Where? - 120 Montague St. South Melbourne
Price? - $24
Reviewers – Lee, Nikki & Stefo
Of the 311 parmas we're reviewed for ParmaDaze I'd say at least 100 of them have involved a trip down Montague Street to get to - And on each one of those I've looked at the Golden Fleece and thought to myself "I wonder if they do a parma".
After surviving a trip under the Montague St bridge unscathed a few weeks back the parma bus was stopped at a traffic light and I glanced over at the Fleece - It looked different. Gone was the lime green perspex signage that used to plague the exterior, and the inside looked as if it had undergone a bit of a revamp as well. I checked the pub's menu on my phone while we waited, confirmed a parma was indeed on the menu and made a mental note to check it out in the future.
A few weeks later (last night) we arrived, and the Golden Fleece was looking great.
This pub has a great vibe. From the open spaces of the sports bar up the front to the intimate candlelit bistro at the back - This was a pub I could happily settle into for a long session.
We grabbed a table in the front bar. It was easy pickings as, surprisingly, we were one of the only groups in there at 7pm on a Thursday night.
On checking the menu we realised that we had a couple of options for toppings...
Damn that Mexican sounds good. The addition of chilli beef is rare in the mexi-parma game... But parma purists that we are, we all opted for the traditional parma this time around.
While waiting for our meals to arrive I wandered upstairs to check what else the Golden Fleece had to offer, Imagine my surprise when, just above our heads, was one of the best pinball machine rooms I've seen in recent memory...
What a find! Complete with a change machine and everything - This is definitely a spot to remember for any pinball fan.
The tap list at the Fleece was pretty decent. 4 Pines and Mountain Goat catching my eye at the bargain Thursday night price of $5 a schooner. The fridge behind the bar was stocked with the full range of Colonial Brewery cans - Also a fantastic choice.
About 20 minutes after ordering our parmas arrived at the table -
First of all, We ordered the side of gravy separately for an extra $2. I've got more to say on the topic of the gravy, but I'll save that for later.
The schnitzel was top notch. Pure, thick, juicy chicken breast with crumbs that carried a fantastic crunch. As far as schnitzels are concerned this one was hard to fault - And it's clear now as to why they offer a plain nude schnitzel as one of the parma options. They've got a right to be proud of this bad boy.
The toppings were ... Okay. The napoli was fresh, chunky and seemed home made. The ham was plentiful and thickly sliced and there was a solid coverage of well grilled cheese... However all three elements just missed the mark in terms of flavour.
They were fine, don't get me wrong, however they needed something to bring them home. I'm not sure what ... Maybe a stronger smoked ham? This is one of those rare cases where the quality of the schnitzel overpowered that of the toppings.
Still, a very enjoyable meal.
The chips were well cooked and in plentiful supply. After a quick rescue from beneath the parma they were quite enjoyable. We all opted an extra $2 for some gravy as a chip dip, but that didn't go too well...
Okay, so I'll preface this next paragraph by saying that, as the gravy was an optional extra, our opinion of it in no way factored into our scoring for the parma itself. But it wasn't good. At all. We couldn't quite put our fingers on what they were going for in terms of gravy, but it had an odd, very powerful spice through it - I want to say it was curry powder, or maybe cinnamon ... maybe both. But it wasn't a pleasant chip dip and most of our gravy pots ended up going unused.
The salad was fine. Nothing offensive, plenty of tomato and cucumber throughout. Dressing was a little watery but the seperate bowl was greatly appreciated.
I'd happily pay another $24 for this parma for the quality of the schnitzel alone. The Golden Fleece runs a few special nights including a $15 parma night on Monday (Including the nude and the Mexi-parma) as well as some solid happy hours and other food specials - be sure to check their website for more info.
The Golden Fleece is a great little pub that was criminally quiet for a Thursday night (Granted it was about minus ten degrees outside, so that may have contributed to the hibernating patrons). The parma had a fantastic foundation that just fell short of the mark - I instantly regretted not getting the Mexican parma instead as I think the addition of those extra toppings would really make this bird a home run.
Worth a crack, But I'd say go for the Mexican over the traditional.