Where? - 256 Moray St. South Melbourne
Price? - $24
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
I've had a question in my mind for a while, I have posed it on Twitter a few times but never got a suitable response, and that question is "Where would I find Melbourne's highest parma?" Now calm down Cheech, by "highest parma" I simply mean the highest from ground level I would be able to partake in some chickeny, cheesy, tomatoey goodness. I thought I was onto something when The Imperial opened their rooftop deck, however after I found they made the shocking decision to not allow their parmas above ground level my dream of a parma with a view was crushed
Then a few weeks back my dream was re-ignited. I spied a post about the Water Rat Hotel their Twitter page, advertising that the sun was shining, the beers were cold and (most importantly) that they had a meals going on their rooftop deck. I pulled up the Rat's website and checked the menu...
Parma - confirmed. Rooftop deck - confirmed. ParmaBus - warming up.
We arrived at the Water Rat a little before 7 on Thursday and was surprised to find it relatively quiet. The pub itself is beautiful. Recently renovated with a spacious front bar and an intimate dining space out the back. We made a beeline for the stairs, ascended, and (past the very striking function space) found the rooftop deck.
Now, being on the second floor I don't think it's going to win any awards for highest parma, but the sun was shining, the view of our gorgeous city was grand and the pint of Stone & Wood in my hand was ice cold. Happy days. The only thing that could improve this scene? A decent parma.
Back down the stairs we trotted and placed our orders at the bar. I was delighted to confirm that it'd be no problem taking our meals on the deck, so we headed back up and basked in the Melbourne sun while waiting for our meals to arrive.
I mentioned Stone & Wood but there are plenty of other beer options on tap at the Rat. From VB to Two Birds to Mountain Goat to Schofferhofe German wheat beer - There's something to suit everyone's fancy.
15 minutes after ordering I heard footsteps on the stairs ... The parmas were here!
The schnitzel, in short, was fantastic. It looked a little small on the plate, but that was due to all of the circumference going into the thickness of the chicken. Surprisingly thick and served steaming hot, The crumbs were non-intrusive and remained crunchy throughout - This schnitzel was everything you want the foundation of your parma to be.
The toppings were mostly great as well. The napoli was heaped on with gusto and tasted freshly made with just the right amount of chunkiness. The cheese blend could have used a tad more zing to it but served the dish well and was grilled to utter perfection. The ham was there, but unfortunately was lost amongst the flavours of the other toppings - A minor complaint to an otherwise stellar parma.
I wish I could report that the sides were as on point as the chicken, but alas, this is where the Water Rat's falters a little. It's no secret that we are not fans of french fries (aka "maccas chips") beside a parma, although credit to them they were indeed served beside the parma and not underneath. For french fries they were okay. They needed a little seasoning but they were served fresh, hot and crisp at first - But the problem with fries is that they have a half-life of about 60 seconds before turning cold and rock hard. After enjoying the hell out of my piping hot parma I was left with a pile of cold, hard potato strips that weren't nearly as enjoyable as a good beer battered steak chip.
The salad, like the chips, was okay but not great. It was fresh and well dressed (with some herbed dressing that made it taste more like a garlic and herb bread than a salad... weird), But I wish it had more to it than some leafy greens and a strip or two of grated carrot.
I would gladly shell out another $24 to enjoy this parma again. Despite my whinging about the sides this parma on that rooftop with the lovely view of the Melbourne city skyline was a damn enjoyable experience that I would be happy to repeat. Advertised around was the Water Rat's Tuesday $20 Parma & Pot night, which is a fantastic deal that you should definitely jump on should you be in the area.
I enjoyed the hell out of my time at the Water Rat, I'll definitely be back for not only the parma but the majority of the rest of the menu as well, which also looked amazing. If they put a little more love into their sides this would be a real contender, but until then I'll put it in the category of "Pretty damn good". Oh, and if you have a suggestion of somewhere in Melbourne I'd find a higher parma, leave a comment below or follow any of the social media links below that to get in touch and let me know!
- Fantastic schnitzel, served piping hot
- Quality toppings
- Chips & salad need some work