Attempt #123 - 'Deluxe Bar & Lounge'

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When? – 22/11/12

Where? – 593 Mount Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds

Price? - $10 Thursday parma night

Website? - http://deluxebar.com.au/

Reviewers – Cale, Fridge, Kim, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony[/info]

**EDIT - This review is no longer valid! We revisited Deluxe in 2015 for another look at their (now Friday) $10 parma night. Check it out here!

Ahhh Deluxe. Local club in which I have downed many a Jäger bomb, pint of cider or shot of tequilla, Never did I think I would be enjoying a parma in its hallowed halls, but with the recent opening of the Deluxe rooftop bar we did exactly that.

After walking through a bit of a maze to get to the top, I was amazed by what Deluxe had done to the rooftop… I don’t normally take photos inside the pubs we review, but this definitely warranted one -

Plenty of tables, an outdoor bar, a retractable cover in case the weather turns - This is a great spot for a summer afternoon sesh, and on Thursday night’s the $10 parma special makes it all the more inviting.

We grabbed some menu’s just to see what we were up against -

Regularly priced the parma comes in at $18, still pretty cheap, but being Tightarse Thursday we placed our $10 parma orders.

Before too long they arrived from the kitchen…

The schnitzel was bigger than I was expecting and crumbed with fresh herbs that added a fantastic zing. The generous serving of ham added great flavour to the dish, however there was quite a bit of nude schnitz (due to some very curly ham), the cheese was kinda tasteless and the napoli was a bit watery.

Due to it being a discount parma My expectations weren’t high going in, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not fantastic by any means but for a $10 meal its very hard to complain.

After an extended absence, the ParmaCam makes a shaky return! -

[youtube id="ysGIUIXqSf8" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were beer battered, fresh and well seasoned. accompanied the parma adequately and were a fine addition to the meal, I can’t really come up with any more to say about them … They were fine, probably could’ve used a few more.

The salad was a very mixed bag. The score for salad around the table fluctuated wildly as everyone got a different amount of ingredients - Reviewer Fridge got a hearty salad of Rocket, onion, carrot, tomato, cucumber and I think I even saw some capsicum in there. I, however, got a plate of rocket, with a sprinkle of onion and some dregs of a tomato (you’ll be able to see it in the ParmaCam above).

All in all Deluxe’s entry onto the parma scene is a mixed bag. It certainly has it’s faults, but its very hard to complain when for only ten bucks I had a parma on a gorgeously renovated rooftop courtyard and walked away with a full stomach. If I had to pay full price ($18) I’d probably be signing a different tune, but the ease on my wallet definitely helped me overlook its imperfections. If you love a cheap feed it’s definitely worth checking out.

Parma - 6.25
Chips - 6.31
Salad - 4.69
Value -  8.69
Total - 6.44

The search continues…

 

Attempt #122 - 'The Rising Sun Hotel'

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When? – 15/11/12

Where? – 395 Swan St, Richmond

Price? - $15 with pot Thursday, Normally $20

Website? - http://www.theriser.com.au/

Reviewers – Cale, Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

 

When the Rising Sun won the vote in an absolute landslide last week, I had high hopes we were in for a good parma - It has been awhile since we’ve had a discount parma deal, so the prospect of a $15 parma and pot definitely tickled our fancy.

The Riser feels out of place, it feels like a pub you would find in a country town - not the middle of Richmond. We took our seats in the bistro, placed our orders, collected our free pots and awaited the arrival of our parmage. After a short wait (and after a lovely pre-game of bruschetta and wedges) the parmas arrived from the kitchen.

This was a hard one to judge. there were some pro’s and there were some cons, and in the end opinion amongst the group was pretty divided.

The schnitzel was big enough, but pretty heavy on the crumbs. Speaking of the crumbs they were rather thick and soggy all the way over. The chicken was juicy but didn’t carry much flavour - either did the cheese and the ham. In fact the only part of the meal that carried any real flavour was the napoli sauce - It was very thick, tomato paste-ish and pretty much overpowered the whole meal

The chips were fairly solid, Beer battered, good flavour and well seasoned - their major downfall being that they tasted as if they had been sitting out for a while - a fresh batch of these babies would have been a fantastic addition to the meal.

The salad was a bit of a disappointment - despite being in a separate bowl the lettuce was wilted, and balsamic dressing seemed watered down, lacking any real flavour.

Like I mentioned earlier - Opinion was divided this week, the quotes run the gamut from “not bad” to “awful”…

It’s hard to complain about a $15 parma & pot deal, I’m aware this review hasn’t been quiteuseful in helping you decide whether to try it or not, but if you want to give it a go $15 is probably worth the gamble. You won’t be blown away by it, but its not overly offensive either.

This is the hardest kind of parma to review - the middle of the road. I can’t recommend it, yet at the same time I cant discourage a visit. If you’re in the area on a Thursday it’s worth checking out, otherwise I’d give the Rising Sun a miss.

Parma - 5.08
Chips - 4.67
Salad - 1.67
Value - 6.83
Total - 4.67

The search continues…

Attempt #121 - 'The Wharf Hotel'

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When? – 8/11/12

Where? – 18-38 Siddeley Street, Melbourne

Price? - $22

Website? - http://wharfhotel.com.au/

Reviewers – Adam, Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

 

Two weeks ago The Wharf Hotel won the facebook vote by a pretty big landslide (20 votes to the Wharf, 12 for Deluxe Bar and 3 for Naughtons Parkville Hotel). Then stuff came up last week that prevented us from doing a review so this week we loaded up the parma bus and headed to the docklands, and the Wharf Hotel. Voting for next week’s attempt will be live on the facebook page till Monday night, go and tell us where to go!

Located within the World Trade Center complex (across the river from Polly Woodside) The Wharf Hotel is an impressive pub. Beautiful beer garden right on the river, complete with plenty of plasma screens and an outdoor fireplace, not to mention the gorgeous interior with extremely cosy leather lined booths, which is where we found ourselves last night…

Straightforward. We placed our orders and before too long we were greeted by our parmas -

At first glance the parma looked solid, the crumbs on the schnitzel were quality and it seemed to be of decent thickness, kinda small, but thick. It wasn’t until we took a bite that we were let down.

While being thick, the chicken was as dry as a dead dingo’s donger, dry and stringy, I had to take sips of my pint between each mouthful to retain a bit of moisture.

The toppings were okay, but they were just bland. Boring, dull and humdrum (thanks thesaurus.com!). The napoli was tasteless, the ham probably carried the most flavour out of all the toppings (and thats not saying much) and the cheese was … just cheese.

Nothing about the parma was particularly offensive, but it wasn’t good, and it certainly wasn’t twenty-two dollars good.

Not much to say about the chips - McDonalds fries, decent seasoning and well cooked but not many of them, If a pub is resorting to fries over chips then I want a healthy serve of them.

Now, to be fair to what I’m about to say about the salad, the menu did state that the parma was served with “leafy greens” and not “salad”. But whatever you call it, it was rocket and a few slivers of onion tossed in oil. A complete afterthought and not worth the effort of putting it on the plate.

As the review team mentioned in their comments, if this was a $10 parma I would have left satisfied, but $22 for a small parma with Maccas chips and weeds on the side left a very bad taste in our mouths.

