Where - QV, 249 Little Lonsdale St. Melbourne
Price - Regular $18, Jumbo $28 (Classic Parma - More for novelties)
Website - http://fathersoffice.com.au
Reviewers – Daniel, Kim, Lee, Nikki, Pat
Father's Office has been around for a while, and I had always heard pretty good things about it - However they never had a parma available until recently, when they announced a full range of "signature parmas" were being added to their menu.
Snuggled within the maze that is the QV complex in the CBD, Father's Office is a pretty cool escape from the madness of the Melbourne city.
There are a few options for seating at the pub. There is the main bar area, a slightly more swanky dining room (although I think the menu is pretty much the same) as well as a balcony area overlooking the state library that seems to be the most popular place to score a spot.
We arrived without a booking to find the pub pretty packed with punters taking advantage of happy hour, but were lucky enough to snag a table in the bar area. We checked the menu for the new range of "signature parmas"...
Reading down the menu everything looked pretty standard. "Naked, yep, Classic, good that's there, Oooh Mexican with chilli, that sounds nice. Cheesebur.... what?..."
Cheesburparma. I looked over the bar and they had a large image of what exactly a "Cheeseburparma" looks like...
A cheeseburger/parma hybrid. The crazy bastards actually did it.
I had to get it. I had to know what a cheeseburparma tasted like. Nobody else at the table was as brave as I, but between us all we managed to get at least one of all the parmas on the menu.
The tap list at Father's Office is pretty extensive. When I saw the large copper pipes extending down from the roof I thought "Oh great, more unpasteurised Carlton Draught", but it turns out that Father's Office are the hipsters of the beer-through-copper-pipes world, as they did it before Carlton Draught made it cool, and a feature of half the pubs in Melbourne.
The standards on tap are Follies Girl Lager, Heineken, Kirin, Furphy, Thunder Road, White Rabbit, Tiger, Monteiths Barber Lager, 150 Lashes, Kosciusko Pale & Grumpy Bastard along with some rotating taps of other craft beers (I was on the Colonial Draught most of the night, a very tasty drop).
After a 20(ish) minute wait our parade of parmas arrived from the kitchen...
Okay. I'll get to the burger part in a sec but first lets focus on the schnitzel ... It wasn't great. It was real, unprocessed chicken breast, however it had the utter arse cooked out of it and was quite dry by the time it hit the plate. In the case of the cheeseburparma the schnitzel actually turned out to be secondary to the whole experience, but those who had the plainer options (the classic and the naked) enjoyed their meal significantly less.
I guess you would call the "toppings" of the cheeseburparma the whole mother flippin' cheeseburger that is sitting on top of the schnitzel, and to be absolutely honest, it was a damn tasty burger. I'm not in the burger reviewing game, but the beef patty was cooked just right, they were super liberal with the cheese, bacon and greens. I wasn't a big fan of the schnitzel underneath so the burger was probably my favourite part. Did it work as part of a parma? Kind've. It wasn't so much a parma as it was a cheeseburger with a bit of schnitzel at the bottom, definitely more burger than parma.
Opinions around the table of the other novelties varied. The Mexican got top marks, also due to the quality toppings on the schnitzel, however those that went the naked or the classic parma were less impressed. The dry chicken being much more apparent when there wasn't a stack on toppings above to distract.
The chips were probably a highlight of the dish. Plenty of them, all served with an itty bitty pot of aioli, along with a liberal shake of spicy seasoning really elevated these chips to the next level. My one criticism is that they could have been served hotter - Fresh, these chips would have been amazing. The ones here were served warm as if they had been sitting out for a while.
The salad was an extra $1 charge, which seemed to be a "we can't be bothered making salads" tax as the salad we got for our extra gold coin donation wasn't very good at all. Small, wilted and absolutely drowning in oil it wasn't at all worth the extra cash.
From what I can see Father's Office don't offer any sort of cheap parma night, but to be honest the prices are cheap enough as it is. Under $20 for the standard parma is rare these days, and $20 for the cheeseburparma seems too good to be true when it is essentially two meals in one. I wasn't a huge wrap for the quality of the food, but the price was at a level that I felt reflected what we received, plus the $15 jugs of craft beer for happy hour were greatly appreciated.
If you can't make it to FO but still want to try the unholy abomination that is the Cheeseburparma, the other pubs in the Retail Savvy Group (the pub group that owns Father's Office) have the same parma menu on offer, so as well as at Father's Office it can be found at Asian Beer Cafe, The Shaw Davey Slum, The Bank on Collins and Fitzroy Social. I never thought I'd be able to say that five pubs in Melbourne are now offering a cheeseburger/parma hybrid, but I guess this is the world we live in now. Thanks Trump.
I wouldn't recommend Father's Office for the classic parma or the naked schnitzel as the quality of the chicken isn't quite there but if you're a sucker for a gimmick I think the Cheeseburparma (and to a lesser extent the Mexican) is worth a try at least once, if only for the novelty factor.