Where? - 787 Nicholston St. Carlton North
Price? - $22
Website? Facebook Page
Reviewers – Lee & Stefo
It's not often a pub goes from completely off my radar to it's all I'm hearing about, yet that is what Carlton North Hole-in-the-wall "A Fan's Notes" managed to accomplish.
A month ago if you had've asked me if we had reviewed the parma at A Fan's Notes I probably would have responded with "Huh? What is that? Is that a place?", Yet in the past two weeks I have been on the receiving end of a barrage of recommendations - All for A Fan's Notes.
So what is A Fan's Notes? Nestled in a cosy spot in Cartlon North lies a little cafe/bar/record shop. There aren't many seats in the front so if you're keen to try I'd advise making a booking. It's dimly lit (mostly by candlelight) with smooth tunes echoing through and a laid back, chilled vibe.
We arrived on Thursday night (without a booking) and after nursing a $7 pint of Coopers (happy hour from 4-7pm) at the bar for a little while was lucky enough to snag a table.
Was itching for a parma, so we checked the menu...
... Spied our target and placed the order - It's worth noting for the vegetarians that they have both vego and vegan options available.
A lone tap behind the bar was pouring Coopers at $7 a pint, so I didn't look far beyond that. I did spy an empty can of Pirate Life on one of the other tables, so if that is anything to go on A Fan's Notes has decent craft beer chops.
About 15 minutes after ordering our meals arrived.
You'll have to excuse the quality of the below photos ... Taking food photos by candlelight isn't ideal, so had to really crank up the exposure in post.
First things first - The schnitzel that A Fan's Notes uses in their parma isn't the best. It was a little thin, fairly heavy on the crumbs and a rather dry.
A shame, as from here on out I'm going to have almost universally positive things to say about this parma - However a higher quality foundation could have easily launched this parma to the top of our list.
The toppings were sensational. The napoli was bursting with a zesty, citrus flavour while the cheese blend was flavoursome, applied liberally and grilled to gooey perfection.
Normally a parma without ham would get a recommendation that a slice of ham would be appreciated - However with the parma at A Fan's Notes I don't think its even necessary - the toppings are flavoursome enough without it, and unless you used some sort of quintuple smoked ham I think it would be lost amongst the other elements of the dish.
The chips were shoestring, McDonalds style fries, which I normally don't like - But you'll see why these were fitting in a moment. They were cooked well, a decent serving and for Maccas fries they were decent enough.
The reason I thought the shoestring fries were an appropriate side was due to the dill coleslaw accompanying the meal. A huge mound of 'slaw greeted me after moving aside the parma, and as soon as I tasted it a very familiar flavour hit me ... The "dill mayo" this coleslaw was swimming in tasted exactly like McDonalds Big Mac sauce. You could slap the parma in a bun with a spoon full of this coleslaw and get away with calling it a Chicken Big Mac it was so spot on. It was a tasty salad, but quite rich. I could only get through half of it before needing to stop.
$22 for this parma is acceptable, I enjoyed it enough that I'd happily pay that price again (and $7 pints definitely sweetened the deal). I have heard rumours of a $10 parma night at A Fan's Notes, which would be an amazing deal - Although I'm not sure what night of the week that runs. If you can find out when its on I highly recommend checking it out yourself
**UPDATE** According to our mates at The Happiest Hour, A Fan's Notes $10 parma special runs on both Wednesday and Saturdays, for both the chicken and vego/vegan options.
Last night was a unique parma in a unique restaurant. A surprisingly cool little find and a spot to which I'd be happy to return. The parma was good, with the potential to be great should they upgrade their schnitzel quality. Even so, worth a crack.