Where - 1/450 Elizabeth St. Melbourne
Price - $21.90 original, $22.90 novelty
Website - https://www.kicksmelbourne.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
We’re back! The 2018 Golden Chook awards have been distributed (Check them out here if you missed it) and we are geared up to kick off another year in the search for the perfect parma. Incidentally this review marks the 365th parma review we have done at ParmaDaze, meaning we have reviewed enough parmas to be the equivalent to one per day for an entire year. What have I done with my life.
When a pub pops up touting itself as “Melbourne’s finest sports bar” you’d better believe we are gonna take notice, so when we heard about Kicks, up the Queen Vic end of Elizabeth Street, we made sure to make checking it out a priority.
Situated on the second floor above an EzyMart, the large screen TV’s and multiple bars of Kicks are easy to spot from the street below. We arrived at about 7:30 on a Thursday afternoon, were greeted at the door by two bouncers (a bit overkill if you ask me) and ascended the stairs to Kicks.
The vibe of Kicks is a hard one to pin down, it’s kind of a sports bar, but not really. Yes there are TV’s on almost every surface showing a plethora of sports games, but with the pool table, foosball table and three tabletop arcade cabinets it feels considerably more nerdy than your standard sports bar. The best way I can describe it is if The Sporting Globe and GG EZ had a baby, that baby would be Kicks.
With plenty of options for seating (the terrace, the high tables, the pool area, the arcade booths and the large dining area around the back) we pulled up a chair in prime position in front of the bar and checked the menu.
I wasn’t expecting novelty parmas on the menu at Kicks so seeing a parma section on the menu threw me for a moment, unfortunately after a month away everyone on the team was craving a standard parma so we didn’t get a chance to try the novelties this time around. We placed our order at the bar and watched a bit of tennis while waiting for the arrival of our dinner.
The tap list at Kicks is … Okay, with the massive copper tanks of Carlton Draught looming precariously above our seats they also had Furphy, Four Pines, Pirate Life, Mountain Goat and Fat Yak to name a few of the other options. Die hard craft-heads may be disappointed, but the should be enough of a choice to satisfy most needs.
About 20 minutes after ordering the parmas arrived at the table. The chips and salad looked great on the plate, but more on them later. The exposed schnitzel peeking out from under the cheese worried me though, it looked pretty overcooked and those were deli window schnitzel crumbs if I’d ever seen them. With great trepidation we picked up our cutlery and tucked in.
As suspected the schnitzel was not great, overcooked and dry as expected with super thin chicken throughout (see cross section below). As much as the toppings tried to save it the schnitzel (a lynch pin of any parma) was the weakest element of the dish.
If you like cheese then this is a parma for you. Flavoursome, gooey, well cooked cheese did its best to rescue this parma from mediocrity. The ham was there but didn’t add a whole lot to the flavour profile while the napoli sauce was barely detectable, both by the eye or by the tastebuds. As far as the parma goes this one was a pretty disappointing outing for the first of 2019.
The chips, on the other hand, were fantastic. Served in a seperate basket away from the underside of the parma, they were plentiful, cooked to perfection and lightly dusted with a spicy seasoning. Every table was adorned with a bottle of tomato sauce so chip dippage was readily available if required (although to be honest I ate most of them sauce free, they were well seasoned enough without it).
The garden salad was another winner. Fresh and crisp with plenty of ingredients and loaded with honey mustard dressing. If you’re after a healthy salad to accompany your parma then this definitely isn’t it, however if you’re after a palate cleanser and a suitably unhealthy side to an already unhealthy meal then this is a pretty good example of one.
For $21.90 I won’t be running back to Kicks to try this parma again. Monday night offers a parma (of any variety) with a pot for $16, which, to be honest, is a pretty good deal and probably about what this parma is worth and I think the only scenario I would recommend this parma.
When it comes to novelty toppings on a parma I always say that they have to be able to do the standard parmas well first, and then pile the other stuff on. If you can’t do an original parma successfully then don’t stack extra stuff on as a way to hide it, it’s a crutch.
I enjoyed the vibe at Kicks. The tabletop arcades were a neat touch, especially with the screens above mirroring the gameplay below so onlookers could observe the game. It’s the kind’ve pub I could see leaning into eSports as well as traditional sports when the Overwatch League fires up again.
As for the parma it has potential. The sides are great, the toppings are mostly fine, it just all falls apart when you use a crap piece of chicken as the base. Check it out on Monday night and get the novelty toppings to cover up its failings, otherwise I’d say give this one a miss.