Where - 386 Brunswick St. Fitzroy
Price - $22
Website - http://www.saintcharlie.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
A few weeks shy of exactly a year ago, we closed out 2017 with a review of the Brunswick Street Cider House. In what could be seen as either nothing more than a coincidence or a massive kiss of death, The Cider House closed pretty much the week after our review went up, only to be reborn in January as Saint Charlie. A new pub with a new parma. As its (almost) been a year since our first visit we decided to take a trip down Brunswick Street and see how the new establishment is faring.
To my surprise they have done their best to breathe a bit of originality into the building. As much as I enjoyed the Cider House the main floor always felt a bit barren. It needed an injection of personality and that is exactly what Saint Charlies has provided. Funky booths, projector screens, a range of board games and indie art strewn across the walls really injects a bit of character into the place.
However you aren’t reading “GeneralVibeDaze”, you’re reading ParmaDaze, so we pulled up a seat and checked the menu for the evenings target…
Sorted. We placed our order at the bar with the super friendly and chatty bar staff, grabbed a pint and waited by the window looking out over the ever interesting Brunswick Street for our meals to arrive, and about 20 minutes later they did.
But! before we get to the parmas, first lets talk about the second most important thing a pub sells - The beers. (Yeah thats right I said it. Second most important. Fight me). Good news on that front! Not a massive range by any stretch but definitely enough to keep any palate satisfied. Running the full gamut from Carlton and Coopers all the way to Stockade, Prancing Pony and Doss Blockos with a few ciders thrown in for good measure. The taps rotate so I wouldn’t take anything listed above as gospel, however I doubt you’d arrive and not find anything to quench your thirst.
So yeah, anyway … Parmas.
The first thing that struck me when I saw this parma was that the schnitzel seemed a little small. Not small small, but a little less bulk than we would normally see. Not a huge issue, my wife is always reassuring me that size isn’t everything, so we picked up the cutlery and tucked on.
Holy balls this thing was hot. Steaming hot. To the point that I opted to eat the salad and chips first and let the parma cool a little. You know what? As I ate the parma and chips first let’s do things a little differently and talk about them first as well.
If the parma was a little small they definitely made up for it with the mammoth serving of beer battered fries. Also served piping hot (not as hot as the parma). Super crunchy on the outside and well cooked on the inside. If I had to pick a fault I’d say they could have used a bit more seasoning, maybe a dipping sauce on the side, But otherwise they were a solid serving of chips.
The salad was unique to say the very least. at my count we had lettuce, tomato, sliced capsicum, cucumber, shredded celery sticks and coriander leaves strewn throughout. I appreciated the celery and capsicum - not ingredients we see very often in a parma salad. I could do without the coriander though, such an invasive flavour. It could have used a little more dressing to really tie it all together. Some elements worked and some didn't, but Saint Charlie gets an A for effort for their salad.
Okay. The parma has cooled down a bit now, let’s tuck in.
As I said the schnitzel was still damn hot, but at an edible temperature now. It was pure, white chicken breast, expertly crumbed and cooked (there was a slight herb mix through the crumbs that I appreciated). The crumbs could have been crunchier, they were a bit soggy and fell away from the bottom of the schnitzel - Although I concede that could have been my fault for letting it sit and cool a little bit.
The cheese blend and ham were flavourful and great additions to the dish, the napoli was mostly lost, I would have liked a lot more so I could really detect its presence however the small amount we received left it mostly unnoticed (and it did have a bit of spice to it when tasted on its own, it just didn’t quite push hard enough).
I think $22 is an appropriate price for this parma. Not overly cheap but not taking the piss either. As far as I can tell there aren’t any parma night specials on the books at Saint Charlie so it looks like its locked at $22.
Its not without its faults, but overall I enjoyed the Saint Charlie parma. It does enough different to stand out while not being boastful. If I were in the area I’d have it again but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way for it. A fine meal in a cool bar. Worth a visit.