Dinner Review: The Schnitzel Den
Mink Bar in St Kilda has undergone a few rebirths over the years. Tucked away in a bunker underneath the Prince of Wales complex, the cosy maze of passages and velvet lined booths has been a fixture for drinkers in the area since 1997. It’s the kind of place you could go for a drink before a show at the Band Room, or draw the curtains off on one of its booths and dim the lights for a prolonged night of vice. Before it opened as a bar in its own right, it’s rumoured to have been a place where the artists that played the Prince Bandroom could relax and indulge, a kind of ultimate green room, and it’s traded on that aesthetic ever since – it’s all about the ambiance of classy, sophisticated degeneration that St Kilda was famous for.
In the past couple of months the place, which hasn’t changed up in the past decade or so, has undergone a subtle revamp to keep up with changing mores and fashions. The booths are still there, the multitude of red velvet, the prevailing Soviet Kitch, but the cocktail list has been revamped and the myriad vodkas the bar was once famous for shelved in favour of a collection of boutique rums. They’ve also moved into food for the first time, with the advent of Schnitzel Den, serving the after work/pre gig dinner crowd.
It’s basically the standard parma night, which readers will be used to from a variety of pubs around town, but housed somewhat incongruously in the ironic glamour of Mink. The food is prepared on premises, using classic pub-fare with a few flourishes borrowed from the chefs at Circa within the Prince of Wales complex. We ordered the classic parma which did what it said on the tin – schnitzel, Napoli, ham, twice cooked chips for that extra bit of crunch- and the far more impressive Mexican. This came smothered in a semi-sweet reduction of tomato and olive cooked by the chefs at Circa and annexed for use by the Mink kitchen, which kicked the humble parma up into a new realm of deliciousness. For the $14 price tag, you’d be hard pressed to find a better parma on the Friday-Saturday belt.
Schnitzel Den is open at Mink Bar (under the Prince of Wales complex) , 2 Acland St, St Kilda, every Friday and Saturday from 6pm. Make a booking at 9536 1168.