Where? - 185 Acland St. Saint Kilda
Price? - $26.50
Website? - http://www.larochestkilda.com.au/
Reviewers – Adam Y, Fridge, Lee, Luke, Matt, Nikki, Stefo & Tony
If you hadn't noticed, I'm on social media quite a bit. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and yes I'm one of those annoying weirdos that constantly takes photos of his food for Instagram. So when a uniquely prepared parma like the one at St. Kilda's La Roche starts popping up in my searches regularly it sticks in my mind, like a tick burrowing into my brain that won't stop until we try the parma in question.
I held off doing La Roche for a couple of reasons - Firstly because I had a very good feeling that this was gonna be a good one, so I wanted to save it until we were in a bit of a good parma lull, and secondly getting to St. Kilda from Essendon after work on a Thursday is a monumental pain in the ass, and wanted to postpone that hassle for as long as I could.
But the tick kept burrowing, and before I suffered permanent brain damage I gave in, we loaded up the parma bus (on possibly the most horrible night of 2016 thus far) braved the torrential rain and headed to St. Kilda to try out the many parmas at La Roche.
Not quite a pub and not quite a cafe La Roche is hard to define, but whatever they're doing is working as this place was bustling with patrons. Thursday night is $15 steak night so the tables were filled with hungry punters getting their weekly fix of meat - and I must say that the steaks coming out of the kitchen looked absolutely phenomenal, definitely worth a crack if you're in the area.
If the Google street view from 2013 of La Roche is any indication this place has undergone some renovations recently. Dim lighting, exposed brick walls, dark wooden tables, those old-timey lightbulbs with far more filament than is necessary - Its a great vibe and a cosy little hole in the wall.
La Roche is a pub of many parmas - an entire page of the menu is devoted to the different varieties available...
After weighing up the options for a while I just couldn't look past the Chorizo parma - damn that sounded tasty. Normally a parma purist I just couldn't say no to some spicy sausage (thats what she said), and I figured as long as someone at the table got the Original that I could steal a bite from we'd be okay, which Reviewer Nikki did. A few more Chorizos went out around the table, along with a Hawaiian, a Mexian and a couple of Cappriciosas. We placed the order and very hungrily awaited the arrival of our meals.
The tap list at La Roche isn't huge. 150 Lashes, Boags, Hahn and 5 seeds cider on tap with a few more bottled options. Nothing too outstanding but enough to wet your whistle. Reviewer Nikki did ask me to make special mention that, and I quote, "That was the best espresso martini I have had in my life", as a the slight espresso martini addict that she is that is a huge call.
About 20 minutes after ordering (which is pretty impressive for an order of 8 parmas) our food arrived from the kitchen...
The Hawaiian -
The Chorizo -
The Capricciosa -
The Mexican -
The Original -
Lets get one thing straight - this parma is a monster. Absolutely friggin' huge and I'll admit right now that it defeated me ... much to my own shame I had to leave some of this bird on the plate as I was absolutely stuffed.
The schnitzel was good quality - pounded a little too thin for my liking but thats just a personal preference, and it's not like I walked away hungry. It was cooked well, perhaps slightly too well done, but not overly so. Just the right amount of crumbs with a solid crunch to them, I detected a strong herb flavour that I believe was through the crumbs that was slightly overpowering, but nothing criminally so.
Now ... the toppings. The biggest problem I had with this parma was that, although it was massive, the toppings started an inch or so in from the edge of the parma, meaning there was a rather sizeable ring of plain schnitzel around the outside, not unlike a really big crust on a pizza. The problem being that you eat a pizza from the inside out, not from the crust in. On the parma at La Roche it meant you were four or five proper bites away from getting anything close to toppings, and with a parma as big as this stomach space is a finite resource that I'd rather not waste on nude schnitzel. My advise would be to cut the parma in half and work your way out from the inside (again, like a pizza).
The chorizo was quite tasty and went very well with the chicken. I felt the chorizo parma as a whole could have used one more ingredient to give it a bit more kick, but overall it was very enjoyable. The napoli was present (maybe a little overcooked). The cheese was fine, good coverage and well cooked, but like all the toppings I just wished they had've gone all the way to the edge.
Reports from around the table were mostly positive. Everyone with the novelty toppings seemed to enjoy them - The only one at the table that didn't seem thrilled with their parma was Reviewer Nikki with the original, I snuck a bite and agreed - It was good, but lacking any particular punch. Definitely recommend getting this one with one of the novelty topping options.
The chips were standard pub chips. A little beige after all the effort that was clearly put into the parma itself. Cooked well and served beside the parma but desperately in need of some seasoning or chip dip.
The salad started great, the cucumber was fresh and the lettuce crisp with a rich creamy dressing, however all the good stuff was on top leaving quite a few dry leaves at the bottom. As with the chips it was good - but a couple of steps shy from great.
$26.50 for a parma is pretty pricey, possibly one of the most expensive parmas we've reviewed, but its a $26.50 promise that you'll walk away groaning from being extremely full. $15 Parma night on Wednesday is fantastic value and if you were gonna give La Roche a crack I'd urge you to try and get down then (I'm having trouble confirming if the novelty options are part of the special or if its original only - if anyone knows let me know).
It's also worth noting that La Roche delivers via EatNow, which means if you live in the delivery radius of Balaclava, Elwood, St. Kilda or Windsor I am extremely jealous of you as this would have to be one of the best options for a home delivered parma in Melbourne. Whats the one thing in the world better than a parma? A parma that you don't even need to put on pants to enjoy.
The La Roche parma is definitely worth trying, A damn tasty parma that will definitely have you going up a notch in your belt. It's not without its issues, there could be a little more love put into the sides and some better topping coverage, but overall its a damn tasty treat. The next time you're in Acland St (and if you can get a table) be sure to give it a crack.
- Absolutely huge
- Great range of novelty toppings
- Less than full topping coverage
- So/so chips and salad