Apparently they run a $15 novelty parma Monday which would be worth checking out (inexplicably these ones are served with “steak chips” and not fries. why not put the steak chips on the full sized parma!?) That would be worth checking out, but I wouldn’t go too far our of my way to get there.

An aesthetically amazing pub in a fantastic location with a top notch view. Too bad the parma was such a let down.

Parma - 5.30
Chips - 4.70
Salad - 3.40
Value - 3.80
Total - 4.50
The search continues…

The Wharf Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

Cooking with Parma Daze #2 - 'The pork rind experiment'

Hello Hello!

This post was supposed to go up much earlier on the weekend, but things happened that prevented it (mostly me being far too sick to consider writing words).

A few weeks back I was struck with a revelation. Pigs are delicious, chicken parmas are delicious. So how could we combine these magical delights past the simple slice of ham or bacon?

Pork rinds.

I put it out on the social networks to see what kind of response it would get -

Well that was that, I had to give it a try. I was struck down with a sore throat come Wednesday and by the time Thursday had rolled around I was well on the way to being sick - not as bad as I would get later in the weekend, but enough that the CBF’s majorly kicked in and I pushed our scheduled attempt at The Wharf Hotel another week.

I Headed to LaManna and loaded up on supplied for what had been dubbed “The pork rind experiment”

Chicken, ham, cheese, eggs (for crumbing) Leggo’s Napoli, some beer battered chips, nandos perinaise for chip-dippage and a bottle of Tabasco to give the napoli a bit of a kick.

Then there was the star of the day … The pork rinds -

Now I took a lot of pictures of the cooking process, so from here on until the finished product there will probably be more photos than words. Enjoy!

First of all I put the pork rinds in the blender, I wanted them to have a slightly rough texture so I made sure to only use the occasional “pulse” setting to give them a gentle crushing, but not reduce them to pork-paste.

The finished product. It smelled like pork. Pork and salt. But mostly pork

Next up I took out the mallet and went “fifty shades of grey” all over the chicken breast. I’m not a big fan of overly-pounded chicken, so after a few whacks it used the safe-word (“Rasputin” for the curious) and she was ready for the crumbing.

A dip in the egg then into the rind

Voila! Pork rind crumbed chicken schnitzel. at this stage I was optimistic. Doesn’t it look good!

Covered the tray in foil and put her in the oven for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 20. While I waited I got the chips ready, dosed them with a healthy whack of chicken salt and slid them in alongside the schnitz.

The toppings were watching, ready to go…

And after 40 minutes in the oven, the schnitz was done!

Time for the toppings, all loaded up and ready to go back into the hot box.

After a few minutes she was done!

Once she came out of the oven I assembled the parma on the plate with the chips (which I did manage to overcook slightly, but nothing terrible) Got my chip dip ready, cracked a beer and prepared to tuck in.

IT’S ALIVE!!!

I picked up the knife and fork, steadied them in my hands, I could feel my heart pounding as I slowly lowered them to the plate. I pierced the schnitzel with the fork as I brought the sharp knife down to the chicken, tearing through the flesh until I heard the clink  of metal on ceramic.

I lifted the fork, I could feel the added weight of the portion I had cut. As I lifted the chicken the scent of roast pork filled my nostrils. I couldn’t handle it any further. I closed my eyes and ate…

And it was fucking dreadful.

It’s hard to explain just how bad it was without being there to try it. But imagine buying a lemon gelato on a hot summers day, you bring the lemon gelato to your lips but when you bite into it instead of tasting lemon gelato it tastes like BBQ pork ribs.

Now I’m sure those pork ribs are delicious, but when the brain is expecting one thing and gets another it throws it out of whack.  The meal smelled very strongly of roast pork, yet it tasted like chicken parma, and on the travel from plate to mouth my brain got the signal loud and clear that “I’m getting roast pork, yum, I love roast po…OMGWTF WHY AM I EATING PARMA?!”

And the brain confusion wasn’t the only problem, the texture was terrible, I was expecting more of a ‘crunch’ to the crumbs but once they hit the parma they were extremely fluffy, it just didn’t work, as if the parma was covered in a very thin layer of salty marshmallows.

It seems odd to spend an entire post devoted to showing you how to cook something that I’m telling you is absolutely terrible, but thems the breaks.

Hope everyone had a great cup weekend, we’ll be visiting The Wharf Hotel this week, details up Friday (for real this time).

Next week - Parma crumbed in prawn crackers!*

The search continues…

*not really.

Attempt #120 - 'The Carlton'

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When? – 25/10/12

Where? – The Carlton. 193 Bourke St. Melbourne

Price? - $23 (with a Monday and Thursday lunch special)

Website? - http://www.thecarlton.com.au/

Reviewers – Grace, Lee, Nikki, Tony[/info]

We finally made it to The Carlton!

For those with short memories (or new readers, If you’re new, Welcome! it’s great to have you here, I hope you’re enjoying yourself… What have you been up to lately?) The Carlton won the vote a few weeks back, but due to some kitchen problems they were unable to serve us a parma on the Thursday night, and we opted for The Elephant & Wheelbarrow instead.

It wasn’t fair that The Carlton didn’t get a go after a little slip up, they had won the vote fair and square, so rather than put up a new selection last week we called The Carlton the winners and headed over (while we’re on the subject, Voting for next week is open until Monday night, go and tell us where to go!).

Walking into the lobby of the multi-storey pub this promo caught my eye…

A very clever wording on that poster. “Vote for the best parma in town”, not “Voted”. Its a request, not a statement. Very sneaky Carlton, Very sneaky indeed!

I am very very sneaky sir… (interesting side note, Mr. Deeds is the only movie I’ve seen that features chicken parma. Adam Sandler takes Winona Ryder to a date and serves her parmas. The parmas stole the scene)

We snaked our way through the fairly busy Carlton and found a table in the dining room tucked in the back, I don’t know where to start describing the decor of The Carlton, “Eclectic” doesn’t even begin to cover it, think of a Safari Lodge while on LSD and you’re getting there. With red walls, polka dot rhino heads on the wall and a full sized Ostrich wearing a pearl necklace by the door, and that’s just the beginning.

The menu is straightforward, down to earth bar food. We found our target and placed the order. From where we were sitting we had a view of the kitchen door, meals must be popular on a Thursday as the door barely stopped swinging, with a tasty looking dish emerging each time. After a few swings our parmas arrived…

The schnitzel was quality. Unprocessed, thick and juicy breast with very tasty crumbs. It was one of those parmas where you didn’t mind that there was some nudity on the schnitzel, as the taste of the chicken held up without the need for toppings.

The cheese was plentiful and beautifully melty, the napoli was fresh, in abundance and carried a slight red wine flavour that gave it a great kick. The ham was there, but didn’t really add much to the taste of the dish. Overall this was a quality bird, lets hope the sides are just as good!

The sides weren’t just as good.

Always a bonus point for crinkle cut chips, but thats about where the positives end. They were overcooked, unsalted and not drained nearly well enough - every chip left an oily texture and taste in the mouth that was wholly unpleasant.

The salad was lazy, not terrible, but lazy. The whole thing consisted of lettuce, onion and cucumber with some cream dressing. The dressing was nice, the ingredients were fresh but I just wanted more. 

