Where - 257 Keilor Rd. Essendon, but exclusive to Uber Eats.
Price - $24.90 all varieties. Chips & Salad $4 each extra.
Website - Facebook Page
I have a bit of an obsession with Uber Eats. Growing up in a time where the only food you could get delivered was pizza and … nope pretty much just pizza, the concept of having the ability to get any kind of cuisine one can think of delivered to my door is still a bit mind boggling, and chances are if I’m not out at the pub reviewing a parma I’m sitting on the couch in my trackie-dacks scrolling through the latest additions to Uber Eats (This review isn’t sponsored by Uber Eats or anything, I’m not that shrewd, I’m just really lazy).
For the newcomers, a “Crossing the Road” review is a special attempt where I sample what is on offer in the home delivered parma space, shining a light on parmas that might not normally get attention otherwise. We try not to do them too often, our most recent one was back in April, but when interesting places pop up I will definitely give them a try.
So I was doing my usual Uber Eats browsing when something caught my eye…
A parma restaurant? In my neighbourhood?! How did I let this slip by! So I looked up the address and things started to make a little more sense.
A weird phenomena has been happening with Uber Eats of late - Some cafe’s and restaurants seem to be living a double life, touting a different name and menu on Uber Eats than they do in the real world. I first noticed it when Moonee Pond’s Sir Duke cafe appeared on Uber Eats as Chick Chick, a fried chicken restaurant.
So looking up the address for Mamma’s Parmas revealed they were operating out of Mamma Lina’s, an Essendon cafe we reviewed back in 2016. Oddly enough Mamma Lina’s also has a concurrent Uber Eats listing as well, with much less of a focus on chicken parmas.
Anyway. That was a very roundabout way of getting to the point - Mamma Lina’s is going by “Mamma’s Parmas”, and has a pretty comprehensive novelty parma menu …
Now when I say “Parma Menu” I mean it because it is just that. No entree’s, no garlic bread, no drinks. Just parmas and nothing more. Each parma has the option to add chips and salad once you click into it, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
I had a decision to make! Now normally I would forgo novelty toppings and use the standard, traditional parma as a bit of a yardstick to which the other parmas are measured against … but take a look at the menu above - Which one would you consider the “traditional” parma?
The Bolognese parma? Nah because the picture has it covered in spaghetti. The Italian parma sounds the same as the bolognese parma so thats also out. The “bruschetta” parma is probably the closest to a traditional parma, just napoli sauce and cheese but I was really craving some pork on my parma tonight. I was leaning towards the Aussie parma as it was the only one with the combo of napoli, bacon and cheese but the egg wasn’t doing much for me … So I took a leap and went with the Smoky BBQ Parma.
All of the parmas are $24.90, each side (chips or salad) bumps the price up $4, so if you feel like the whole shebang Mamma’s Parmas clock in at $32.90 plus delivery.
So I placed the order and 20 minutes later a package arrived at my door. Regular readers will know that “Crossing the Road” reviews are quite photo heavy, so lets get to it…
Unpacked it looks a little like this…
Hmmm. Not the most photogenic parma that’s for sure, but even the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan, so let’s plate this bad boy up and see what we’ve got.
Okay … That looks a little better. Not great, but better. I grabbed some cutlery and tucked in.
If you’re running a parma restaurant you would think that one of your highest priorities would be a top quality chicken to work as a base for the toppings above. A lot of novelty topping parma restaurants can fall into the trap of using the toppings as a crutch to hide a lower quality schnitzel underneath, but the best of the best know that novelty toppings work best in addition to a good quality schnitzel, not instead of.
The schnitzel at Mamma’s parmas was a little disappointing. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve had, a step above a supermarket deli window style schnitzel - However it was quite thin, dry and rather thickly crumbed as you can see from the cross section below…
I will give credit to the novelty toppings as they definitely did their part to save this parma. The bacon was thickly cut and liberally applied. I find barbecue sauce is routinely over-applied when it is better when it is only lightly applied as not to be overpowering, and Mamma’s Smoky BBQ parma had just the right amount of BBQ sauce for me.
Some more cheese would have been lovely. I don’t know where all of my cheese went but I would have much preferred a heavier serving on cheese on top of the bacon. If I couldn’t see the bacon I’d be happy.
Chips are hard to judge fairly when it comes to delivery parmas, as so much of their quality is determined by how they are handled by the driver. The Mamma’s chips were fine, a little bit cold but you can’t fault them for that. A bit of seasoning wouldn’t go astray but otherwise they worked well.
The garden salad was actually pretty great. Everything was fresh & crisp and the inclusion of olives and a garlic-heavy (almost home-made feeling) dressing really brought it all together.
If the entire Mamma’s Parma was just $24.90 I would be singing its praises, but stinging an extra $8 for chips and salad is a bit too rich for my blood. With delivery my order came to $36.89, and that’s just for the parma, chips & salad - No drinks or sides. Cut $10 off that and I would be chuffed, but at its current price point I just don’t think the value is there and won’t be hurrying back.
I really like the look of the menu at Mamma’s Parmas. They’ve got some interesting takes on novelty toppings that I would be keen to give a crack if they dialled up the quality of the chicken a little bit. Hell if they put those toppings on a top quality schnitzel I would happily swallow the inflated price.
It has potential, was definitely better than our 2016 visit to Mamma Lina’s … Will be keeping an eye on it.