Where - 196 Mickleham Rd. Gladstone Park
Price - $25
Website - https://gladstoneparkhotel.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
Working a day job in Tullamarine has its challenges, paramount of which being a complete and utter lack of dining options that aren’t an industrial cafe complete with bain-marie filled with dim sims, spring rolls or a hot dog in batter (if you get in early).
So when I heard that combination sports bar/restaurant/pokie room/bottle shop and accommodation The Gladsone Park Hotel (which we first reviewed back in June of 2011) had recently received a revamp and an upgrade, it seemed like a fantastic idea to take a long lunch and check out what the new look Gladdy Pub has to offer.
Well I’ll be damned … They’ve actually done a good job. Apart from the Cadbury chocolate prize machine wedged into the corner the Gladdy’s bistro is virtually unrecognisable. The bar actually looks like a bar now, complete with the (getting tired at this point) copper tanks of Carlton Draught stacked on the walls.
As we visited at lunchtime on a Tuesday we pretty much had the place to ourselves, but none the less I was surprised when the friendly staff asked us what we would like - It seems that the Gladdy has ditched the “order at the counter” system for table service, a move that is greatly appreciated even though they seem to have ditched the “if we don’t ask you if you want garlic bread you get free garlic bread” promotion that was very entertaining last time round.
We grabbed a table and checked the menu…
I’ll happily overlook the spelling error of “parmigiana” if they deliver the goods, so the order for our parmagianas went in.
Surprisingly a full page of the menu at the Gladstone Park Hotel is dedicated to the tap list, unsurprisingly it seems to be entirely CUB contracted. Not that it is an entirely bad thing - 4 Pines, Goose Island, Fat Yak & Frothy (among others) are perfectly fine drops, but if you’re after anything fancier on tap you may find this tap list a little wanting.
As is tradition when we revisit a pub for review, lets first look at the 2011 Gladdy Park parma before jumping through time 8 years to the 2019 version…
We’ll its hard to say Gladstone Park hasn’t put any effort into their revamp as the parma (much like the bistro itself) was pretty much unrecognisable. We’ll get to the sides in a moment, lets start on the schnitzel.
On the plate this parma looked like a chunky boi, however on cut it revealed that most of the chunk came from the ludicrous heaping of cheese stacked on top and the schnitzel beneath was relatively thin. A minor complaint, as it was real, pure white chicken breast. Cooked well and served steaming hot.
It wasn’t without its issues though, the crumbing was quite soggy when the parma arrived and had trouble gripping the chicken breast, the bottom edge flaking away through the majority of the meal. As far as schnitzels go it was fine. Glad to see real chicken, however for the price ($25) something a little bit bigger would have been appreciated.
As I said this parma was loaded with cheese, to the point where the ham and napoli were pretty much rendered a moot point under cheese mountain. I wasn’t too impressed with the ham, seemed to me like a circular slice from a packet, didn’t carry a whole lot of flavour with it.
Remnants of the napoli sauce remained and what was there was rich and tasty (although I also suspect came from a tin). However the majority of it was absorbed into the crumbs leaving them a bit soggy.
As far as parmas go this one was pretty good. Nothing to write home about, but an adequate feed for a Tuesday work lunch.
Like the parma, the chips were served blistering hot. The individual serving basked kept them fresh, crisp and extremely enjoyable. If this parma were served with a sauce pot of some kind I’d honestly have trouble faulting them. Very well done.
Whoever designed the Gladdy’s new parma put a lot of focus on presentation. This parma just looks well put together on the plate and the side salad was no exception, right down to the meticulously carved radish slivers adorning the top of our bowls. The salad was fresh, crisp and tasty. Much like the parma it did its job with minimal fuss and I don’ really have anything to complain about, yet it didn’t blow me away either.
Not gonna beat around the bush, $25 for this parma is a bit steep for me. You can put the chips and salad in fancy bowls until the cows come home but to be honest this isn’t $25 worth of parma. in 2011 we were charged $21.50, and I think that would have been a fair price for what we received. The Gladdy does love a special though, and you can get this parma with a pot for just $15 on Tuesdays.
The Gladdy’s parma was fine. Any parma that follows a shake up to our top 10 is gonna struggle to wow us unless it is really special, but to be perfectly honest that’s what this is - Fine. Definitely better than it was in 2011 and I am super impressed with the renovations and the improvements to the presentation of the dish. If you’re in the area I’d say check it out on Tuesdays with a free pot for $15, that is a bargain-and-a-half, but you wouldn’t be missing anything skipping this one at full price.