$23 is a bit steep for this bird. The parma is quality but as a whole meal it was a bit of a let down. The Carlton run a couple of parma specials -

(Note the continued use of their “Vote #1 best parma” line, sneaky buggers)

I’d be interested to check these out, as this would be a top notch meal for $15 with a free pot, but I wouldn’t be back at full price.

The Carlton parma was a quality bird I’d be happy to try again any day of the week, unfortunately some poor chips and lackluster salad let the meal down. All in all the Carlton is a pub that has to be experienced, just be sure to stop in on Monday or Thursday lunch and get yourself a parma on the cheap while you’re at it.

I’m sure the Ostrich would be glad to see you, but maybe he wouldn’t give a flock (bird puns. I hope they don’t ruffle your feathers. hah!)

Parma - 7.75
Chips - 4.75
Salad - 3.88
Value - 5.25
Total - 5.88

The search continues…

The Carlton Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #119 - 'The Corkman'

[/info]

When? – 18/10/12

Where? – The Corkman. 160 Leicester Street, Carlton

Price? - $18.50

Website? - http://thecorkman.com.au/

Reviewers – Adam, Cale, Fridge, Lee[/info]

Voting this week ended on a tie of all things, both The Corkman and The College lawn in Prahran finished up on the same amount of votes. What to do? The easiest solution was to flip a coin - Results below (please excuse my poor handwriting, I was the last in my class to get my pen licence)

Corkman it is! We loaded up the parma bus and headed to Carlton. Thursday night is “Irish Night” at the Carlton and we were greeted by an extremely jovial atmosphere, $7 pints of Guinness and Jameson and Jam sessions of live irish music being played on the dance floor. Loads of fun.

We took a seat, found a menu and ordered our parmas

The Corkman is a your standard Irish pub, but it doesn’t really look like one. Unlike the look of the franchised Irish pub that I mentioned last week - the Corkman looks and feels genuinely Irish, It was probably mostly the live rendition of Riverdance eminating from the dance floor, but the pub had a fantastic atmosphere, warm and inviting without feeling fake or sterilised.

Before too long our parmas arrived from the kitchen…

The schnitzel was solid. Juicy, thick, and unprocessed. There wasn’t an inch of parma that wasn’t covered by topping - you’d honestly find more nudity at a convent.

the cheese, the napoli and chicken were all great, if I had to criticise I would simply say that it lacked spice. The cheese, the napoli, and the chicken were all fresh and delicious - however I feel a few more spices would’ve carried this one over the line.

Oh, and there wasn’t any ham, a shame, I love a bit of pork on my parma.

The chips were standard. There were in solid supply, cooked well and we had a sauce pot left over from our entree serve of chips, but they weren’t seasoned enough and we all had to reach for the salt shaker.

The salad was a disappointment. Rocket, onion and some slivers of carrot tossed in a lot of oil - was on the plate pretty much as an afterthought and didn’t compliment the meal well at all.

For $18.50 it was a decent price for what we got, nobody left the table hungry and the cheap pints only sweetened the deal. If they put a bit more effort into the chips and salad I would travel out of my way to try this parma again. Maybe not across town, but I would certainly deviate a few blocks.

If you’re after a great atmosphere, a solid Guinness and a decent parma, then the Corkman is definitely worth stopping into, its a shame about the sides, they really let down what could have been a quality dish.

Parma - 7.00
Chips - 5.75
Salad - 3.63
Value - 6.38
Total - 5.95

The search continues…

The Corkman Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Attempt #118 - 'The Elephant & Wheelbarrow'

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When? – 11/10/12

Where? – The Elephant & Wheelbarrow. 94-96 Bourke St. Melbourne

Price? - $22

Website? - http://bourkest.elephantandwheelbarrow.com.au/

Reviewers – Adam, Cale, Fridge, Lee, Nikki[/info]

You know the feeling when everything is going according to plan, then all of a sudden the arse falls out of it and you’re back to square one?

That was me yesterday. Everything was on track for last night’s attempt - The voting was a success and we were heading to The Carlton on Bourke Street for a parma that we have been recommended to try many times. We had the place sorted, we had the attendees sorted, the last thing I needed to do was make a booking.

Thats when everything went wrong.

The friendly staff member informed me that due to “kitchen maintenance” The pub was on a limited menu - bar snacks only. No mains. No parmas.

It was scramble time, I brought up trusty google maps and scanned for a nearby pub, one of the first places I laid my eyes on was The Elephant & Wheelbarrow.

“Hmmm” I thought to myself. “British pub franchise … We haven’t had a great run with them. But how bad can it be?”. I didn’t have time to ponder, I called and made the booking. A couple of hours later we were walking into the Elephant & Wheelbarrow.

If you’ve been to one British/Irish pub franchise you’ve been to ‘em all, so I wont spend much time on description  but you know the deal. Dark carpet, extremely dark stained wood, farming equipment attached to the wall. They’re All The Same.

We scanned the menu, Found a parma…

And placed our order at the bar. Upon ordering we received one of these -

And it sparked a debate. They’re fairly common in franchise pubs, when your food is ready the digital coaster flashes red lights and vibrates, indicating that its time to go collect your meal.

I like em, they’re fun, and its like a mini game of chance predicting when it’s time to go and collect. And lets be honest, when it goes off you feel like you’re the winner of some awesome free food competition you are in with everyone else eating.

Yet others at the table weren’t as enthusiastic as me, they claim that since they are paying top dollar ($22, not cheap) for a parma, that they should bring the food the extra 3 metres from the collection area to the table themselves. We discussed this for awhile without reaching any real resolution, Our buzzer buzzed and we collected our meals.

Oh dear. Cover your shame, parma!

Plenty of nudity on display, leaving an overcooked (burnt around the edges), dry and kind of small prefab schnitz visible.

The napoli was creamy, almost orange in colour, it reminded me of the sauce you put on beef stroganoff. Plenty of it and it didn’t taste too bad, just the colour of it was odd and slightly off-putting. The ham was decent, plenty of it and carried a great smokey flavour.

There just wasn’t enough cheese, it was concentrated entirely on the single slice of ham and didn’t touch much of the parma at all.

[youtube id="XM-Ojm7ONM4" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were bland. They were well cooked, crunchy, but a little oily and like I said - Bland. Everyone reached for the salt shaker and when that wasn’t enough it was straight to the cutlery station to stock up on good ol’ tomato sauce, the ambrosia from the gods that can save any chip.

The salad was in a separate bowl, so points there. However the bowl was small and beyond the little drizzle of creamy dressing on the top the rest of it was pretty dry and uninteresting.

I’d be happy to consider this “The McDonalds of parmas” and move on. I didn’t have high hopes to begin with, we were in a franchised pub its natural to expect franchised food. Just don’t charge me $22 for the privilege. If your parma is nasty, you’ve gotta make it cheap & nasty to get away with it.

I wouldn’t travel far for this parma. If it were somewhere in the $10 - $15 dollar mark I might cross the street for it, but it’d have to be a fairly quiet street. Not a lot of traffic, perhaps with a pedestrian crossing.

We haven’t forgotten about the Carlton, I’m gonna give them a couple of weeks to overcome their kitchen issues, then revisit. In the meantime the polls are open on the facebook page - head over, and vote on where to send us next week!

