My friend J was once part of a radio station competition where the audience had to call in to guess her nationality based on what she said and how she spoke. J spent 5 minutes discussing how confused she was by the popularity of chicken parma. She couldn’t understand why you’d take a perfectly good piece of chicken breast, bash it with a mallet, crumb it, fry it, coat it with canned tomatoes/tomato paste and then grill it some more with cheese on top? (In case you’re wondering, J is Vietnamese).
I have to say I’m inclined to agree with her and even the sight of chicken parma makes me nauseous. So I can’t really comment about the quality of the chicken parma at the Carringbush Hotel ($17), as the non-food obsessed RM generally rates food according to ‘bad’, ‘ok’, ‘good’, ‘pretty good’ and ‘very good’. The Carringbush received a ‘pretty good’ so I guess that makes it 4 out of 5 stars.
Similarly, my beer battered fish ($17) with chips and a big heap of salad was about a 3 out of 5 – not amazing, not terrible. I guess that’s what the bar food at the Carringbush is all about – good standard pub fare done well enough to enjoy over a beer in the tucked-away courtyard or in the cool dim front bar. If I lived in the area I think it would make a really nice, relaxing local, but it’s not so amazing that I’d be hurrying back especially.
You may be interested to know that the Carringbush Hotel has a higher-end gastro-pub menu in its award winning dining room, and in 2008 it was crowned as 3AW as the Pub of the Year due to its ‘lovely old world horse-shoe shaped bar with the best draught beer in Melbourne.’
If you’re looking for another old-school boozer with great food, check out The Court House Hotel, North Melbourne.