11 April, 2007

Mrs Parmas

25 Little Bourke St; 03 9639 2269

I’d seen mention of Mrs Parmas in Dishlicious in the A2 – as a pub in Little Collins St specialising in parmigianas - and was reminded of it at Wicked Sunday (that delectable new feature of the Melb Food and Wine Festival), where they had a stand as part of the Microbrewery gallery.

Why did a parma restaurant have a stand amongst Victoria’s microbreweries? Because in addition to serving up Melbourne’s most gourmet version of the traditional pub treat, it is also an all-Victorian bar, selling a range of locally brewed beers on tap and by the bottle – a very commendable policy indeed.

Firstly to the food. Any couples dining on a small appetite should definitely order one to share – these parmas are HUGE. And not huge in that ‘oh my god, there is so much saturated fat and questionable meat product on my plate I’d best drink more so it becomes more appealing’ kind of way. All their parmas are made fresh, the sauces are homemade, and you know you’re consuming quality produce.

Our topping selections were the Original (ham, cheese, napoli sauce) and Matriciana (olives, chilli (undetectable), cheese, napoli sauce). While beaten thin to schnitzel thickness, the chicken was still substantial, and the ratio of meat to crumb was much better than some more questionable schnitzels I’ve eaten. The sauce had a real tomato kick, not over oiled, and the olives added a great saltiness. There are about 10 toppings to choose from, all available with either chicken ($18.50), veal ($22.50) or eggplant ($16.50). Being quality conscious as they are, Mrs Parma also offers gluten and egg free pastas. There are also a small range of steak and seafood dining options.

And now to the beers. We first sampled Gippsland Gold and Grand Ridge Pilsener, and couldn’t go past them for the second round. Both were delicious. The Gippsland Gold was an almost bright yellow, with a citrus crispness. Very refreshing to drink, but still with a full flavour. The Pilsener was darker, with a malty taste that almost made it caramelly. Both are now on our list to have in the house. The bar also serves beers from CBD breweries such as Three Ravens, plus Holgate in Woodend and others from around the state. There are half a dozen each well-priced red and white wines available, though I was surprised they didn’t go all-Victorian on those as well.

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