Parma - 4.50
Chips - 3.90
Salad - 3.90
Value - 3.80
Total - 4.12

The search continues…

The Elephant and Wheelbarrow on Urbanspoon

Attempt #117 - 'The Lord Newry Hotel'

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When? – 04/10/12

Where? – The Lord Newry Hotel, 543 Brunswick St. Fitzroy

Price? - $19

Website? - http://www.lordnewryhotel.com.au/

Reviewers – Fridge, Janet, Lee, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

I thought voting was going to be tight this week, It was neck and neck between Harbour Town and Lord Newry until Monday afternoon, when Lord Newry jumped out to a massive lead! The final scores were Lord Newry - 25 votes, Harbour Town - 12 votes, and a rather unpopular Oxford Scholar with just 3 votes.

But never fear, those of you who voted for Harbour Town - This weeks selections will be comprised of the runner’s up of the last 3 weeks of voting, Check out the facebook page to cast your vote!

The Lord Newry is my kind of pub. Quiet backstreets, locals sipping on a pot while sitting by the crackling open fire and monthly trivia competition drawing quite a crowd in the next room (there was a pool table in there too, but trivia had the room pretty much packed).

We arrived to the dimly-lit Lord Newry, took our seats and checked the menu. Found the parma and placed our orders…

Now I know that last week I promised an end to poorly lit parma photos due to daylight savings kicking in, however I was a week off in my prediction, the savings of daylight kicks in this Weekend, so this will be the last dark parma I promise, even if I have to cart in a spotlight to illuminate the bloody thing, it will not be dark again!

As the parmas arrived I gathered around as many tea-light candles as I could so I didn’t need to artificially brighten the pic as much this week, managed to singe off a decent patch of arm hair in the process. See how I suffer for you people?

It was far too dark to do a ParmaCam this week, So I opted for a double cross section instead. But I digress … on to the bird!

I was impressed from the moment the parma hit the table. You could just tell this was a parma made with love. Forgetting the toppings the hand crumbed schnitzel was thick, juicy and looked damn tasty, the toppings probably weren’t even necessary to make this a ripper meal.

Then we got to the toppings. The two kinds of cheese were plentiful, well cooked and a delicious compliment to the chicken, with the obligatory slice of ham under a healthy serving of Virgin Mary Napoli.

What is Virgin Mary Napoli? I hear you ask. Well we had the same question, After our parmas arrived we asked the bartender and he went and had a chat with the Chef - Basically the Virgin Mary napoli is based on a Virgin Mary (Bloody Mary without the booze) cocktail, with Tomato, celery and a hint of tobasco sauce.

And what a Triumph of napoli it was! The tobasco gave the whole parma a kick, its easy to go overboard with tobasco but just had just enough to give you that slight tickle on the back of the throat. The originality of the flavour made the whole parma exciting, and an absolute delight.

The chips were beer battered, plentiful, well cooked, well seasoned and set beside the parma - a tick in every box.

There were squeeze bottles of sauce on the table when we arrived - Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce and Vinegar. Plenty of options for the sauce enthusiast!

The garden to the side was good for what it was, a garden salad. Plenty of dressing and beefed up with plenty in it, Not amazing, but passable.

For $19 I’d happily travel to Fitzroy again to give this parma a go, And I think you should too. Trivia runs on the first Thursday of every month, and although we didn’t partake it seemed as if everyone who did had a great time.

The Virgin Mary napoli was definitely the star of this dish, I love when a pub takes a gamble on something unique like that and it has definitely paid off. Do yourself a favour and check out the parma at the Lord Newry, you wont regret it!

Parma - 8.60
Chips - 8.00
Salad -7.00
Value - 7.70
Total - 7.98

The search continues…

Lord Newry Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

Attempt #116 - 'The Bridge Hotel'

This pic is pre-renovation, its more of a creamy white colour now! I just couldn’t find a new pic. If you’ve got one shoot me an email!

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When? – 28/09/12

Where? – The Bridge Hotel, 624 Bridge Rd. Richmond.

Price? - $19.90

Website? - http://thebridgehotel.com.au/

Reviewers – Ahmad, Cale, Fridge, Janet, Lee, Nikki[/info]

The new voting system has thrown me for a loop - normally the first paragraph of a parma daze review is the story of how we came across the Bridge, but now that it’s in the hands of the readers every review is probably going to start with the same paragraph.

Everyone voted. The Bridge Hotel won, so thats where we went!

The recently renovated Bridge Hotel is a sight to behold, “Eclectic” doesn’t even begin to describe the amazing facelift this pub has had, the first thing you will notice upon entering The Bridge is that once you go inside, you are outside again… It’s an Outside-Inside pub! Someone has been stealing ideas from the Butabi brothers.

Did you just grab my ass?

I can’t explain the Bridge Hotel without sounding like a lunatic (“so, one wall, is like, covered in cameras, but the cameras are actually lights”), so I’ll let my friend Google Image Search help me out …

Don’t go thinking this is a beer garden, this is inside the pub.

Thanks to Broadsheet for the pics, Top website.

Anyway, we took a seat and ordered over the bar, $19.90 for the regular parma and $18.90 for the vego eggplant option, before long our meals were trotted out of the kitchen…

It was insanely dark in our little corner booth, so I had to max out the brightness on the parma photo and ParmaCam to make them visible! So apologies for the crappy quality - here is a much better photo I found on Urbanspoon…

The parma was quality - thick, juicy and unprocessed chicken with standard but not overly thick crumbs. I had great coverage of toppings, golden brown cheese, plenty of ham and lovely napoli.

Technically and visually this was a top notch parma … however myself (and a few around the table agreed) that it lacked a “wow” factor - I can’t put my finger on what was missing, and I’ll be clear that its a very minor complaint, but it just needed that extra kick to raise it from a “very good” parma to a “holy shit thats good!” parma, It’s almost as if someone turned the volume down on the flavour of this bird.

Once again I apologise for the quality of ParmaCam - Daylight savings kicks in next week so this should be the last of the after-dark parmas!

[youtube id="SO5s4FhqBAc" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were great, we haven’t had a good beer battered chunky chip in quite some time and these definitely fit the bill. If they needed any improvement I’d say a bit more seasoning wouldn’t go astray, and nobody would complain if some form of chip dip made it onto the plate (be it tomato sauce, perinaise or aioli)

The salad, like the parma, lacked that wow factor - Standard garden salad with plenty of dressing certainly filled the whole, but didn’t leave me quite satisfied.

I am on the fence with this parma. It was great, it was all great, and it should have ranked higher! But the general consensus from everyone on the table was - while everything was in place for a top notch parma - it was missing that kick.

The pub is truly outstanding, I have no qualms in saying its one of the prettiest pubs I have ever been to, and It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area, just make sure to bring an umbrella if you’re planning on sitting inside!

Before I finish up just want to say that voting on the location for next week’s attempt will be live pretty much as soon as this review is! So head over to the Facebook page and let us know where we’ll be heading next week! Until then…

Parma - 7.00
Chips - 7.00
Salad - 5.17
Value - 6.58
Total - 6.55

The search continues…

Bridge Hotel on Urbanspoon

 

Attempt #115 - 'Maxy's'

[info]

When? – 19/09/2012

Where? – Maxy’s. 306 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick.

Price? - $21.90 Platter for one, $35.90 Platter for two

Website? - http://www.maxys.net.au/

Reviewers – Lee, Nikki & Shanan[/info]

While struggling to decide which place to hit up this week I was hit with inspiration - Let the readers decide! So Monday arvo I put a poll up on the facebook page asking people to do just that, pick from 3 options and the winner is where we would visit!

