Where? - 442 Nicholson St. North Fitzroy
Price? - $16
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
Prices have been pretty high lately. We haven't tracked down a solid parma special in a while (with the exception of the Parma Knights of course, best parma special around!), and I realised its come to a rather sad state of affairs when I now think of a $20 - $22 parma as "pretty cheap".
So this week I was on a mission, A mission to find a decent parma that didn't break the bank. I went out of my way to avoid parma specials as restricting a cheap parma to only one night a week can lead to disappointment. After a bit of Google-Fu I came across the Royal Oak Hotel.
I have passed the Royal Oak many times. Smack dab in the middle of Nicholson Street we have driven past it on the way to pretty much every parma we have done in Fitzroy, Collingwood, Abbotsford and beyond - Yet it never really caught my eye as a place to try a parma. So last night we loaded up the parma bus and headed to Fitzroy North's Royal Oak Hotel.
I think the reason the Oak never caught my eye is that the exterior could use a bit of TLC. From the outside it looks like a bit of a dive - However walk through the doors and you'll find a quaint, cosy, almost country style pub in the middle of busy Fitzroy.
There were a few folks sipping on after work beers in the public bar, but we opted for the quiet Bistro instead. It was clean, spacious and even had a selection of board games to crack out on a quiet night, and if it weren't 35 freakin' degrees I would have been stoked to see multiple fire places dotted around the pub, this place could be quite cosy on a chilly winter evening.
Checked the menu for our target ...
... And placed the order. None of us were too adventurous with our sides, everyone sticking to the classic chips & salad as opposed to the mash & veggies option.
Beer selection was minimal, If you're after something crafty you might want to head elsewhere. Draught, VB, Guinness, Lashes ... I think I saw a Fat Yak, and some cider. Enough to wet the whistle, but nothing too out of the ordinary either.
After a 15 minute wait our meals appeared from the kitchen...
Imagine my surprise when this $16 parma arrived with a pure chicken breast. I thought for sure we were going to get store bought, but we were delivered a thick, plump piece of bird. The schnitzel quality was a massive plus, but also one of this parma's biggest failings as, although pure chicken, it was very dry.
The crumbs were thin and crispy around the edges, although slightly soggy in the middle where they had soaked up a lot of the napoli. Parma looked a little small on the plate, but carried a hefty thickness to make up for it.
The toppings were generally pretty solid. The cheese blend was spot on with a strong bite and plenty of it. The ham had great coverage and made its presence known. The napoli was a little light, as I mentioned earlier a lot of it had been soaked into the crumbs, but there were "napoli pockets" spread out around the parma that survived and delivered a quite flavoursome sauce.
The serving of chips was generous, plenty to go around. They were cooked well but needed seasoning. We were offered tomato sauce when the meals arrived without prompting, so points there as well.
Like the chips, the serving of garden salad was also generous. It was fresh and crisp with an adequate amount of ingredients - Could have used a splash of a more flavoursome dressing though.
I have nitpicked this parma a lot, but pretty much every complaint I have raised up can be ameliorated with the sentence "Good for the price". at $16 this is the cheapest non-parma night parma we've had in quite some time. It was by no means perfect, but for the price? Not too shabby.
If you're after a down to earth, home-style feed at a very reasonable price then it might be worth checking out the Royal Oak. It's got the vibe of a backstreets local on a relatively busy street. The staff were friendly, the vibe was fun and for the price it was a pretty decent feed.
- It's only $16
- Large servings of chips & salad
- Chicken was dry