Another year has passed in the search for the perfect parma, which means the time has come to hand out some golden chooks! We did things a little differently this year, rather than have just the one trophy we split the dazey up into two categories. Best New Parma and Parma of the Year.
Lets get started!
Best new parma
The "Best new parma" dazey is awarded to the best parma we have found in the last twelve months of parma reviews. We have consumed over 40 parmas since Taco Bill in January (not including special events) and this parma stands out amongst the rest as the best we tried in 2013.
The envelope, please.
This years Best new Parma award goes to...
When we discovered The Duke back in May this year it was just a baby, having only been open for just over a month, but it managed to leave a lasting impression. Not only is The Duke an amazingly well fit out pub with a fantastic atmosphere, the food is absolutely phenomenal.
The parma is amazing. Fresh, real chicken, gorgeous crispy crumbs, the list goes on ... If you want to hear me gush about this parma some more check out the original review here.
But it gets better! I've been back to The Duke a few times since May for a meal (it has quickly become one of my favourite spots in the city to grab a beer and a good feed) and they have done a bit of tinkering with their parma. Check out this picture of the parma I snapped on a recent visit -
The garden salad is gone! replaced with a very hearty serve of coleslaw. The Salad at the Duke when we first reviewed it was it's biggest downfall, it wasn't bad at all, but it wasn't exciting - there's only so much you can do with a garden salad. The coleslaw, however, is definitely a change for the better.
Oh, and if you happen to go temporarily insane at The Duke and decide you don't want a parma (madness), the other items on the menu are damn good too. I can recommend the mexican chicken burger in particular. If you can handle a bit of spice this is bloody good.
So congratulations to The Duke. An amazing pub with terrific atmosphere and a parma that you'd be hard pressed to walk away from disappointed. Well done guys!
Parma of the Year
This is the big one! The award we give out to the best parma we have had on our journey thus far. There's really no point in building up the suspense too much as if you click over to the "Ladder" the winner has been listed there for over a year. You know who they are, but what the hell
The Imperial Hotel
What can I say about the Impy that hasn't already been said here, here or here! ... A bit, actually! Even though they took out our Parma of the Year in 2012 the Imperial has not rested on its laurels, striving to improve what was already the best parma we have had so far.
We have a rule at Parma Daze that if a pub, once reviewed, works hard to improve what they have served us then they are eligible for a redo. After the effort that The Imperial has put in to improve their parma since we first tried it in August 2012 we figure its only fair that they are also eligible for a redo. So not only did we present The Impy with their parma of the year trophy, this post will also serve as the Redux for the Imperial Hotel (don't ask me why we call a redo a "redux" I got it from the Apocalypse Now directors cut and now it has become a thing).
So what has changed? We ordered our parmas and awaited their arrival. Shoutout to the table of 20+ blokes there last night celebrating the last parma of their work's "Parma Club" for the year - You chose a great pub to finish things off!
Our parmas arrived.
The parma itself remains pretty much the same. Mammoth hand crumbed schnitzel, lashings of ham, perfectly golden brown cheese, I've said this all before so if you want more detailed info on the parma check it out here and here.
Now, here is where we get into the big changes, first up - the chips.
The Impy's chips were never bad, but much like the old salad at the Duke there's only so much you can with regular steak fries... But they've had an upgrade.
Beer battered chips! The king of chips, these beauties have a golden crunch and are perfectly seasoned. We were brought out some sauce pots to accompany the chips but to be honest they didn't need them, these chips were just fine without dipping.
Next up, The salad. Also had a revamp since the first time, although I think we covered this in the Parma of the Year 2012 review...
How could you make a garden salad infinitely tastier, while at the same time removing any redeeming nutritional value? By covering it with cheese of course!
The Imperial salad is layered with a heap of freshly shaved parmesan cheese, which definitely takes it to another level.
The Impy's parma isn't perfect (the salad could use a bit more dressing and the parma itself has, on occasion, been a little light on the napoli) but its damn close.
Oh, Also worth mentioning, that (as it is December) the Imperial's "Christmas Parma" is on the menu for this month only, so if you head down in December you're going to have a decision to make. They're both fantastic, but in different ways.
I've said it before, but we judge a parmas "value" score on the question "Would I be happy to come back to this pub and pay what I paid for this parma again". I'd be happy to pay what this parma costs, along with airfare to get to Melbourne from wherever I was in the world. Yes its pricey compared to other parmas, but you pay for quality and I'd have absolutely zero qualms shelling out another $25 for The Imperial's parma.
They had the best, yet managed to improve on it. The well deserved updated scores for The Imperial Hotel are as follows -
Parma - 9.25
Chips - 9.25
Salad - 8.17
Value - 9.25
Total - 9.03
After dinner we headed around to the front bar and presented the Imperial Hotel with their award...
Back to back champions! Well deserved guys. Congratulations.
And that wraps it up for another year of Parma Daze parma reviews! We are taking a couple of weeks off and will be back in early January to kick things off again. There are still a lot more parmas out there (seriously. my "parmas to try" list is currently over 100 parmas long and growing daily) and we wont stop until we get to them all.
Massive thanks to the review team, I put the words on the screen but I couldn't do it without the support of you guys. Not to mention a super-awesome-mega thanks to the readers! The fact that there are people out mad enough to follow my ramblings gets me up in the morning, so again, Thanks.
And that about wraps it up for '13! Be sure to stay tuned, we've got a lot of awesome stuff on the boiler for next year, and their might even be a little non-review update on the site some time around the end of December, make sure you follow one of our social media things for a heads up.
It's been a great year and, as always, The search continues...