Unfortunately I needed to make the decision by Tuesday morning, so I was only able to keep the voting open for about 20 hours. None the less we had a few votes and the decision was made - Maxy’s International in Elsternwick was the winner.

I enjoyed this voting system and intend to make it a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future - I’ll put the selection for next week’s attempt up later this afternoon, so be sure to check back to the facebook page and have your say!

A small group this week, we arrived at Maxy’s, took our seats and were presented with the menu - the “Parma Platter” was our target this week, available as a single-person serve for $21.90 or a serving for two (or one really hungry single) for $35.90. Nobody was game enough to try the double, so we ordered a round of singles and awaited our parmage.

Before long at all our meals arrived from the kitchen, and my lord was it a sight to behold…

When they said “Platter” they definitely meant it! This thing came out on a plate the size of a hubcap! The schnitzel was massive, non processed chicken, a little on the thin side but loaded with a heap of napoli, ham and tasty cheese. For the first time in a while I struggled to finish this behemoth, Reviewer Nikki tapped out halfway through, barely even making a dent in the thing. You wont leave Maxy’s hungry, thats for sure.

The parma had great flavour, although the curse of the big parma struck a little - After so much chicken it became a bit boring to get through, I found myself having to constantly alternate between the parma, the chips and the salads just to mix things up.

[youtube id="VWe1ui8byHU" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were standard french fries (aka Maccas Chips), as much as I dislike Maccas chips with a parma these served their purpose well - nicely salted and plenty of them.

For the first time in months I am able to say that the parma didn’t come with a standard garden salad! Praise Jebus!!

The amount of salad on the plate was enough for a meal in its own right. Three kinds of salad graced the plate. We did our best to identify them all, but if I’m wrong feel free to correct me.

  • We started with massive pile of coleslaw, which worked fantastically with the schnitzel
  • secondly was a decent stack of fresh diced tomato, capsicum and cucumber (my favourite of the three salads, so fresh!)
  • Thirdly was a salad I could only describe as “purple coleslaw”. It looked like grated beetroot or purple lettuce, but tasted like coleslaw, either way it was delicious.
  • All topped with an orange slice, the dessert to finish off the meal
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to find a parma that puts a bit of effort into the salad rather than treating it as an afterthought… I’m tearing up a little just typing this *sniff*

After the mammoth parma and the chips I barely made a dent in the salad on the plate.

I would be impressed if I saw someone clear their plate after ordering the parma platter. There’s so much food here that for $21.90 its an absolute steal. It was a bit of a hike for us to get out to Elsternwick, but if you find yourself in the area its definitely a place to stop in for a meal, Just don’t plan on doing anything afterwards, this thing wiped me out! I was in bed my 9 oclock.

The parma at Maxy’s isn’t without it’s faults, but coupled with the abundance of chips and mammoth salad it comes out as a fantastic meal. If you can stand the cheesy decor and inexplicable photos of channel 9 TV presenters from the mid 90’s lining the walls then its definitely worth stopping by!

Remember to check the facebook later this evening to cast your vote on our next target…

Parma - 7.5
Chips - 6.17
Salad - 8.67
Value - 8.50
Total - 7.67

The search continues…

Maxy's International on Urbanspoon

Attempt #114 - 'Pint on Punt'

[info]

When? – 13/09/2012

Where? – Pint on Punt, 42 Punt Rd, Windsor

Price? - $18.90 normally, $12 on Thursdays when you buy a drink, $2.50 extra for Aussie or Mexican

Website? - http://pintonpunt.com.au/

Reviewers – Fridge, Janet, Lee, Luke, Nikki, Stefo[/info]

 

**EDIT - The Pint on Punt has closed its doors, this review is no longer valid - Word has it there's a new pub opening in its place that will have a parma on the menu ... will do our best to check it out once available!

I just found this picture of a quokka with a leaf.

Look at him! Cheeky rascal.

He’s so damn happy with himself!

Whenever I see a quokka I think about those little charity things they have in Red Rooster (although they’re probably gone now, I haven’t set foot in a Red Rooster since they got with the program and adopted Drive-Through).

You’d put in a coin and it would travel down to the picture of a quokka, hit a switch and a little quokka joey would poke its head out of the pouch. Lord, I must’ve put ten grand of my mother’s spare change into that thing!

Hm, gotten off topic, It’s okay I can save this. Quokkas … Red Rooster … Chicken … Chicken Parmas!

One thing I have noticed as the parma hunt has continued this year has been the ever so slowly rising price of the heavenly dish. When things started out a parma between $10 and $15 was the norm, but as time has moved on the price of the parma has risen!

$18 became the norm, then $20, these days we are hovering around a $21/$22 average, with our most expensive tipping the scales at $28.

This just wont do!

So this week I set out to find a cheap parma, a risk as “cheap” usually means “cheap and nasty’” but none the less I logged onto the The Happiest Hour and tracked down a parma special that not only looked decent, but was easy on the wallet as well… The Pint on Punt

We arrived at the Pint on Punt, ordered some drinks and took a seat in the bistro out the back. Classic Irish pub fare, lots of dark stained wood, green carpet, open fires and a heap of crap nailed to the walls that look like it came off a farm - you know the drill. Being a backpackers as well as a pub also gives it a fun atmosphere, I don’t think I heard an Aussie accent while I was in there, Including from the bar staff.

When we sat we realised we had stuffed up - the $12 deal only applies if you order a drink at the same time you order your parma.

We finished our first drinks as latecomer Reviewer Luke arrived. He went to the bar to get a drink, ordered it, turned around and saw we were also ordering so he said “oh can I also order a parma”, the order was put through but as the drink and the parma weren’t in the same transaction he had to pay full price. A bit harsh, I’ve gotta say.

We sat down, spoke for literally 3 minutes and the first parma emerged from the kitchen. Speed does not bode well when it comes to parmas, the old addage ‘good food takes time to prepare’ is more than apt. They must be pre-cooked we all thought. So with great trepidation, we dug in.

Quite surprisingly, it was good! The chicken breast, while a little small on circumference, was as thick as a … I can’t think of anything to compare it with, but it was damn thick. Check the ParmaCam, I made sure to rotate the parma a lot so the thickness would show up.

It didn’t taste pre-cooked either, our hypothesis being that as it’s Parma Night the chef can always afford to have some breasts cooking and they won’t go to waste. A great strategy.

The napoli was chunky with plenty of flavour, the ham was thick and smokey and the cheese did its job without much fuss. For a full priced parma, it was okay. For a cheap Parma Night parma, it was damn good.

[youtube id="2wWNoiYLfWY" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were standard, nothing to write home about yet nothing offensive, In need of a shake of salt and the bottle of sauce that was brought to the table with our meal was definitely appreciated.

The salad, in a seperate bowl, was quite tasty. Standard garden salad with a creamy mustard dressing that really made the dish. Quite a lot of tomato for me, but I’m not a fan of raw tomato, I’m sure others would have greatly enjoyed.

Like I said, at full price this is an okay parma, not bad but definitely nothing to write home about. Yet at $12 this is quite a gem, especially on a Thursday night when parma nights are hard to come buy (they are usually a Tuesday or Wednesday kinda deal).

