Where - 2/10 Camp Road, Campbellfield
Price - $23.95 Classic Parma, $25.95 Mexican Parma
Website - http://pizzagrill.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
We don't get out Campbellfield way very often ... To be honest it's rare that we have a reason to. Decent pubs are few and far between this far north, so when I get recommended a spot that actually looks decent it's top priority to check it out.
From the outside the Pizza & Grill Co Building looks suspiciously like it could have once been a Pizza Hut, however doing a bit of research turns up no proof of that. in 2009 it was Il Divo (an Italian Restaurant), in 2014 it was Il Ciccio (another Italian Restaurant) then around late 2016/early 2017 it was revamped as the Pizza & Grill Co. I found one mention of it possibly being a "Hartee's" burger joint in the '70's, but I can't substantiate that beyond rumour.
Either way, it looks pretty good now. Massive space, plenty of seating, and they're really leaning in to the Sports Bar vibe with TV's as far as the eye can see.
Walking into the Pizza & Grill Co. it hit me instantly what this place was. An American Chain Restaurant. If you've ever been to Chili's, The Cheesecake Factory or Applebee's State-side then you'll know exactly what the Pizza & Grill Co. feels like on the inside... I also got a very strong Sporting Globe vibe, in fact If I had to pick an Aussie Pub/Restaurant to compare it to, Sporting Globe would definitely be it.
We were shown to our booth and checked the massive menu. Past the chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, chilli fries, burgers and giant pizzas we found the main event...
And below that also appeared a Mexican parma option...
Now regular readers will know that I'm normally a parma purist, and the promise of triple smoked ham definitely piqued my interest, however I am also a sucker for a good Mexi-parma, and the promise of "rustic hot salami" won me over. I went for the Mexican, Reviewer Nikki got the traditional. There is also a "Parma Burger" on the menu, which I have heard is pretty decent, but we didn't get to it on this trip unfortunately.
There are 8 taps going at the Pizza & Grill Co, but there's nothing pouring to get too excited about. First up we have "3 Brats Lager" Which I am assuming is an in-house brew as it's cheap, I've never heard of it before and right now, trying to Google it returns zero results for a brewery called 3 Brats. Following that we've got Carlton, Fat Yak, Minimum Chips, and Coors for the full strength, Cascade for the light with Bulmers and Canadian Club bringing up the rear for those who don't feel like a beer, all available in pot, pint, jug and a 2.5L beer "tower" sizes.
Plenty more options in bottles, with an expectedly American leaning (Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Coors, Miller, Budweiser, among others) If you're in for a big sesh there are buckets of 4 beers all available at around the $25 - $30 mark.
Now, our parmas came out insanely quickly. Scarily quickly even. I didn't have a clock on it but I don't think we waited longer than five minutes before our food was in front of us, I'd have to assume there was at least some sort of pre-preperation involved, as everything was cooked pretty well.
Still reeling from how quickly our parmas arrived, we tucked in. To be honest I was expecting a lukewarm, dry precooked schnitzel (how else could it be out so fast?) but to be honest I was pleasantly surprised. The crumbs were a little too thick for my liking and the was slightly dry, but neither to an extreme that would put me off the dish.
The schnitzel was quite big, engulfing the large plate. It did seem a little bit manufactured and fast-foody, but was real chicken and not at all processed. It was piping hot on the plate and, while not perfect, was a decent foundation to the dish.
The Mexican toppings were the right choice as they are where this parma shone for me. The rustic hot salami was applied liberally and with the addition of chilli flakes and heaps of jalapeños this was definitely on the hotter side of the spectrum as far as Mexican parmas go (and if you want to punch it up a notch the Pizza & Grill Co. has a selection of hot sauces available at all of the tables).
Switching from this one to trying the classic definitely felt like a step down in the flavour department, but I suppose it's like going from the hot tub to the swimming pool - The pool always feels colder than it actually is. Reviewer Nikki, who had the majority of the standard parma, was also pleased, commenting that the smokiness of the liberally applied ham was one of the highlights. In both cases the house made special "Pomodoro Sauce" was fine, but not too different to many of the other parma napoli's out there.
Chips were fine, needed a bit of help in the seasoning department but like the parma were served piping hot. Not a whole lot to say about them to be honest, pretty standard pub/restaurant chips.
The salad was fresh & crisp, but almost definitely pre-made in bulk and kept in the fridge ... But, like the parma and my suspicions of that being pre-prepared, if its still tasty and they can get away with it without negative effects, good on 'em.
As far as value goes the Pizza & Grill Co. standard parma clocks in at $23.95 and the Mexi at $25.95. A bit pricey but it was overall quite a large meal that I definitely didn't walk away from hungry. As far as I can tell there aren't any parma specific discount nights on the cards, but there are a few cheap drink specials to look through.
The Pizza & Grill Co. feels like a chain restaurant without the chain (There seems to be only one location so far). They no doubt going for a "Sporting Globe" vibe, however my one issue with this is there doesn't seem to be any standing room in the restaurant - It's all sit down tables and booths. There is a front room on the other side of the bar that would be perfect as a standing room bar area, yet it is furnished with more tables instead. If they had some room to stand and catch the footy it'd definitely a place I'd consider dropping into to catch a game.
To be honest I went into this review with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. The Mexican parma was choc full of flavour that I'd be happy to try again (not to mention the burgers and pizzas I saw going around looked top notch also). If you're in the area and have yet to give it a try I'd say its definitely worth popping in for a feed.