Where - 10 - 14 Hope St. Melbourne
Price - $17
Website - https://littlepeacockcafe.com.au
Reviewers – Kyle, Lee, Nikki & Shanan
We don't normally do the cafe thing on ParmaDaze, and we definitely don't do the cafe-that-closes-at-4pm thing at ParmaDaze - However when I heard that one of the chef's from our current #1 spot holder and 2016 Golden Chook winner The Birmingham Hotel had spun off into his own cafe and was also serving parmas... We had to make an exception
As it stands our mission to find Melbourne's perfect chicken parma doesn't exactly pay the bills - Which means that the ParmaDaze review team have a full time jobs outside of their quest, so to get to Little Peacock during opening hours we had to forego our standard 7pm on a Thursday parma night and opt for a Saturday afternoon visit instead.
Situated on the ground floor of a brand spankin' new apartment complex on Hope Street Brunswick (just off busy Sydney Road). Little Peacock looks like any other Brunswick cafe. We arrived just after noon and the place was already a buzz with activity. Cappuccinos were flying out of the baristas hands, plenty of people were sitting around enjoying a lazy smashed avo and the front counter was constantly stacking up Uber Eats deliveries. For a relatively new establishment they are already doing quite well.
We grabbed a table and checked the menu to find ... No parma. Not to worry, the Little Peacock parma is currently residing on the specials board by the kitchen window. Great news for us, bad news if you want it delivered via Uber Eats as it's not technically on the menu (Yet. I have been assured that it will be migrating to a more permanent menu spot shortly).
We placed our orders and awaited the arrival of our parmas.
This is normally where I talk about the range of beers available to pair with our chicken - Unfortunately Little Peacock hasn't quite got their liquor license yet. There are notices posted on all windows around the pub and it doesn't look like it's going to be too far off before you can grab a beer with your bird, but at the time of this review we were a bunch of teetotallers.
15 or so minutes after placing the order our parmas arrived from the kitchen.
Well well well. This sure looks familiar!
The chef from the Birmy did more than just bring his skills over to his new cafe - He brought the parma as well! Right down to the wooden board it is served on this looks exactly like a Birmy parma. But does it taste the same? Does it measure up to our highest rated parma to date?
We quickly gathered our cutlery and tucked in.
The schnitzel was spot on. Thick. Juicy. Cooked perfectly with just the right amount of crumbs retaining the crunch that we love. Fantastically sized (you're not going home hungry) and great quality, pure chicken. A fantastic foundation on which to build a parma.
The toppings, for the most part, were also just as good as a Birmy parma. So much ham it's bordering on ridiculous (look at the photo above and you can see - so much ham).
The cheese blend was spot on - Gooey and grilled to perfection with a sharp bite doing its very best to shine through. Great coverage and perfectly cooked.
The napoli is where things at the Little Peacock start to differ from it's Birmy counterpart. The Birmy's napoli is rich, chunky, stacked up high and bursting with flavour (most notably garlic. The Birmy parma is an insanely garlic-y parma. Vampires should stay away) - Unfortunately I didn't quite get this from the napoli on the Peacock parma. It was close. But everyone at the table agreed that it was somewhat lacking in that final punch that drives the Birmy parma home.
The chips were delightful. Not quite the same as the Birmy's, but decent in their own right. Crispy and hot, herb dusted and a communal tomato sauce pot was supplied for the table when our parmas were delivered.
The salad was fresh and crisp - Well dressed and flavoursome. I could have done with a few more ingredients (where is my cucumber?) but overall it was a win.
The Little Peacock's parma is priced at an entirely reasonable $17 - a full $5 cheaper than it's Birmy counterpart (although the Birmy does offer their parma for $12 on a Tuesday night, which the Peacock does not). I'd gladly have it again ... It's kind of a relief that this parma hasn't made it to their Uber Eats yet because if I could get this parma delivered I'd probably never leave the house again.
The Little Peacock parma is like a really good tribute band that plays at a local. Sure its not quite up to par as the original, but it's still damn impressive and could probably have its own solo career one day - Plus you don't have to travel as far and the tickets are cheaper. While the Peacock won't be knocking the champion off it's perch it is still a damn fine meal in its own right and deserves a place in our top 10. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.