Where - 333 Burnley St. Richmond
Price - $24
Website - https://grandrichmond.com.au
The Grand is a pub that has flown under my radar. I don't get to Richmond very often so just stumbling across pubs in that area is rare - However when a few friends organised a catch up I figured it would be the perfect time to bank a review before our upcoming trip overseas (By the time you are reading this I'll be somewhere above the equator, check our Facebook or Instagram for more info)
To be honest the Grand doesn't feel like the kind've pub that would even have a parma. The dining room is a fine dining gastropub affair, with menu items such as Tortelli di patate con funghi, burro e salvia and Bollito misto con lenticchie, salsa verde e finocchio brasato. The Public Bar however, is a bit of a more laid back affair. The cosy lounge area in front opens up to bright glass room and spacious beer garden.
Everyone turned up, we grabbed a seat and checked the menu...
Well, menu, you've got one thing right - I do want a parma. This is a menu that screams confidence in their product, fingers crossed they've got the ability to back it up.
As for beers on tap it was a small but robust selection. Stone & Wood, Mountain Goat were there kicking things off strongly, backed up with a few more adventurous selections, including a stout and saison. If nothing on tap tickled your fancy the fridge behind the bar housed a few more boutique options - Definitely something for everyone to wet their whistle's at the Grand.
We ordered our meals and about 15-20 minutes later the parmas hit the table.
Schnitzel thickness varied around the table but overall it was pretty good. decently sized and real, unprocessed chicken breast (mine seemed to be two smaller schnitzels fuzed together as opposed to one big one).
I wasn't a huge fan of the crumbs, they had a strong store-bought vibe and were a little bit soggy, in contrast to the chicken itself which seemed a little dry. Not an offensive schnitzel, yet nothing too exciting either.
The toppings were overall quite tasty. Cheese blend was on point and the napoli was fresh and plentiful without tasting canned. The toppings definitely helped elevate a so/so schnitzel.
The one omission? No ham. I stand by the claim that a good parma doesn't need ham if the rest of the elements are perfect (the parma that started it all was ham free and it was perfection on a plate). The toppings on the Grand Parma were great, they raised what would have been a pretty bland schnitzel to new heights - But it would have been even better had they thrown a slice of ham/prosciutto/bacon/something into the mix.
I make no attempt to hide my bias against shoestring fries. It's a dislike that runs down to my bones. However I can appreciate when a shoestring is done right, and these were shoestrings done right. Well seasoned, nice and crunchy, served hot and there were plenty of them. If you're gonna have shoestring, this is how you do shoestring (although some dipping sauce would have been nice)
The salad looked like it was mostly an afterthought at first glance, however on digging deeper I was pleasantly surprised. The cucumber was fresh, it was well dressed and the addition of marinated capsicum was the absolute highlight, if they dialled back the amount of lettuce leaves and upped the amount of capsicum, onion and cucumber this would be a damn fine salad
As far as value goes I think Reviewer Emi hit the nail on the head - Not quite worth the full $24. If it had ham I'd say it'd be worth the price, but as it is I'd say this is a $20 parma ... maybe as high as $22. As far as I can see the Grand doesn't offer any sort of parma night (although Wednesday Duck Night does look delightful).
Overall the Grand is a super cosy pub with friendly staff and a fantastic beer garden and I have no doubt that the food coming out of the dining room is phenomenal.
The parma was good, but it missed the mark in a few areas and just fell short of greatness. I'd say it's worth a visit if you're in the area, fingers crossed they add a slice or two of ham in the future.
Lets face it... You know we WANT it!