Where - The Ascot Lot.
Price - 448-462 Mt. Alexander Road, Ascot Vale
Website - http://www.theascotlot.com
Reviewers – Eden, Grace, James, Lee, Nikki, Shanan & Tony,
A few weeks ago, while waiting in the queue for an Espresso Martini at the Ascot Lot, I noticed an ad flash up briefly on the TV screen over the bar. It simply said “Parmarama - 18th of May”.
At the time I didn’t think much of it, pickup up my mint chocolate Espresso Martini and went on my way.
What followed was the most intense social media barrage I have ever experienced. on Facebook, on Twitter, on Discord, Reddit, Instagram and even good old fashioned email I was getting drowned in tags, shares and @ mentions about the upcoming Ascot Lot parma festival. The press this event got was insane, parmas were a hot topic all over TV, the papers and the radio and everyone was keen on the upcoming Parmarama at the Ascot Lot.
I had a problem though, As Parmarama was on the same day as GABS - The Great Australian Beer Spectapular run every year at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, and I already had my ticket for Saturday the 18th.
I wasn’t planning on going to Parmarama, GABS was locked in and I haven’t missed a Saturday session in years. But as the pressure built I cracked and found a compromise. Like the little girl in the Old El Paso ad it hit me … “Why don’t we do both?”
This is a very long intro to say - Yes, we went to Parmarama, but we came straight from a 5 hour long beer festival, so the photos may be a little blurry and I apologise in advance for that.
We arrived shortly after 5pm and the place was packed, We grabbed some beers and started working our way through the available trucks.
First up we had “The Bearded Jaffle’ sandwich truck owned by Melbourne Footballer Max Gawn and his brothers. Their offering for the festival was “The Parma” a waffle filled with dorito crusted popcorn chicken, tomato relish, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and topped off with crispy ham. Sounds delicious? I thought so too!
Unfortunately we arrived just too late, and the Bearded Jaffle had sold out of “The Parma”. Bummer. I hope they keep the parma on the menu as that sounds damn delicious and I would be keen to track it down and give it another try.
Okay, moving on.
Next up we had “Parma Bites”, offering Popcorn Chicken parmas, We had missed out on the “beefy bolognese” style, but we managed to get an order in for the Traditional: Tempura popcorn chicken, mozzarella cheese, classic napoli, crispy bacon bits on a bed of fries. Oddly enough “parma bites” wasn’t that busy, so after a 15 minute wait our first feed of the evening was up.
Ever since KFC brought the concept to the country I have been a sucker for popcorn chicken (even though KFC’s popcorn chicken has turned to crap now), and this was a fun dish. The popcorn chicken balls were crunchy, full of flavour and actually had a surprisingly decent amount of chicken in them. The sauce was rich (could have been chunkier) and it could have been a bit heavier on the parmesan, but the bacon bits really helped a lot. For the first meal of the festival I was impressed. Definitely worth a try.
I’m gonna keep these reviews short as there is a fair few to get through… Next on the docket:
Next up we have “Just Like Nonna’s” serving up the “Italian Snack Pack”, advertised as “Chips loaded with homemade napoli sauce & mozzarella”.
Didn’t get a photo of this one, but to be honest it was probably the weakest of the bunch. It was basically loaded fries with tomato cause and cheese. I can see what they were going for but I don’t think their offering really fit into the “Parmarama” theme.
Doing a little research it appears they were planning on offering a "Parma Burger” for the day, so I’m gonna chalk this one up to us being too late and missing the main event. A shame! I would have loved to try the parma burger.
“Burrito Bae” were offering up either a “Parma Burrito” or a “Parma Bowl”. Amazingly neither was sold out. I was tempted to go the parma bowl, but after two meals that were basically a parma-esque item stacked on top of chips I opted for the Parma Burrito…
This one was super quick, after 10 minutes I was tucking in. I unwrapped the creation from its foil container and tucked in. Apologies for the upcoming half-eaten food photo but I really don’t know how one is supposed to photograph the inside of a burrito with out it looking at least a little gross.
This one was actually damn tasty. Definitely more burrito than parma with the addition of guacamole and sour cream, but there was an attempt. If they called it a “mexi-parma burrito” it would be much more accurate, as that is what the flavours were leaning towards, but it had chicken, cheese, tomato salsa and it was damn tasty. Would recommend.
Next we have the stars of the evening.
From the time we arrived until the time we left, Jake’s Kitchen were by far the most popular stand at ParmaRama 2019. The line was absolutely massive which unfortunately meant a long wait for the parmas
They were absolutely slammed, but for good reason. I did a deep dive on the Jake’s Kitchen parma a few weeks ago which you can read about by clicking here. But basically these guys have cracked the code on how to present a portable parma. A sliced pure chicken breast atop a pile of chips coated in “Jake’s special paprika seasoning”. An absolute delightful meal. My photo from the night is quite horrible (many, many beers had at this point), so here’s a repost from the last time we tried it -
Finally, we have this guy…
Good ol’ fashion Mr. Whippy, slinging soft serve ice cream since the dawn of man.
“But ParmaDaze!” I hear you ask “How can Mr Whippy join in a parma festival? You can’t make a parma Ice Cream!”
Well, dear reader … You’re half right.
Mr Whippy’s ParmaRama item was “Mr Whippy with Chicken Crimpy” Aka soft serve ice cream topped with crushed chicken crimpy Shapes…
It was … Interesting. To be honest it tasted exactly how you are currently imagining it would taste.
It was fine, crunchy, I was definitely happier once I had eaten through all the shapes and just had delicious Mr. Whippy left.
I think the concept could have been tuned a little. Yes Arnotts Shapes come in chicken flavour, but they also come in cheese flavour, cheese and bacon flavour and lets not forget everyone’s favourite - pizza flavour. Rather than just sticking to the chicken I reckon a mix of chicken, cheese & bacon and pizza shapes would have really captured that parma vibe and been a worthy addition to ParmaRama.
But in the end it was ice cream covered in crushed biscuits. I don’t think anyone was taking it too seriously.
And that’s it! We did miss “The Pickle and The Patty”, the permanent burger-slinging structure that The Ascot Lot has on the other side of the carpark, but after all of the above food and a long day of drinking we were absolutely stuffed and needed to head home for a long nap.
I would call ParmaRama a success though, The Ascot Lot and all of the participating trucks did a fantastic job of bringing their version of a parma to life. Everyone got on board and had a lot of fun with it. Was an awesomely fun evening with some great food and I really hope they bring it back for another round, definitely recommended.