The pub was warm and cosy on a cold Melbourne night, I’d be happy to travel 5 or 10 minutes out of my way to get this again, I’d also be keen to try the Aussie and Mexican varieties, they sounded scrumptious.

I probably wouldn’t go back for a full price parma, but I’d definitely try it again on a Thursday night, coupled with many more pints at the Pint on Punt.

Parma - 6.92
Chips - 5.83
Salad - 6.67
Value - 7.17
Total - 6.7

The search continues…

Pint on Punt Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #113 - 'Tin Roof Cafe'

[info]

When? – 06/09/2012

Where? – Tin Roof Cafe, 338 Keilor Road, Niddrie

Price? - $20.00

Website? - None

Reviewers – Cale, Fridge, Lee, Ness, Stefo[/info]

Your what?!

Tiiiiiiin Roof! … Rusted.

Love shack… Baby love shack…

Every week we load up the parma bus and drive somewhere in Melbourne to try a new parma - but some weeks the Parma Bus just doesn’t feel up to it, sometimes he needs a rest, and on those weeks we choose a parma as local to the review team as we can get. Hence the Tin Roof!

Tin Roof never really registered to me as a place to have a parma, however a few months back short lived parma review site “The Parmassieur” visited and gave it a review - The review has since disappeared from the interwebs, and I’ve forgotten what it had to say about the place, but since then the Tin Roof stuck out in my head as a place to try. (On a related note, To The Parmassieur - What happened? Your site/twitter/everything disappeared off the internet overnight, I’ve been curious where you went ever since! Tweet, Email or Facebook me and let me know.)

Anyway, we arrived at a fairly quiet Tin Roof and took our seats, we were a group of three and were waiting on two more to arrive. In the meantime we ordered a few beers and some starters. Thats when the service started to get … Pushy.

It’s hard to put my finger on, but we got the distinct feeling that we were being moved along, that the longer we sat in those seats the less people they could herd in and out of the restaurant in a night - and it wasn’t appreciated.

It’s not like we were being rude or even taking up space and not spending - while we waited for the other two reviewers we ordered a round of drinks, a bowl of wedges and a dozen oysters. Even though we told the staff that we were waiting on two more, we were asked if we wanted to order our mains before our starters had even hit the table.

After we told them that we would wait to order our mains until after the rest arrived, the service stopped dead. I must’ve sat with an empty beer for at least ten minutes before we had to wave over a staff member and order another one. Both pushy and inattentive service in the space of twenty minutes, quite a feat!

The sides came out and they were actually quite good, The oysters seemed to go down well with the seafood-eaters and the wedges hit the spot nicely, plenty of sour cream and bacon finished them off nicely.

Everyone arrived as we finished off our entree, we ordered our parmas and awaited their arrival! before too long our chicken made its way from the kitchen.

Uh oh…

Now from the photo you might think that Tin Roof has opted for the unorthodox Schnitzel-Ham-Cheese-Napoli (or SHCN) topping order, however on closer inspection you’ll see that the napoli is visible purely because there isn’t anything else! No ham, and those few little light coloured dots sprinkled throughout the napoli is the cheese. Barely Melted. Barely there. So basically it was a S&N topping system, with a cameo by cheese as brief and disappointing as M. Night Shyamalan’s appearences in all of his movies.

You’d think, being down to just two elements, that the two elements would at least be quality - unfortunately not. The schnitzel, while big (I’ll give it that, it took up a lot of the plate) was terribly thin and tasteless, The napoli tasted as if it came straight from a can, there was far too much of it and it overpowered all of the other flavours in the dish.

Back to basics with the Cross-Section over ParmaCam this week! Sorry guys, forgot to pick up the tripod as I ran out of the house afraid of missing the tram.

There were a handful of slightly-thicker-than-french-fries chips hiding underneath the parma, they were okay, I thought I tasted chicken salt on one of them, but couldn’t on the rest - So I’m unsure if it was actually there or I am slowly slipping into chicken-induced dementia (quite a possibility)

The salad, while there, was definitely an afterthought. No love whatsoever in the stack of lettuce with a sliver of onion, cucumber and tomato with a splash of balsamic. Like the chips it was there, but nothing great.

I’ve said before that I judge value on “how far I would travel to try this parma again”, sadly the Tin Roof is no more than a 3 minute tram ride from my house, and I still wouldn’t recommend it.

All in all it was a disappointing experience - from the terrible service (after the hassle to get my 2nd beer the table was never asked if we were okay for drinks the rest of the time we were there) to the sub-par parma, Tin Roof is a little rusty, to say the least.

Parma - 3.40
Chips - 3.80
Salad - 3.40
Value - 4.00
Total - 3.60

The search continues…

Tin Roof Cafe on Urbanspoon

Attempt #112 - 'The Imperial Hotel'

[info]

When? – 30/8/2012

Where? – The Imperial Hotel, 2-8 Bourke St. (Corner Bourke & Spring St) Melbourne.

Price? - $24.90

Website? - http://www.bourkestreetimperial.com/

Reviewers – Emma, Fridge, Johno, Lee, Mel, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony[/info]

EDIT 6/12/13 - The scores given in this review are no longer current, We re-scored the Impy at the 2013 Parma of the Year awards, check out the new scores by clicking here

Early this week I was faced with a conundrum. After a run of so/so parmas I was desperate to find one that was good. A parma that would serve as a morale booster to the review team, who I could sense was growing disillusioned by week after week of mediocrity. I couldn’t risk picking a pub at random this week so instead I asked the question on the Parma Daze Facebook page … Where can we go for a good parma?

Within a few hours I was overwhelmed with suggestions. I couldn’t decide which of them to try so I simply chose one of the responses at random… This one…

Sounded good to me! I Googled both pubs and something about the Imperial just grabbed me - particularly, the picture of the parma they have on their website…

Seperate bowls for chips and salad? A hunk of chicken that looked quality? I was sold.

I set the event and on Thursday night the Parma Bus arrived at The Imperial Hotel.

Walking into the Imperial I wondered how I hadn’t found this pub before. Cosy ambiance, 13 beers on tap, a DVD of a fireplace running on a loop and an abundance of TV’s showing various sports games; I found out later that this pub is the home of the Melbourne Liverpool Supporters Association - The Impy seems to be the place to be for you soccer fans!

They tout themselves as the “Third Oldest Pub in Melbourne” but it has been brought into the modern day beautifully while still retaining it’s old world charm, and there’s something about the view of Parliament directly across the road that fills me with a sense of pride. (ugh. Okay, I’m wanking on, I’ll get to the Parma)

Before arriving I made a booking via the online Dimmi booking system, unfortunately there was some sort of error in translation and the Imperial did not have a booking for the nine of us - Luckily the staff could not have been more accommodating, and they put together a table for us while we relaxed with a pot at the bar. It was two shakes before we were set up in the dining room perusing the menu…

Now classically giving a parma the name of your pub is a big red flag, not quite as much of a death sentence as referring to it as “Our famous chicken parma”, but damn close. With a little sweat forming on my brow we placed our orders. The parma’s arrived and I instantly knew I was wrong … this was gonna be a good’un

First of all, the plate was massive, look at the standard sized knife and forks beside it for some sort of comparison.

The schnitzel itself was a huge piece of pure chicken breast, hand crumbed, thick, juicy and piping hot. Those around the table who had schnitzels smaller than the norm were blessed with a double serving of a smaller schnitzel as opposed to the singular big one, and I’ve got a feeling that they came out with more with that deal.

