Where - 39 Dukes Walk, South Wharf
Price - $23.50 for Original, a buck or so extra for novelty toppings
Website - http://www.thecommonman.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki & Stefo
...and we're back! 2018 is upon us and with the new year comes refreshed determination to find Melbourne's best parma. We've got some interesting things in store for you this year that I am super excited about, so be sure to stay tuned!
I've got a bit of a love/hate relationship with South Wharf. There are some great stores, some fantastic restaurants & pubs and the formerly-Hilton-now-Pan-Pacific hotel overlooking it all is a great spot for a staycation in the city... However it lacks a soul. It all seems so sterile and inorganic that I have trouble willing myself to venture to that part of town.
Enter the Common Man, a place I've had my eye on for a little while, but had yet to muster the will to go and check out - Until I started spying social media posts here and their about the Pop-Up Outdoor Cinema that they've been running lately and it definitely piqued my interest...
Well stone the crows it looks like The Common Man has found a way to inject a little bit of life into South Wharf! Space at the cinema seems to sell out pretty quickly so we didn't manage to get a seat, however the screen is visible from the pub itself (although it's a little hard to hear), which provided a very nice view to our meal.
Even though the cinema was chock-a-block, the pub itself was relatively quiet. We easily found a seat, checked the menu and spied a few options available for our meal...
We managed to get an order in for the Original, the Aussie and the Parma Hot. I would have liked to get the Mexican as well, but we can't all be rich enough to be lashing out on extravagances such as avocado. (the only explanation I can muster for the price hike)
The tap list at The Common Man left a little to be desired. Heineken, Little Creatures, James Squire, Coopers, Hahn and a currently-dry Pimms tap. Fortunately there are some craftier options in the fridge if that's more your style with some Moon Dog, Feral, Stone & Wood and Lick Pier ginger beer to wet your whistle.
We ordered our parmas and kicked back while "10 Things I Hate About You" started on the big screen. Oh that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, such a dreamboat.
Surprisingly quickly (about 15-20 minutes after ordering) our parmas arrived...
Before we get to the novelty toppings - The Schnitzel.
A little small on the plate, but cutting into it revealed a surprisingly thick piece of chicken. Pure white breast with surprisingly crunchy crumbs. Served piping hot, it would have been a great start to the dish, however one criticism reverberated around the table - Man, this chicken is dry.
And it was a spot on criticism - What could have been a top notch parma was not nearly as enjoyable as it should have been as the chicken breast was as dry as the Nullarbor.
Other than that one problem though, it was a fine schnitzel and a decent foundation to the parma.
The following topping comments will be mostly related to the Parma Hot, the parma I had. For thoughts on the other two (the Original and the Aussie) check out the reviewer quotes below.
The "Parma Hot" comprised of salami, jalapeños and chili flakes along with the usual suspects of napoli sauce and mozzarella cheese. Toppings were applied liberally and pretty tasty for the most part (I could have used a little more napoli, although I think that's the fault of the dryness of the chicken). It was a tasty parma, but for my money it lacked a punch. When I order a "Parma Hot" I expect it to be so hot it leaves me with the ol' Johnny Cash for the next few days. It had a bit of a kick, and was a tasty dish - But in it's current state I'd consider it more a "Parma Medium" than a "Parma Hot"
I have to give props to the Common Man for presentation, they managed to fit the parma, chips and salad on the plate all without hint of overlap - and it was a hearty serve of chips also. They were served hot and fresh but lacked any sort of seasoning or chip dip. They were fine, but nothing to write home about.
Salad was in a similar boat. It was okay, but nothing noteworthy. Some greens, onion and a few cherry tomatoes. It was well dressed but a little wilted. Nothing bad, but nothing spectacular.
For $24.50 I wouldn't be running back to The Common Man, however from my research online they do run a $15 Lunch & Dinner special on Mondays. For that price it's worth wandering over if you're in the area.
The Common Man parma is a tough one to pin down. The venue is great, the pop up cinema is a fantastic idea and the Pimms were going down dangerously smoothly on a warm summer evening.
The parma had some top notch elements that were marred by unfortunate execution - Maybe we were there on an off night and the parma you try won't be as dry - If so it's definitely worth a crack, just go on $15 Parma night to be safe.