Where? - 386 Racecourse Rd. Flemington
Price? - $19.90
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
I have often spied the Newmarket Tavern on trips up Racecourse Rd on our semi-monthly dumpling night at nearby I Love Dumplings, but I have always written it off as a dodgy pokies room that might have a bar attached.
Imagine my surprise to hear that, not only is there a bar and a bistro attached to the Newmarket, but they have seemingly taken a cue from the nearby Sporting Globe and gone full sports bar with the place, mounting so many TVs across the walls (and over the urinals) that you'd struggle to look in a direction in which you can't see a sporting competition of some kind.
We arrived, snagged a seat in front of the giant projector screen, and checked the menu for our target for the evening...
The menu gave me hope. A five line description for the parma made me think they may have put some love into their food and that this may be something more than a dodgy pokies pub.
The beer list was long, but pretty boring. If it comes out of CUB they've got it, otherwise you may go wanting. Grabbed a pint of Fat Yak and waited about 15 minutes for our parmas to arrive -
First things first the board this parma is presented on is almost identical to the one used at our 2016 Parma of the Year winners, The Birmingham Hotel. Does this mean the parma has a chance to measure up? From the looks of it probably not, but I picked up my cutlery and dove in.
The schnitzel was okay. Big enough and seemed like pure chicken breast, but the crumbs were thick, and carried that spongey dough layer synonymous with store bought schnitzels. Half good, half bad. It was thick in parts but petered out to some thin spots around the edges.
The toppings were a mixed bag as well. The cheese was fine, had great coverage and was grilled perfectly. The napoli was hard to detect and barely showed up.
The menu proudly boasted "Triple smoked ham", so I was expecting a god damn smoke show when I bit into my parma, Unfortunately I couldn't detect any smoke at all, however there were three layers of ham on the parma, so its possible that by "triple smoked ham" they meant "triple slices of smoked ham... that we forgot to smoke". Maybe.
The chips were served beside the parma, seasoned well, and the caddy of sauces on every table was a nice touch - However I could have used half a handful more, and they were slightly undercooked. Definitely could have used another 60 seconds in the fryer.
The salad was a total afterthought. Lettuce and some grated carrot. It was well dressed and tasted okay, but wholly unsatisfying as a side.
In my mind I'd put this as an $18 parma, for that price I'd be happy for what I paid. Unfortunately the Newmarket is selling it for $19.90. The price, like every other element of this parma isn't offensive, but could be improved slightly. I can't see any mention of a discount parma night on their website or social media so I'm going to assume that their isn't one.
I went into the Newmarket with low expectations. Both the parma and the venue was much better than I was expecting, but still not great. I'm glad I know about what lies inside the Newmarket as its actually a decent sports bar if you're looking for somewhere to catch the big game, have a beer, and lose some cash in the pokies.