Where? - 3/60 Fitzroy Street. St. Kilda
Price? - $22.90
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
When we first visited the Fifth Province back in 2015 I walked out in two minds. I loved the pub. I loved the staff and the parma was pretty good. At the time I described it as "unique" as it had a lot of flavours through it you don't commonly find on a traditional parma. I enjoyed it, but it was a divisive one that a few of the review team did not enjoy, and their score suffered because of it.
So when I heard that the parma at the Prov had undergone a bit of an overhaul it was high on my list for a redo. Last night we headed back to see just what had changed at the Fifth Province.
The pub itself is exactly as it was, and that's a fantastic thing.
I said it in the first review, but a traditional Irish Pub is not something you'd expect to find in the middle of St. Kilda, yet the Prov goes to show that there's always room for a quality Irish watering hole no matter where it's located.
We grabbed a table and checked the menu. At first I thought I had been misinformed and the parma had been dumped from the menu, then I spotted it, hiding in the "Comfort Food" section -
The Fifth Province has an impressive tap list - Ranging from the stalwarts you'd find in any Irish pub (Guinness, Carlsberg, Kilkenny etc.) to a great selection for the craft beer lover (3 ravens, Stomping Ground, Kaiju, Feral ... The list goes on). Basically if its beer you're after you'll find something you'll enjoy at the Fifth Province.
About 15 minutes after ordering our parmas arrived. As is tradition with Redo's lets see a comparison between the 2015 parma and the 2017 attempt...
On aesthetics alone it was already a marked improvement. The schnitzel was bigger, served piping hot and cooked to perfection. I sampled an un-topped sliver of schnitzel and it held up on its own. A fantastic foundation to the dish.
The cheese blend was flavoursome and grilled to perfection. What was a bit of a cheese overload last time has been throttled back, definitely for the better. What were huge chunks of Irish bacon have also been toned down into smaller ham chunks, another improvement without doubt.
Gone is the off-putting sweetness that turned us off the napoli in 2015, however the replacement isn't perfect - A little too similar to pure tomato paste for my liking, but a minor complaint to an otherwise outstanding dish.
The chips have jumped from a mini fry basket to a mini metal bucket. Fresh, crisp and flavoursome. They could've used a little seasoning but thats just nitpicking at this point - A great addition to the meal.
In 2015 I called the salad an "afterthought", This is by no means the case anymore. Massive crisp garden salad absolutely bursting with ingredients (I think I had a full tomato in mine). Drizzled with a well balanced balsamic - A fantastic side all around.
I'd happily pay another $22.90 for this parma, no hesitation whatsoever. As a bonus on Wednesdays this dish goes for a mere $15 (not to mention Parma Knights get this $15 deal 7 days a week! What an amazing deal.)
Before writing this review I read over our 2015 visit, compiled a list of our major complaints, and determined if they had been addressed or not. Lets see how they did.
- Overly sweet napoli - Fixed
- Overcooked schnitzel - Fixed
- Thick crumbs on schnitzel - Fixed
- Cheese overload - Fixed
- Unusual Irish bacon chunks - Fixed
- Lackluster salad - Fixed
- A bit pricey for the end result - Fixed
That is the biggest comeback I've seen since Robert Downey Jr. got cast as Iron Man. If you're in the area the new and improved Fifth Province parma is definitely worth a try.