Where? - 505 City Rd, South Melbourne
Price? - $21, $15 parma night on Mondays
Website? - http://www.thepalacehotel.net.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Carly, Lee, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tony
...And we're back!
Three weeks off was just what the doctor ordered (although he isn't happy with the damage to my liver that no doubt occurred), but travelling through the states there is one thing I just couldn't seem to nail down ... A decent parma.
I wanted a good one for the first one back, luckily, while we were abroad, someone brought my attention to this article published by Time Out Magazine, listing their picks for Melbourne's top five parmas. I checked the list and we had already been to four of the five, but one on the list we had not yet visited. South Melbourne's Palace Hotel. If you can't be bothered clicking the above link (or its five years after posting this article and they've taken down the site) this is what their write up looked like -
Sounds good to me! We brushed the leaves and bird crap off the parma bus, loaded it up and headed over to the Palace to see what all the fuss was about.
As soon as I walked through the door I knew I was gonna love this pub. This joint is just dripping in old school cool. You could visit the Palace every night of the week and still find something new to catch your eye. The staff were super friendly and keen to chat, and the Palace's claim of having Melbourne's best pub dog isn't that far from the truth as this bloke...
Is an absolute champion.
There's a beer garden out the back for summer nights (and it has heaters for when it gets chilly) A pool table beside an open fireplace, and a spacious bistro (also complete with fireplace).
We have a handy barometer at ParmaDaze to tell if a pub is going to be quality - If a pub has (1) Coat hooks, (2) A pub dog and (3) a fireplace, it's going to be an awesome pub. The Palace Hotel is a tick in every box.
We settled in the bistro and checked the menu - Thursday night is Pie Night at the Palace and hot damn did the pies coming out of the kitchen looked phenomenal. Matter of fact all the food coming out of the kitchen looked great - From burgers to chicken tenders I didn't see a single thing that didn't look delicious.
Top billing. 6 of the 7 of us opted for the Chicken parma while Reviewer Carly had to be different and went with the Eggplant - Check her quotes below to see what she thought of it.
On top of an awesome atmosphere, the Palace backs it up with a solid rotating tap list. Plenty on offer to tickle your fancy - Having just spent three weeks stuck with Miller Lite and Budweiser I was happy to stick to my old favourite, Stone & Wood.
Before too long our meals arrived from the kitchen -
I don't normally do this, but before we get to the chicken I've got to make special mention of the garlic bread you can see pictured behind the parma - It was amazing! I've never had garlic bread like it in my life. Hot, flavoursome and topped off with what I think were mustard seeds - This isn't your usual Woolworths $2.50 wrapped in tinfoil number, this was quality garlic bread that was a fine addition to the meal, Highly recommended.
Anyway, to the parma.
The schnitzel was top quality. Cooked to perfection, pure white juicy chicken breast. It was plump where it needed to be and the crumbs that weren't covered by cheese carried an outstanding crunch. Other than some slight crumb sogginess underneath this schnitzel is really hard to fault, definitely a fantastic start to the Palace's parma.
The toppings were mostly good. lashings of delicious, smokey ham alongside plenty of perfectly gooey-yet-golden-brown cheese. There was one failing with the toppings and we all pretty much said it at once ... Where was the napoli?
The time out review we posted above absolutely raved about the "best sauce they've tried full of rich onion sweetness" - Unfortunately that was nowhere to be found on our parmas. I'm not sure if the kitchen ran short or what happened but the parmas we got on review night barely had any detectable napoli. A damn shame as this parma probably would have scored perfect marks otherwise. Without the napoli it was still a damn tasty feed, but I can't help but imagine what might have been.
The chips were pretty good, nothing spectacular but a decent serving of fries, lightly salted. There were plenty of them, would have really come to life with a dipping sauce. They were okay.
The salad, like the parma, was also pretty fantastic. Heaps of crisp ingredients bursting with flavour and topped off with a delicious honey mustard dressing - Exactly what a side salad should be.
For $21 I'd be back any night of the week for this parma, Even better Monday nights at the Palace is parma night, where you can get this bird for just $15. If you live anywhere in the vicinity of South Melbourne (and even if you don't) this is a parma worth trying for $15. It's worth trying for $21. It's worth trying.
The Palace is one of those pubs that has you checking the real estate listings so you can make it your local. Soaked in atmosphere and good times, I'm already trying to work out when I'm free to go back and have another sesh there. I want to try the pie, I want to try the burger, I want to try the chicken tenders, I want the garlic bread again and most of all I want to give the parma another crack - I hope the lack of napoli was just an isolated incident and we can give the Palace's parma the top 10 score it possibly deserves.
- Amazing pub, inside an out
- Awesome pub dog
- From garlic bread to parma the food was top notch
- Very little to no napoli on the parma