Atop the golden crumbs was plenty of tasty napoli, a slice of ham that wasn’t lost amongst the other flavours of the dish and a perfect covering of golden cheese, crispy in all the right places.

I’m trying hard to come up with a negative about this parma and I honestly can’t think of any. The folks at the Imperial have come up with a truly outstanding piece of bird.

Take a look for yourself - Note: The song on today’s ParmaCam is for all the Dad’s celebrating fathers day this Sunday, have a good one guys! Enjoy the socks.

[youtube id="V-MSqb8hQI8" width="580" height="337"]

The separate bowl for the chips is always a plus, and contained within was a bowl of golden brown, well salted pub chips. Nothing extra-ordinary but for pub chips it’d be hard to ask for anything more, although gun-to-my-head a pot of aioli or tomato sauce on that exceedingly large plate would have made them spectacular.

I thought I was going to be let down with the salad as it appeared very dry in the bowl - luckily after the first forkful I discovered that the ingredients underneath (lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot) were doused in a healthy splash of balsamic dressing, turning this so/so salad into an accompaniment to the meal that more than held its own.

Enough of my chatter - what did everyone else think?

$24.90 is a little steep for a parma, but we always judge our value scores on the idea “Would I be happy to pay this much again, for what I got served?” and the answer for the Imperial is a resounding YES. Sure the price is up there but as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”, and I would be more than happy to return for this piece of bird any day of the week. Also, Over the bar I noticed a sign that read something along the lines of “Monday - Buy one parma, get another for $15”. Sounds good to me! (and if that info is wrong someone let me know - I was a few pints in at the time I read it!)

It’s clear that the folks at the Imperial care about their parma, they put love and effort into their dish and it shows. Next time you’re in the area (or not! go out of your way for this one) be sure to stop in. For public transport folks it’s right at the entrance to Parliament station, so its also easy to stagger home from after the many pints you are sure to have at this absolute gem of a pub.

Parma - 9.06
Chips - 7.22
Salad - 7.72
Value - 8.50
Total - 8.31

The search continues…

The Imperial Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #110 - 'The Merrywell'

[info]

When? – 16/8/2012

Where? – The Merrywell - Crown Casino

Price? - $28

Website? - http://www.themerrywell.com.au/

Reviewers – Bec, Fridge, Johno, Lee, Luke, Matt, Mel, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony S, Tony Q[/info]

The Merrywell is the new kid on the block at Crown, situated in the new “West End” section that is looking damn impressive, I’ve been wanting to go there since I spent multiple hours staring at the sign while waiting in line for Comic-Con at the exhibition center.

We loaded the Parma Bus with one of the biggest groups we’ve had in a while, headed to Crown and took our seats in a prime position looking into the window that overlooks the kitchen, the food I could see being prepared looked amazing, so hopes were high.

We checked our menus and placed our order…

hooo boy, I’m no tightass, but $28 is the most we have ever paid for a parma, and thats not including chips or salad?

I still held out some hope, for that price they had to be doing something impressive.

The pub itself is an absolute triumph, modern and sleek yet with the warmth of an open fire and lounge area, Not to mention the balcony - a gorgeous drinking platform overlooking the river, with an outdoor bar, heaters and TV screens - even the dunny’s had those dyson air-blade things … worth the trip alone right there!

After a bit of a wait (understandable, as we ordered 12 parmas in one hit) our food hit the table.

Now, before we get to the chicken I will preface it by saying that The Merrywell’s menu is extremely American influenced, with items such as “jalapeño poppers” and “mac & cheese bites” its a menu that wouldn’t look out of place between an Applebee’s and an Outback Steakhouse.

here goes…

It was obvious that the menu was mislabeled, this wasn’t a chicken parma, it was a chicken parmesan - Reminiscent of both of our parma tours of the United States, right down to the accompanying pasta.

The schnitzel itself was small, quality chicken (albeit a little dry) with fantastic crumbs that were the highlight of the dish, but still small (and slightly overcooked). There was no ham, the napoli was spread fairly thin and the cheese was reduced to a couple of dollops in the middle and some grated parmesan garnished on top. For a chicken parmesan it was ok, but the menu said Parma, and in Australia a parma is a very different beast to a chicken parmesan

[youtube id="_koqDeeA_tE" width="580" height="337"]

Firstly, in true yankee tradition, there were no chips. In its place was a pile of pasta with napoli sauce, to avoid confusion we will be scoring the pasta as if they were chips.

For pasta, it was … just plain pasta in napoli sauce that tasted dangerously close to being tinned - if you’re gonna take away our chippies you’d better replace them with something damn good! mediocre pasta is just not going to cut it.

Now, aside from the parma, on the menu we noticed a couple of options for share plates of chips, one item in particular caught our eye…

B…B…Bacon Aioli? You mean I can actually dip my chips into liquid bacon?! I must try this amazing dish! When we ordered the parmas we also ordered 3 serves of the share plate of chips to go around the table. $14 also seems pricey for some chips and aioli, but honestly - liquid bacon? I’d give up my first born son.

These were a bonus item that didn’t affect the final score, but along with the parmas arrived The Merrywell Chips -

Again, “Chips” is a bit of a misnomer, these were baked potatoes, halved, and baked. The bacon Aioli was fantastic, but I couldn’t help bit thing I would have enjoyed it more if it was served with a more classic chip - And with potatoes this size in a “share plate” situation, double dipping becomes a real issue.

You dipped the chip.

you took a bite.

and you dipped again.

There was no salad, save for the couple of green leaves atop the parma, so the “You don’t win friends with salad” clause was initiated (for those unfamiliar, see the salad section of This review, where the rule was first put into effect).

For $28 ($42 if you include the Merrywell Chips) this parma is far too expensive for what was on the table, end of story, sure its at Crown - A building literally designed to rip off consumers, but at least on the roulette table they at least pretend you have a chance of winning money (I may be a little bitter as I lost an extra $50 on the way out)

The pub is absolutely gorgeous, one of the best looking spots I’ve had the pleasure of downing a pint. Good music, great atmosphere and a decent selection of beers on tap.

The other food looked amazing and I’ll definitely be back to try the Wagyu sliders or Mac & cheese balls.

The “Parma” was a disappointment, but mainly due to the fact that it wasn’t really a parma - which is exactly why I didn’t score the American tours, its comparing apples and oranges. It was a tasty dish, but the lack of chips or salad for such an inflated price dragged the score down immensely - I won’t be trying it again in a hurry.

Parma - 6.25
Pasta - 4.92
Salad - N/A - “You don’t win friends with salad” rule initiated.
Value - 2.96
Total - 5.08 

The search continues…

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Attempt #109 - 'The Pumphouse Hotel'

[info]

When? – 9/8/2012

Where? – The Pumphouse Hotel. 128 Nicholson St. Fitzroy

Price? - $19.90

Website? - http://www.pumphousehotel.com/

Reviewers – Emmett, Fridge, Grace, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony[/info]

The Pumphouse has been on our ‘to try’ list for quite a while - how it got there I cannot remember (if you are the person who recommended it, I’m sorry! I can’t remember if you emailed, facebooked, reddited or tweeted! but cheers for the heads up). Last week on our way home from Transport, we passed The Pumphouse and it looked damn inviting - with a beer garden out the side the big red brick building just looked inviting, especially when compared to the grey sterility of Transport.

