When? - 4th of JUNE, 2015
Where? - 3/60 Fitzroy Street. St. Kilda
Price? - $23.90
Website? - http://www.thefifthprovince.com.au/
Reviewers – Fridge, Lee, Nikki, Stefo
**EDIT** 21/7/2017 - We went back! Check out our updated review of the new and improved Fifth Province Parma
When I think of drinking in St. Kilda I think of the beach, I think of beer gardens and overpriced Coronas in the sun on a hot summer day. What doesn't spring to mind when I think of drinking in St. Kilda is the classic Irish pub, so imagine my surprise when we discovered The Fifth Province - a down to earth Irish pub smack dab in the middle of Fitzroy street.
"That looks like an interesting spot" I said to myself one day, while walking down Fitzroy street, "I wonder if they do a parma". I scurried home, looked them up on the internet and found the menu -
"That sounds delish!" I said to myself, "and what is this Irish bacon they speak of? I've never heard of that... I wonder if they have a photo on their Instagra... Holy crap..."
Hot damn that bacon looks good, doesn't it? Finding that photo cemented the choice in stone - We had to check out The Fifth Province.
It was one of the most miserable nights of the year weather-wise, but we powered through to St. Kilda and headed to the pub, It may have been horrible outside but the inside was warm, cosy and already quite full of patrons enjoying an after work beverage. The live music was setting up for the evening and the smell of curry chips wafted through the air - A great atmosphere all round. We pulled up a pew and placed our orders. Quite a good range of beers, all of the staples and for those who lean to the crafty side of things there was a decent selection both on tap and bottled. You'll find something to enjoy, I guarantee.
About ten minutes after ordering our meals arrived from the kitchen...
The schnitzel wasn't huge, but big enough, and thick enough. Pure white chicken breast was slightly overcooked, but not criminally so. The crumbs were probably the weakest part of the foundation, a little thick and didn't really add anything to the dish. They weren't bad, but nothing to write home about.
You don't come across toppings like this very often! I'll start by saying there was a lot of cheese, I'm one of those people who normally says "you can't have too much cheese" but good lord this put me to the test.
The napoli was a little lost under cheese mountain, but it was fresh and chunky - the major issue I (and the other reviewers) had with it was its sweetness. It packs a very sweet, sugary punch that may not be everyone's cup of tea. One of those things that comes down to personal preference.
Now, the Irish bacon.
I've gotta say, with the sweet napoli, metric tonne of cheese and huge chunks of bacon cubes this has to be one of the most unique parmas we've had of 2015, and when something is unique it is always divisive, and that's very much how the Irish bacon was perceived. It didn't taste quite as I expected, as Reviewer Nikki put it in her quote below - it had (and I know this is gonna sound weird) a "corned beef" kind've mouthfeel, and I didn't get the hit of "OMG BACON" I was expecting - It was a more subtle flavour. I liked it, others didn't... Much like the napoli I think this one definitely comes down to personal preference.
The chips were served in a basket on the side, which I loved, If you read the chicken scratch I posted a few weeks back you will know that The Fifth Province is now the 9th parma out of 226 reviews to serve their chips in a separate container. Thats what I call progress! The chips in the basket were not only perfectly fried, but the serving size was deceptively huge - everyone at the table had trouble getting through them all. They were, however, in desperate need of some seasoning, and some sort of dipping sauce would have really carried them to the finish line.
The salad was a bit of an afterthought, a few lettuce leaves and some red onion. They're lucky they covered it in a hefty amount of a tasty balsamic or it would have been a major fail. Not great, not terrible.
Value is a tough one this week. I liked the parma at The Fifth Province, but I didn't love it, and $23.90 is pretty pricey. At the same time I'll definitely be back as I liked the pub, and I'm keen to try the other meals they have on offer (I spied a burger that looked pretty tasty, and the smell of those curry chips still haunts me). For $23.90 you're taking a gamble on this parma, The same meal is available on the lunch menu for a much more reasonable $17.90 - at this price I have no qualms in giving it a recommendation. Go and check it out at lunchtime just to be sure you like it before revisiting again for dinner.
Like I said before the parma at The Fifth Province is something different, but who doesn't like mixing things up once in awhile? The next time I venture out St. Kilda way this pub will definitely be one of the first places that pops in my head. It's a friendly spot (did I mention the staff? Amazingly friendly and helpful folks all around) with a top notch atmosphere, great beer and decent food - What more can you ask for?
- Heaps of cheese (if you like that sort of thing)
- Massive cubes of Irish bacon (if you like that sort of thing)
- Chips served in separate basket (I know you like that sort of thing)
- Napoli was quite sweet (but maybe you like that sort of thing?)
- Quite pricey for the dinner parma (But the lunch parma is much more reasonable)