we grabbed a bowl to share amongst the table and I'll be damned if they weren't fantastic. The same chips in the bowl were served under the parma. Beer battered, well cooked and well seasoned, and having the curry sauce nearby elevated them immensely - Definitely recommend partaking should you visit for a parma.
The salad looked a little wilted on the plate but it was actually super flavoursome - Plenty of creamy dressing (bordering on too much to be honest). A heap of mustard seeds throughout gave this salad a strong mustard flavour, if that is your thing you'll probably really enjoy this one.
Wednesday night is parma night at the Celtic, $15 will get you the parma pictured above or the same in eggplant if that is more your thing (although I think the Venn diagram of readers of ParmaDaze and vegetarians would be two seperate circles). $15 for the parma we received is an absolute friggin' bargain and I'd definitely recommend getting on it ASAP.
Apparently the Celtic Club is moving back to its original premises at 320 Queen Street in about 3-4 years time after its renovations are complete, what happens to the Celtic at Metropolitan at that time I don't know, but I'd suggest heading down to North Melbourne and trying this one, especially on parma night - The parma isn't without it's faults, but it is a massive, quality meal in a great pub at an insanely good price (on Wednesdays). Worth checking out.