When? - 29th of September, 2011
Where? - Miss Libertine. 34 Franklin St. Melbourne
Price? – $16
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.misslibertine.com.au/
Reviewers – Adam, Cale, Lee, Matt, Tony
** Note ** This location has now closed
I was recommended Miss Libertine by a reader who, via email, told me that their parma was “pretty amazing stuff”. Seeing as the place we were planning to do our parma for the week fell through, Miss Libertine (formerly ‘Mac’s Hotel’) seemed like an obvious choice.
It’s one of those pubs that I’ve seen hundreds of times, but never actually thought to go inside and check it out. It’s an old school looking pub in the middle of Melbourne, and a little research will show that it hasn’t changed all that much (on the exterior, at least) since its construction in 1853 … wow.
Melbourne’s automobile market was suprisingly advanced for the 1800’s
It was a shockingly rainy September night when we arrived and I was happy to escape the street to the heated, enclosed patio, then to the even warmer belly of the beast - The beer selection was pretty standard, the usual Lion Nathan owned beers on tap (Boags, Kirin, James Squire, Tooheys, Becks etc. - Enough to keep me satisfied for the evening) as well as the full range of Rekorderlig ciders in the fridge (it amazes me how quickly this drink has popped up everywhere) as well as a keg of warm Rekorderlig cider on tap - I tried this for the first time last night and I must say it was … different. Not totally objectionable, but like all Rekorderlig ciders so diabetes-inducingly sweet that Wilford Brimley would probably have a heart attack if he tasted it … I switched back to beer.
The pub is hard to describe, A massive front bar with seating in the front, DJ spinning decks in the corner in a booth decorated with Tetris blocks (I had a minor nerdgasm regarding that) and plenty of room for people standing or sitting.
Out the back was a much bigger room with a band playing but due to the cover charge to get out the back I can’t quite describe it, However I did glimpse a pretty impressive bar out there on the way to the dunny.
We ordered our parmas at the bar, picked up the cutlery, tomato sauce and salt on the way back to the table and sat awaiting the glorious arrival.
Just as the discussions of ‘jeez I’m fucking starving’ accompanied by worried glances to the kitchen began (this usually occurs at about the 35 minute wait mark) as if on cue our meals arrived. with little delay we picked up our weapons and dove in.
On first bite I sensed a familiar taste in my mouth that wasn’t that of a parma. It didn’t take long to dawn on me that this parma used the same ‘crushed corn chip’ crumbs that we found on our attempt at Lounge a few months back. I was scared. The taco parma did not fare well with us last time. With great trepidation I continued to eat, my suspiscions were confirmed when I found this partially intact corn chip lodged in the side of my chicken
Now that’s flavour you can see!
Surprisingly, it was pretty good. The corn chips crumbs weren’t nearly as overpowering as the last time we encountered them and the rest of the parma could actually be tasted. The chicken was great quality, size-wize it was decent and there was plenty of topping to go round, the cheese was particularly tasty. Towards the end of the parm the corn chip flavour did start to dominate, but it was only the last couple of bites that were effected, a solid effort from Miss Libertine.
Those night classes in food photography are really paying off!
I’ve said it a lot recently but the chips were standard. A good serving of old fashioned pub chips, unseasoned but we had already grabbed sauce and salt to remedy this issue. They were crispy (as I rescued them from their soggy hole under the parma as soon as it arrived) and served their life purpose as chips quite adequately.
The salad was a bit of a let down, I’m not sure if that was because it looked rather pleasing to the eye, but when it came down to it the whole thing was quite bland - there was a lot of lettuce, a couple of cherry tomatoes, a duo of cucumber slices and some slivers of onion that I really had to search to find. The dressing was undetectable, it could have been oil … or water, really wasn’t too sure.
All said and done Miss Libertine serves up a pretty good parma, I usually struggle to find a parma this close to the city that I would recommend, but this one definitely makes the cut - at $16 its very fairly priced and for those freaks out there who don’t eat a parma at every opportunity, Thursday is $5 pizza night - a bargain in anyones language.