The Corkman is ideally located in Carlton corner that shares area code with the Uni Melbourne Law / Economics and Post-grad buildings. So why does it take on the quality persona of cheap students instead of the professionals that work in the area? I have seen this place stagnate and now, clearly, take 2 steps back over the past decade.
In my most recent visit, which is likely to be my last as well, the atmosphere was drab, dull and void. Drinks were alright, I didn’t mind the $8 pints of Guiness on tap, or other the other beers they had. I quite like the light that shines in through the ample glass windows. But there’s something downright terrible about this place that seems to suck the life out of fun. It will be a waste of time pondering further, so on to the dreadful experience with the food.
I’ll start with the Beef and Guiness Pie, just because it’s more Irish-sounding than parmagiana. The presentation was nice – a crisp, flakey pastry top, a somewhat lazy use of potato mash for the walls (kinda goes against the description of a pie), nice looking beef cubes with mushroom and carrots in a thick Guiness-based sauce. I had no issues with the pastry top, or with the use of potato mash. But when the mash is neither finely mashed nor clearly chunky, I put that down to lazy preparation. Next, the amount of mash provided should be proportional to the meat filling and sauce. In the picture above, you can see that I was served a tower stump of mash, and the center filling didn’t extend for more than 1.5cm deep. I wouldn’t have minded so much if, again, the mash was good and tasty, well it wasn’t. A touch of garlic or chives would have been nice. But the biggest mistake of all, very much under-salted! That’s a lot of flaws for $18.
There was also the pub-staple chicken parma ordered to my table. Whilst I didn’t have an opportunity to taste it, and despite the somewhat reasonable presentation, my mate who had it said it was terribly bland, with the tomato sauce tasting like right out of a Dolmio’s bottle.