Where? - 831 Bourke St. Docklands
Price? - $23
Reviewers – Lee, Matt, Nikki & Tony
Normally I kick off a review with a little anecdote about how we discovered the week's pub in question, however I have no such story for TAP831 as I came across it almost completely by accident. I looked at our recent reviews and said to myself "Hm. We haven't been to the docklands in a while", so I opened up Google Maps, hovered over the docklands, searched for "pub" and hit enter. I tossed the places we had already been and the places that didn't do a parma and was left with one option that actually looked pretty decent ... TAP831.
I didn't quite know what to expect with TAP831, but it was on the docklands so I was expecting a lot of polished concrete. On the exterior I was on the money, but imagine my surprise to discover that the inside actually had a bit of soul. The exposed brickwork and odd arrangement of the toilets (check them out when you get there) leads me to believe that, rather than a concrete box, TAP831's building actually was something before being repurposed into a bar.
We arrived at about 6:30 on a Friday evening so, understandably, the place was heaving with the knock-off drinks crowd. We started off inside but extremely loud conversations about mismanaged IT department maintenance tickets drove us to the much calmer area out the front of the pub. The cool change hadn't quite kicked in yet so it was a pretty pleasant spot to sit on a Friday evening.
We grabbed the menu and spied the parma with top billing - Always a good sign.
Placed our order at the bar and waited for the grub to arrive.
TAP831 has a decent range of beers, both on tap and in the fridge. Plenty for all tastes from Carlton Draught to something more crafty - Beer of the night was "The Sesh" golden ale from the Stockade Brew Co. Although its name should have been a clue I wasn't expecting such a sessionable drop from such a dark coloured golden ale. Surprisingly light, crisp and flavoursome. Would definitely have again if I spotted it around.
We were troubled for a moment when, five minutes after placing the order, the chef came out of the kitchen to confirm with us just how many parmas we ordered, but fears were allayed ten minutes later when our meals arrived from the kitchen -
Wow. This looked good! We picked up out cutlery and tucked in.
The chicken was cooked perfectly and of the highest quality. Juicy inside and packed with flavour. My biggest (and possibly only) gripe in regards to the schnitzel was the crumbing was a little on the thick side. Not criminally so, but noticeable - They packed a mean crunch none the less. Despite my whinging it was a great foundation to the dish.
Other than a bit of schnitzel nudity (which I didn't mind too much as the schnitzel held its own without the toppings) the toppings were pretty solid. The cheese was flavoursome and grilled to perfection, the ham made its presence known and the napoli ... actually the napoli was a little sparse. Would have definitely liked an extra spoonful or two to really juice this parma up.
The chips were simply outstanding. Home made, hand cut wedges of deliciousness with a crispy shell and pillowy potato inside - All topped off with a divine blend of seasoning. Serving sized varied a little around the table, but when the biggest complaint is that you didn't get enough of something delicious it's fair to say you're on to a good thing.
The salad was okay. After such an impressive performance from the parma and chips it was a little weak in comparison, but overall there wasn't much to complain about, just not outstanding. Garden salad with lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onion and a few slivers of shaved carrot with balsamic dressing. It worked, but it also felt like a bit of an afterthought.
For the price I'd happily have this parma again. I would have zero qualms about shelling out another $23 for the parma on offer at TAP831. From what I could see on the menu they don't have a specific parma night, but the Friday night happy hour definitely alleviated the hit on our wallets.
I went into this parma with no expectations for or against, so when we came across one of the best parmas we've had this year (granted it's only February) I was chuffed. TAP831 is definitely a spot to keep in mind, and its walking distance from Etihad Stadium if you feel like a pre/post footy feed once the AFL season kicks off. Worth a crack.
Parma - 8.13
Chips - 7.50
Salad - 6.50
Value - 7.88
Total - 7.62
The search continues...