Where - 12-14 Napier St. Essendon
Price - $23
Website - https://www.mrkronks.com.au
Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Stefo
It has become a bit of a tradition over the many years that we have been reviewing parmas, to start each new review by regaling you, dear reader, with the story of how a particular restaurant came to fall on our radar. Unfortunately not all reviews have such a fascinating story. As is the case with Essendon's Mr. Kronk's, for the tale of how we came across this parma is, in it's entirety -
A mate told me about it and we decided it looked pretty good.
Captivating, no? We're in talks with Paramount and MGM for the film rights.
But seriously, Mr. Kronk's was new, it was relatively local to all reviewers and from pictures I'd seen floating around online, looked like a pretty decent place.
There is a bit of a dichotomy to Mr. Kronk's. The front building is your standard Essendon cafe, where you'd pop in for you morning coffee and smashed avo - But weave through the dining room, past the kitchen and out the back and, like Princess Jasmine on the magic carpet, you'll discover a whole new world.
Tucked away behind this unassuming Essendon cafe is a fantastic beer garden (which Mr. Kronk's claim to be Essendon's biggest - a statement I scoffed at initially as it didn't seem that big, but then couldn't for the life of me think of any bigger ones in the vicinity). Pallet furniture up the wazoo and a purpose built bar of its own up the back, one could get mighty cosy up the back of Mr. Kronk's on a sunny afternoon.
We grabbed a table, checked the menu, spied our target...
... and placed our orders at the bar.
Tap list at Mr Kronk's isn't the strongest, but for what is essentially a container bar I wasn't too perturbed. Carlton Draught and Lazy Yak on tap with a few more options in fridges (Corona, Stella, Peroni, Beez Neez, Asahi, Furphy, Bicycle Beer, Mythos & Coopers light) along with a decent wine list and some cocktails on the specials board - Plenty of options to wet your whistle. However I'd by lying if I said I wouldn't have jumped on something a little craftier, had it been available.
About half an hour after ordering our parmas arrived...
I had kept my expectations relatively low for Mr. Kronk's. Although it looked like a good spot we have been disappointed time after time with "cafe parmas" - Luckily, though, this was not one of those times.
The schnitzel was top notch. Big, thick, pure chicken breast with the perfect thickness of crumb. The chicken was a little dry for my tastes, but that's a minor quibble. all up the schnitzel was a fantastic foundation to the dish.
The toppings were mostly great also - Generous servings of prosciutto were the highlight (for those who aren't big fans of the saltiness that a lot of prosciutto normally brings to a parma, don't worry - this was a very mild prosciutto, still flavoursome, but not as big of a whack of salt as you would expect). Great coverage of cheese. It looked messy, but tasted great.
I would have loved to round out my review with a glowing report to the trifecta of toppings, however my parma was very light on the napoli, possibly adding to my aforementioned critique of the dryness of the schnitzel. The other reviewers around the table didn't seem to have this issue though, so hopefully I just got a bit of a bung one. Again, a minor complaint - It was a tasty parma none the less.
Who doesn't love crinkle cut chips? Instant points for crinkle cut over here. Not a huge serving but big enough and well seasoned, on their way to top marks had they not been served a little less hot that I'd normally like them, as if they'd been sitting for a few minutes before serving. Very enjoyable none the less.
The salad was a bit of an afterthought. Lettuce and some tomato wedges. I would have loved some cucumber & red onion throughout. It was fine, just not writing home about it.
Our rule of thumb for value is "would be happy to pay that price for that parma again". $23 is pretty standard for a decent parma these days, and I cannot fault the ingredients used at all - everything was top notch. So, yeah, I'd happily drop into Mr. Kronk's for another parma at that price, no questions asked.
I walked out of Mr. Kronk's pleasantly surprised. The beer garden out the back is a great little spot and something sorely needed for the area. The food was great, the drinks were good, it was an all around great night out in a cool venue that I recommend checking out should you be in the area.