Where? - 257 Keilor Rd, Essendon
Price? - $24.50
Website? - http://mammalinas.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
Mamma Lina's is one of those places that has seemingly been around forever. Possibly since the dawn of time or earlier - Scholars maintain that on the seventh day, after God had rested up a bit he went down to Mamma Lina's to grab a coffee. It's a Keilor Road institution, and an absolute travesty that we haven't been there earlier. So last night we headed down to give their parma a crack.
There isn't a whole lot to say about the interior of Mamma's, if you've been into a cafe in Melbourne you know what you're in for. There's a small bar up one end, a selection of delicious looking fresh cakes in the window, a small lounge area if you feel like kicking back opening up to a larger dining area around the back.
We grabbed a table, ordered a beverage, grabbed the menu and identified our target for the evening...
There are a few beers available, no taps - everything is bottled. The craftiest option would be a Lord Nelson Pale Ale, but other than that your choices are pretty standard. VB, Draught, Crown Lager, Peroni, Heineken etc.
15 or so minutes after ordering our parmas arrived from the kitchen...
The first thing that struck me about this parma was the schnitzel. Very traditional Italian style schnitzels with a deliciously herb and parmesan infused crumb. Hammered a little thin for my personal taste, this schnitzel screams home made - as if Mamma Lina herself was working in the kitchen.
Real chicken breast, full of flavour however it was quite oily, which weighed on my stomach at the end of the meal.
The napoli was fresh and bursting with flavour (and a hint of sweetness), I wouldn't be surprised if it was home made as well. As I mentioned earlier this is a very traditional Italian style parma, and as such there was no ham, which was a shame as a slice or two of ham would have really made this parma shine.
I normally like a bit more variety than just mozzarella in my cheese blend, but the mozza on this parma served its purpose just fine.
The chips were probably the weakest part of the dish. Standard chips, served unseasoned, a little hard and starchy (almost as if they had been sitting for a while). A decent enough sized serve, but some fresher chips would have really helped this dish.
The salad was fine. Nothing really noteworthy, quite oily much like the parma itself but carried a great flavour.
almost $25 is pretty pricey for what we received, but I suppose Cafe prices are a different world to pub grub prices so it can't be judged as harshly. No special parma nights that I could see. If I found myself at Mamma Lina's again I wouldn't have too much issue with getting this parma again, but I don't think I'd travel any measurable distance to get it again.
The Mamma Lina's parma was fine, let down by weak sides and oily schnitzel it was a few steps shy of great. However if you're in the mood for a traditional schnitzel like Nonna used to make then this is definitely one to consider.
- Great homemade crumbs
- Tasty schnitzel
- Weak sides
- Very oily