Where? - 345 Clarendon St, South Melbourne
Price? - $20
Website? - http://honeybar.com.au/
Reviewers – Em, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tony [/info]
Clarendon street is an area we have kind've neglected when it comes to parma reviews in Melbourne - The list of places I want to try along the busy South Melbourne street is as long as my arm (The Limerick, The Golden Gate and The Clarendon to name a few) and expanding to a few of the quieter back streets makes it even longer.
I had heard many good things about Honey, It has been suggested to us many times and I've even spied a few instagram photos that looked downright scrumptious - I was in the mood for a good parma this week so we loaded up the parma bus and headed to Clarendon Street.
The pub's aesthetic is instantly impressive. Polished concrete floors, clean lines and funky decor. I wouldn't call it a "cosy" pub, as the entire interior is basically exposed grey concrete, but I liked it none the less. Pubs with this look can tend to come off as rather soulless, but Honey manages to pull it off quite well.
There are a couple of food specials available at Honey but none on the Thursday night that we attended - Instead it was "2 for 1 cocktail night" at the bar, with a menu of 8 cocktails, normally running between $16 and $19 a piece - I'm surprised the pub wasn't busier as this is an outstanding value deal. We partook in quite a few of the cocktail selection and they were all made with the utmost care and skill. The "John Dorian" appletini (named after JD from Scrubs) was particularly delicious.
But cocktails weren't what we were there for! It was time to get some chicken into us. We checked the menu, spied the bird, and placed our orders.
I have absolutely failed this year when it comes to timing how long it took for the parmas to arrive. I had a master plan when 2014 kicked off to stopwatch each pub from the moment we ordered to the time the parma hit the table - but I've only managed to set the timer once this year. It was about 25 minutes after ordering that our seven parmas arrived...
First up, the schnitzel was thick. perfectly crumbed, plump & pure chicken breast. Mine was a little overcooked, bordering on burnt on the top edge, but that seemed to be an isolated incident as the other six on the table didn't share that problem (unlucky me).
Being very well done it was a little dry around the edges, but only slightly - it was still a very high quality chicken breast, and (despite some very minor gripes) a fine foundation for the rest of the toppings.
The cheese, like the parma itself was very well done - But I wouldn't call this a negative as I like my cheese crispy, golden brown and bubbling. It may look a little overcooked but I'd call this perfection.
The slice of ham carried a great flavour and there was plenty of well spiced napoli - If you pushed me to find a criticism I would say that the napoli was a little thick and "tomato-pastey" but overall this was a fantastic, juicy, flavourful and quality example of a chicken parma.
There is a photo on Honey's Urbanspoon page showing this parma with a pot of what looks like garlic aioli on the side. Ours didn't come with this, which was a damn shame as if it had I'd say these chips would have been perfect. Beer battered, well seasoned, perfectly cooked. The chips on the Honey parma are a prime example of what chips should be. I ached for some aioli, but they stand up perfectly well on their own - a fine accompaniment to the meal.
The salad with Honey's parma is where things fall over. A basic garden salad of lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato and a squirt of dressing on top. The dressing was okay, but the problems arose on the second bite, as all the dressing was now gone we were left with a plate of un-dressed leaves. The first two elements of this dish were absolutely fantastic - But there's no way to sugar coat it - compared to the rest of the dish the salad was a massive let down.
Coming in at $20 even I'd be more than happy to have this parma again. I'd go out of my way to have this parma again. There is a $12 Tuesday parma night that would definitely be worth checking out if they offered up a bird of the same quality as the one we had last night - Which I have to assume they do, if the amazing 2-for-1 cocktails are any indication.
As the great Bart Simpson once said, "You don't win friends with salad" - If you can overlook the mediocre greens on the plate then this is definitely a parma you should track down. I'll be back for this parma and I have no qualms in recommending it to others.
If Honey's parma is a sign of what Clarendon St. has to offer then we are in for some great meals in the future.
- Thick, plump schnitzel
- Great quality chips
- Slightly overcooked
- Lacklustre salad