date of visit: Wed 2 Feb 2011
I was quite excited to be heading to the Holdy: I haven’t had a schnitzel in what seems like ages and I went through a stage of drinking (responsibly, of course) at the Holdy on a Friday after work (quite an achievement as, at the time, I worked out at Elizabeth). The last schnitzel I ate there I perched at the front bar before a gig. More than 10 years ago.
Since then, the Holdy has had a face lift, got itself a micro-brewery and generally made its way up in the world. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it’s not.
We started the evening out in the beer garden which is a pleasant spot for a drink. Even though it’s smack bang on Brighton Road it’s well enough shut off from the street that you don’t notice it. There’s plenty of shade and no shortage of seating. Obviously, it’s where the smokers are going to congregate but I think it’s spacious enough to make that not an issue.
Having its own brewery was a definite draw card for me, so I was a little disappointed when I headed to the bistro’s bar to find only one of their beers on draught: Dominator. At least the barman did actually know what style the beer was (a wheat beer) and he even knew the beer’s approximate abv. Things were looking good.
The Bistro was a lot busier than I’d have expected for a Wednesday night, with a couple of large parties booked in – so it was a good thing we’d made a reservation. When I’d booked I’d been careful to advise that we were coming in with a pram so it was disappointing that our table was at situated along a wall, right on the end, next to the door through to the front bar – so no space at all for a pram. Fortunately, the waitress in charge of showing us to our table recognised instantly (before we did) that there would be a problem and suggested we sit in one of the booths at the back of the bistro. It’s a shame the person taking the booking hadn’t shown similar initiative and customer focus …
The booths at the back of the bistro are actually an excellent spot to sit even if you don’t have a pram. The area is carpeted with soft furnishings and is considerably quieter than the main area (which, of course, consists of the requisite hard surfaces). If you’re old and grumpy (like my friends and me!) this is perfect!
Mondays and Wednesdays at the Holdy are schnitzel nights – the schnitzels are $14 with parmi an additional $2.50. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that $14 is not a particularly cheap schnitzel on a schnitzel night (not when you consider you can head to the Rob Roy and pay $10) … so was the Holdy going to over deliver?
The schnitzels were standard pub schnitzels. The schnitzel itself was quite generously sized and came with a reasonable (but not massive) portion of chips. While I’d put the chicken parmi firmly in the average-good bracket, the chips weren’t that flash. As you can see from the photo the schnitzel came with a bit of vegetable decoration but if you wanted salad or vegetables that was extra again (an extra $4.90). Since no one in their right mind goes to a pub for a schnitzel and then orders salad as well I can’t report on that …
The remainder of the Holdy’s menu suggests that the kitchen is trying to do something a bit interesting while staying firmly within a ‘pub meal’ remit. Parts of the menu are a little pedestrian (seafood basket, for example), parts are a bit odd (potato and pecan croquette … not a natural pairing) and parts sound quite good (creamy parmesan potatoes, fennel gratin). But that makes me worry the menu is attempting to be all things to all people. Still, I shouldn’t be commenting on what I haven’t tried!
However, as far as the schnitzels go, we all felt they were too expensive for what they were: a standard pub schnitzel at a slightly higher than standard price.
Schnitzels a bit pricey – even on schnitzel night