I knew it was on the list, so we made the decision to check it out.

The moment I walked in I liked the pub. Open fire, lots of wood, the whole place was warm and cosy, yet spacious (if thats possible) Plenty of leaning space over one side of the bar, and opening up to a rather large bistro over the other side. We took our seat in prime position by the fireplace and checked the menu

The parma was sighted, the pints were in hand and the gang was in attendance. We placed our order and awaited the arrival.

Judging from the other food that was being paraded by the table as we waited, I had high hopes for this parma - every meal that walked past looked delicious, good parma or not I’ll definitely be back to have a taste of the other items on the menu. 

Despite its lack of coat hooks the bistro had a great feel - classy yet casual, if I had to compare it to another pub I’d have to say it reminded me a lot of The Exchange Hotel in Port Melbourne, both in atmosphere and the quality of the meals.

Before too long our chicken arrived…

The schnitzel was high quality; Succulent pure white chicken breast - very lightly crumbed and pan fried, Reviewer Stefo even reported that his parma was two smaller chicken breasts, fused together with cheese - we took this as a positive, any sign that what we are being served isn’t processed crap is always a great thing.

Despite being pan fried, the schnitz was a little overcooked, a lifting of the ham showed a few black spots underneath, not a hell-worthy trespass, but worth reporting.

The napoli was a delight, great flavour, fresh and plenty of it without being too much - very similar story with the cheese and ham, lots of flavour and melted to perfection (well, the cheese was melted, not the ham. I don’t think you can melt ham. Oh how good would life be if you could melt ham!! Hmph. Thanks A LOT physics)

You might appreciate this weeks ParmaCam a lot more knowing that one of the legs broke off the tripod, and we had to MacGyver a replacement one out of salt & pepper shakers, water bottles and other items we could find on the table

[youtube id="UoXiUxpl18o" width="580" height="337"]

The chips were so/so. Very similar to fish & chip shop chips, but without the chicken salt. While being plenty of them they weren’t quite cooked enough. We were brought a couple of sauce pots as our parma’s hit the table though, so that saved them to some degree.

The garden salad, much like the chips, was a bit nothingness. Standard garden salad of lettuce, cucumber, onion and cherry tomatoes. Once again (much like last week) tossed in oil. While not being as oily as last weeks, Try as I might I simply can’t get into oil as a salad dressing.

The Pumphouse is a great pub, It has a fantastic vibe that I would be proud to call my local. At $19.90 I’d have the parma again (after trying some of the other amazing looking dishes on the menu), hopefully the slightly undercooked chips were just a result of 8 yahoos unexpectedly arriving and ordering 8 parmas simultaneously.

The chicken was solid, if they put a little more effort into their sides it would be in contention as one of the greats, will definitely be back soon for a pint and some quality tucker.

Parma - 7.5
Chips - 5.31
Salad - 6.00
Value - 6.38
Total - 6.54

The search continues…

The Pumphouse Hotel on Urbanspoon

Attempt #108 - 'Transport'

[info]

When? – 2/8/2012

Where? – Transport. Federation Square.

Price? - $23.90

Website? - http://www.transporthotel.com.au/

Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony[/info]

**EDIT** - We revisited Transport in 2016 for a Redo. Has it gotten any better? Find out here!

In theory, Transport is a pub that goes against everything that I like about pubs.

I like wood, I like open fires, I like coat hooks and pub dogs, I like a pub that has a soul and a story to tell. Transport’s soulless slabs of grey concrete finished with glass and stainless steel is the absolute antithesis of everything I like about a pub, and yet I have had many a good drinking sesh within its walls - the fantastic range of horribly overpriced beers definitely help quell any protests I might have.

Since our parma at Young & Jackson, just across the road from fed square, Transport has been on my mind, I had heard good things about their steaks and sliders so hopefully their parma would be just as impressive!

Earlier in the day I called and attempted to make a booking but was informed that they didn’t reserve tables downstairs (the restaurant known as ‘Taxi’ upstairs did take bookings but their menu has a much more asian influence, and no parma). Although it was ‘$2 Taco night’ we decided to test our luck, which wound up putting us outside, just far enough away from a patio heater to see the flames, yet experience no warmth.

We checked the menu, and there she was…

We went to the bar, placed our order and were given one of those ‘boomerang’ beepers that light up and beep when it was time to collect our meals. I think it’s the kid in me, but I really enjoy these things, when they finally go off it feels like you’ve won Tattslotto.

The boomerang beeped, I went to collect, and quickly snapped a picture on the cutlery table as it was pretty dark where we sat outside (as you’ll see by the ParmaCam)

Now before I get to the parma, I need to discuss the plate. The teardrop shape of the plate adds greatly to the aesthetic of the parma, at first glance this baby looked amazing! however Transport needs to do away with these plates, which I believe are the plates one is forced to dine on when suffering the eternal torment of hell.

The problem with the design is, due to its curved nature, there is only one point on the plate that you can apply pressure to without the whole thing toppling over, that spot is about the size of a ten cent piece, in the middle of the largest part of the ‘drop’ (from the picture, about where the chips meet the parma. Many chips were lost to the table last night, and it was unanimous across the board that transport needs to do away with these unholy plates.

Now, the chicken.

The chicken breast was thick and unprocessed - Much better than what I was expecting, but thats pretty much where the positives end. The ‘hand crumbing’ tasted more like the parma was dusted with flour before being cooked. The napoli sauce was pasty and tasted burnt. The cheese was far too overpowering and overtook the flavour of the whole dish (apart from the taste of burnt napoli), and although there was a slice of ham on the dish, it’s barely worth mentioning.

[youtube id="riG427Xo7kc" width="580" height="337"]

We picked up a bottle of sauce from the condiment station when we collected our parmas, and I’m glad we did. When I first tasted the crinkle cut chips I had a little hope - they seemed freshly cooked, crisp and tasty, however that didn’t last long as the crispiness gave away to oily tastelessness. You know the feeling when you bite into a chip and you get that delicious crunch, then a second later you feel like your mouth is coated in oil? Thats what these were. The sauce definitely saved them but on their own the chips were a major disappointment. And I love crinkle cut chips!

Now I’ve been pretty negative on this review so far… and its about to get a lot worse.

The salad was absolutely terrible. Lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato and some carrot. hard to go wrong? The whole thing tasted like it had been sitting in a vat of oil for an hour. Not a splash of oil and some balsamic, just pure oil. So much so the cucumber slices had turned into a kind of jelly and dissolved to the touch. There was more oil on this salad than on the entire cast of Jersey Shore. Awful.

For $23.90 this is a very bad parma at a very high price point. I honestly wouldn’t cross the street to try it again.

If I had one positive I would say that I walked away full, Which is probably for the best as “$2 Taco night” is a phrase that should be accompanied with a chorus of angels.

All in all Transport is a pub thats good for a beer and not much else, I can’t speak for the other food but avoid the parma - You’d be better off putting your money on a MyKi, catching public transport away from Transport, and find a pub that serves a much better parma.

Parma - 4.57
Chips - 4.50
Salad - 1.64
Value - 2.57
Total - 3.57

The search continues…

Transport Public Bar on Urbanspoon