When? - 1st of September, 2011
Where? - Palookaville. 416 Brunswick St. Fitzroy
Price? – $14 (all mains on the menu $14)
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.palookaville.com.au/
Reviewers – Adam, Lee, Nikki, Pat, Stefo[/info]
**EDIT** It is my sad duty to report that Palookaville has closed its doors and the parma-ish is no longer available. So long, Palookaville!
My reasons for selecting Palookaville for this weeks attempt were completely selfish, A pub called ‘Mana Bar’ has recently opened up in Brunswick street and I wanted to check it out, they don’t have a parma on the menu so the next best thing was to find a parma close to Mana Bar and wander down afterwards for post-parma drinks. Horribly self centered, I know, but they have freakin’ video games at Mana Bar … that is too awesome for words!
As soon as I heard the name of this pub my interest was piqued, To me Palookaville was the name of the fantastic Fatboy Slim album, or to a lesser extent that movie released in the nineties of the same name - It had never occurred to me to look into what Palookaville actually meant, Luckily the pubs website had me sorted.
“A word originating in the U.S. in the 1920’s meaning a stupid or oafish person, Based on the American comic book character Joe Palooka a Boxer over time evolving into a term of endearment as a simple but lovable character. The word Palookaville is an extension of this slang to refer to a place of simple people or simple principles.”
I was sold, the menu confirmed they had a parma… sort of (ill get to that in a minute) So we headed to Brunswick street for our dinner.
Before I arrived I was expecting Palookaville to be a small boutique bar, with a few bar stools and some tables, and from the outside it looks how I had imagined… how wrong I was! Once inside Palookaville opens up into a massive space, with pool tables, couches, heaps of seating for dining and one of the longest bars I have seen in awhile, Even though its big inside it retains a cozy atmosphere, and the super friendly bar staff were the icing on the cake - this was a good pub.
We looked at their menu, all the mains are $14, which makes things easy - not that we really looked at the other options. Here’s where it gets interesting though, the chicken parma on the menu isn’t called a chicken parma - its advertised as a “Chicken Parma-ish“
That little ‘ish’ is very important to the Palookaville parma, and you’ll see why when they arrived, we placed our orders and claimed a spot around a table on some very comfy couches, after a short wait our parmas arrived.
Different is an understatement! I was a little scared of the ‘ish’ when it arrived, I had never seen a parma served the way it was, I’ll break it down for you.
First of all the chicken schnitzel was pure, juicy chicken breast, obviously hand made and crumbed with spices reminiscent of the KFC 11 secret herbs and spices - watch out Colonel, I think Palookaville may have cracked your secret!
The schnitz was topped with mozzarella and pancetta, then in place of napoli there was a fresh tomato and onion salsa, think the topping you would find on a bruschetta, All topped with some oiled rocket and a massive slice of freshly shaved parmesan.
It was different, but different in the best way, The pancetta was delicious and the salsa was delightful - Palookaville has taken the parma and given it a twist, As someone who eats parmas on a weekly basis its nice to be surprised, and I was definitely surprised by Palookaville’s Parma-ish.
The chips aren’t really visible in the picture so I deconstructed the tower of parma and took another picture so you can take a look.
The chips were hand cut, house made beauties, We commented when we first got to them that it didn’t look like there were that many, however these chips were damn filling, actually calling them chips is a bit of a misnomer, think of them as sliced strips of roast potato, beautifully seasoned, and like the rest of the Palookaville parma, different in a good way.
Now the salad, basically… there wasn’t one, there were some slivers of rocket on the top of the parma and other than the massive slice of parmesan cheese, thats pretty much it. So we made an executive decision and invoked the ‘You don’t win friends with salad’ rule, set forth in our review of the James Squire, in accordance with the rule, the salad gets a flat 5 down the board, So the lack of salad will not downgrade the score - but it will not improve it either.
The Palookaville parma was a breath of fresh air, A welcome twist on the norm, I’m not saying this is how all parmas should be done - the classic parma is just that - a classic. However its nice to change things up once in awhile, (much like our review of The Napier, with Kangaroo in place of ham) and coming in at just $14 the parma-ish gets points for value, I’d be more than happy to revisit Palookaville for another.
And yes, We did go to Mana Bar afterwards and it was just as awesome as I had expected, except that I dropped my beer while playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and everyone laughed at me … embarrassing.
Parma - 8.1
Chips - 8.7
Salad - 5
Value - 9.20
Total - 7.82
The search continues…