Where - It’s a food truck - Check their facebook for current location!
Price - $16
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
The food truck parma is an elusive, almost mythical beast. Many have tried before however when the issue of how to actually serve a parma in portable can-eat-standing-up form most go the easy route and chuck it in a burger, wrap it in a tortilla or stick it in a pie. I have searched for them in the past, however a food truck that could crack the code of how to whip up an easy to serve, easy to eat portable parma has eluded us.
Well as the wood carving in your weird Aunt’s home office/art studio says - Miracles come when you least expect them. Last Saturday I found myself at the food truck park known as The Ascot Lot on Mt. Alexander Road in Ascot Vale, they were launching a range of 5 different flavours of $10 espresso martini in an event dubbed “The Espresso Yourself Festival”, and as Reviewer Nikki runs an espresso martini review Instagram account known as The Espresso Chronicles it was her duty to head over and try all of the five new flavours, and I tagged along because (if you hadn’t guessed) I enjoy beer and food.
If you want a further rundown of the espresso launch click here, give them a follow and earn me some brownie points for plugging my wife’s Instagram account.
The Ascot Lot is a food truck park. Basically an outdoor area where a rotating array of food trucks can park offering different foods alongside a container bar for drinks and a crapload of outdoor seating. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the Ascot Lot, they’ve got a fun little setup and having some beers alongside wandering from truck to truck seeing what goodies are on offer is a great way to spend an afternoon.
After scoring a picnic table in prime position and starting on our first of the five flavours of espresso martini I took a lap to see what trucks was on offer. This particular Saturday at the Ascot Lot offered up a Mr. Whippy Van, A souvlaki truck, a curry truck, a dumpling van, a burger joint and tucked away in the corner was a spot curiously known only as “Jake’s Kitchen”, advertising that they served pasta alongside the quite ambiguous “Gourmet Cuisine”.
My curiosity piqued, I headed over to check the menu, and you’ll never believe what I found … Actually you probably will believe what I found. You know what website you are on and I’m not gonna surprise you and say “JK! I had a Philly cheesesteak lol”.
… Anyway, they had a parma.
The decision was made for me at that point, I placed an order and was asked to come back in 10 minutes.
Now Jake’s Kitchen doesn’t serve any drinks beyond some cans of soft drink, however The Ascot Lot had me covered. The outdoor container bar (pictured above) has a few different taps of beer (I spotted Furphy, Byron Bay, Panhead and what I believe was an in-house brew), the aforementioned range of espresso martinis with a few other options in the fridge below. There’s a second bar inside that might have some more options but to be honest I didn’t venture in to see what was available in there (competition for our table was fierce and I didn’t want to lose it).
10 minutes later I wandered back to the truck and picked up our first ever food truck parma…
I got back to the table and inspected what was served. While it may not look like it at first glance this is most definitely a chicken parma.
Now those purists who hate the parma on the chips might not be impressed but I think it was necessary in this case. What Jake’s Kitchen has done has basically made a parma, pre sliced it for one-handed consumption, and stacked it on top of a large tray of chips - Basically making what you could call a “Parma HSP”. I picked up my supplied fork and tucked in.
First up, the schnitzel quality was top notch. Pure white, freshly sliced chicken breast. well cooked and crumbed (the fresh crumbs had just the right amount of crunch to them). Size-wise the schnitzel is a bit small, but they were most likely a bit hamstrung by the size of the container, and there were plenty of chips to make up for the smaller serve of schnitzel.
The toppings were in abundance. Plenty of gooey cheese and rich napoli sauce did a surprisingly great job of holding on to the schnitzel slices as I ate. The napoli sauce was definitely a highlight. Bursting with flavour (and peas … an addition I didn’t think I would like yet works surprisingly well here). It was thick, fresh and tasty.
No ham on this parma I’m afraid, but other than that the toppings were outstanding.
Holy crap the chips were good. If this were a scored review these would definitely be close to a perfect score. Well cooked, crunchy, piping hot and liberally coated in a spicy seasoning (which I have discovered they refer to as “Jake’s special paprika seasoning”) that really gave them a kick and finished off the dish nicely.
It’s pretty clear that when you’re working towards a portable parma that isn’t some form of schnitzel burger or wrap then the salad is going to be the first casualty. As much as I would have loved to see some sort of salad incorporated into this parma (and no, the peas don’t count) I can see why they left it out. Maybe they could squeeze some coleslaw in there somehow if they were going for top marks, but to be honest I was fine without salad this time around!
Prices for food truck food is always a little bit inflated from the norm, but to be honest I’d pay another $16 for this parma any day of the week. Yeah the schnitzel was a bit small compared to what I’d get at a pub, but, as I keep saying, it has to be portable to work out of a truck, and a smaller schnitzel just has be expected when trying something new like this.
LAST MINUTE UPDATE: A little birdy now tells me that the Saturday we tried the Jake’s Kitchen parma was actually the first time it had been on the menu, and that they have plans to expand the menu to include some more “loaded parma” options … So definitely keep an eye out!
When heading out for some espresso martinis that afternoon I was not expecting to stumble on our first ever food truck parma, but I was glad I did. The “Parma HSP” style that Jake’s Kitchen have come up with is a unique and novel take on a parma that I enjoyed more than I expected I would. It wouldn’t be fair to compare this parma to a regular pub parma, but if you find yourself near Jake’s Kitchen (or Jake’s Kitchen finds itself near you) it is definitely one worth giving a crack.