When? - 18th of March, 2010
Where? - The Palmerston Hotel, 51 Palmerson Cres. South Melbourne
Price? - $17 for the ‘No.1’ Parma, $18 for the ‘Palmie Parma’
Barry? - No
Website? - None
Reviewers - Lee, Nikki & Shanan [/info]
** Edit 21/08/14 - If you're here this review is no longer valid - We have re-visited The Palmerston 4 years later .. find out how the redo went by clicking here!
The Palmerston has a BIG reputation to live up too, once voted Melbournes No. 1 parma by the now defunctwww.superparma.com, It is known all around town as ‘the best parma in Melbourne … and they like to boast about it too!
This review session was supposed to take place the night before, on the 17th of March, but due to St. Patricks day it was pushed back a night, and as a result we had a considerably smaller group than the bunch that attended the ‘Mrs. Parmas’ review - but we pushed on none the less.
It’s classic Aussie pub atmosphere from the get-go at the Palmie, it was a warm night so there were a few people eating & having a beer on the outdoor tables, upon entry there are a few TAB machines, tables of all shapes and sizes and the walls are lined with plasma screens showing race results & other sports, and of course the always essential Barry pub trivia machine was there, the perfect accompaniment to the after dinner pot. As we walked around the back of the pub, to the dining area, we were rushed by about 30 school students leaving, who were obviously just finishing their own parma night, they looked satisfied so we were excited when we were seated in the newly deserted dining area.
The staff were fantastic, bread rolls on arrival, table service for drinks & it wasnt a problem at all when we requested to move tables when we found out another reviewer was joining us later.
They have a couple of options for the parma, you can either go the ‘No.1 Parma’ which is your standard parmigiana, and the one voted ‘best in melbourne’ or for an extra dollar you can upgrade to the ‘Palmie Parma’ which is the same, but with bolegnaise sauce instead of napoli - a nice option! there is also the choice between chips & salad or Mashed potatoes & vegetables as a side, winning points so far!
We went with the boasted ‘No.1 Parma’, saving the Palmie Parma for another time. It arrived in about 5 minutes flat, and what a parma it was!
At around the time our parmas came out, we had word that our extra reviewer was about 10 minutes out, so we ordered his, after about ten minutes we were told his parma was ready, he ended up getting stuck in traffic and didnt join us for a good half an hour after that & I was fearing a soggy, ruined parma that had been sitting under the heat lamps - but to our surprise when he arrived, a freshly cooked parma awaited him!
The parma was thick and juicy, lightly crumbed and cooked to perfection, there was a spice in either the crumbs or the napoli that was quite unique, and yet we couldnt put our finger on what it was exactly. One criticism I do have is that it was a little light on the sauce, lots of cheese, lots of chicken, even a slice of ham! just a little dry on the napoli. Normally the inclusion of ham on a parma can be a bit overpowering, but I didnt even notice it was on there until about halfway though. I have had many parmas in my time, and this chicken breast is the first one ive had thats come close too … maybe even beaten out the Jimmies Parma
The sides were ok, but not great, the salad was a little too finely chopped for me, there was not a piece in the entire thing that looked over a square cm in size, it actually looked like it’d be more suited sprinked on toast and served as a bruschetta. But it was tasty and cant complain too much, the chips were standard fried, not salted but there were salt & pepper shakers on the table, the one gripe (and a common mistake) is that they piled the parma on top of the chips, so by the time I ate through to them they were a bit sweaty and damp, but the chicken itself definitely made up for it.
I tried some of the mashed potatoes, and they were very much to my liking, smoothly mashed and buttery, although they were *very* peppery, and may not be to some peoples liking, the boiled vegetables seemed to have suffered the same fate as the salad, too finely chopped and one vegetable was almost indistinguishable from the other.
The parma itself is the best ive tasted in a long time. The staff are great, love the table service and bread rolls - $17 is a very reasonable price for what you get! If they upped their salad quality, put on a bit more napoli & served their chips beside their parma, theyd be in contention to beat the Jimmies parma - I’ll definitely be going back for another Parma, pot & game of Barry
*EDIT* 13/09/2010 - I visited the Palmerston this weekend for another parma & Game of Barry to discover the Palmerston’s Barry machine is no more. Theres still a TAB though so plenty to keep the gambler inside us occupied while waiting for our tasty parma to arrive.