Where - 386 - 388 Brunswick St. Fitzroy
Price - $20
Website - http://www.theciderhouse.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Nikki, Stefo
Brunswick Street is a bit of an untapped resource.
By my count we've reviewed 6 pubs along Brunswick Street in the years we've been doing this - Which may sound like a lot for any other street in Melbourne, but when you consider that there at approximately ten million pubs in the stretch between Alexandra Pde and Victoria Pde, I think it's a spot we should probably spend a little more time at.
Enter the Brunswick Street Cider House. I'm not sure when exactly they put a parma on the menu, but it was definitely some time in between whenever I last checked and when I checked again this week. I had always liked the vibe of the Cider House, so without further adieu we loaded up the parma bus and headed to Fitzroy
We arrived a little early (around 6:30) to a deserted pub, I'd say they were quiet because of the biblical storm that was just predicted to sweep through Melbourne this weekend - People were at home nailing boards to their windows in preparation for the squall.
We grabbed a seat and checked the menu - I think you'll see below why the parma at the Cider House caught my eye...
Doesn't that sound amazing?! All of those toppings sound like a win.
We ordered at the bar and waited for our grub to arrive.
As you'd expect from a Cider House, the Brunswick Cider House has a lot of cider... In house.
Eight different ciders on tap to tickle any fancy along with 2 or three beers also on tap if for some reason you find yourself at a cider house not feeling like a cider - Along with a handful of options (both cider and beer) in the fridge.
about 20-25 minutes after ordering our meals arrived from the kitchen...
On the surface it looked good! solid cheese melt, plenty of bacon and good coverage of napoli... But I'll get to the toppings next.
We picked up our cutlery, tucked in, and the Cider House parma's biggest failing was revealed... It was super thin.
Plump chicken around the edges of the schnitzel camouflaged it a little when it was on the plate, but the middle of the schnitzel thinned out quite a bit.
Other than that it was real, unprocessed chicken, cooked well and pure white, devoid of any gristle. One complaint came from Reviewer Nikki - Her schnitzel was quite a bit smaller than the other three at the table. Same thickness issue, but about half the size of the others.
The toppings are what attracted us to this parma, and to be honest they really shone.
As I mentioned briefly above the cheese blend was on point. Great coverage and grilled to golden brown perfection.
While not as smokey as I was expecting, the lashings of bacon were greatly appreciated. The thickness of the bacon was at points thicker than the schnitzel itself ... Kind've a bittersweet observation, but I'll take it.
The "apple cider napoli" was a bit of a contentious one. It definitely isn't a traditional napoli sauce as the sweetness of the cider is quite dominant. I enjoyed it after getting used to it, but if you don't like sweet napoli you may not be a fan.
Chips were great. Beer battered, piping hot, well seasoned and cooked perfectly. A bit of aioli to the side would have completed the picture, but in the meantime these were a damn enjoyable side.
The salad... not so much. It was just lettuce and rather dry on the dressing. It was okay for what it was (it was indeed advertised as a rocket salad on the menu so its not like they didn't deliver on a promise), but it did feel like a bit of an afterthought.
For $20 I wouldn't be running back to the Cider Bar, but at the same time if I found myself there I wouldn't be against trying the parma again. Overall it's good qualities outweigh the bad, but I wouldn't be going out of my way to try it.
If the chicken thickness was a fluke that could be attributed to an off night then this parma has a lot of potential, however in the state it was delivered last night it didn't quite do it for me, great toppings aside.
Good ciders though!