Where - 325 High St. Northcote
Price - $25.90
Website - https://stuzzirestaurant.com.au
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
Although we tend to avoid the cafe/restaurant parma scene as much as we can, Stuzzi has had enough buzz around it recently that it has become impossible to avoid.
Their big draw is on Monday nights, when they hold "Parmageddon Monday" - 42 varieties of parma for just $15...
That's an impressive list!
But if this isn't your first time at ParmaDaze you'll know that most of the time we are parma purists - Novelty toppings don't rev our engine as much as a good standard parma done well. Also, our parma night is on Thursday, and as we are firmly creatures of habit, Parmageddon Monday wasn't an option.
Instead we resolved to check out the parma at Stuzzi on one of the other 6 days of the week, Not the $15 special but the standard menu variety.
We arrived at Stuzzi on a Thursday night, grabbed a table and ordered up our parmas.
The restaurant itself is quite pleasant. It's a big space with plenty of tables and a quality bar dividing the large room. Stuzzi is first and foremost a cafe, with the walls, bar, and glass cases lining the walls temptation patrons with a plethora of cakes, milkshakes and other dessert items.
The tap list was fairly simple. Carlton, Pure Blonde, Steam Ale, Peroni, Grandridge and Cider - Surprisingly though, as well as pots and schooners, Stuzzi also offered any of their tap beers in impossibly tall beer towers, going for between $45 and $50 depending on the beer - Something I would expect to see at The Sporting Globe, not at a quiet little Northcote cafe.
Quick as a flash, our parmas arrived from the kitchen.
On the plate, Stuzzi's parma looked impressive. With a massive schnitzel on one side, a hefty serve of chips (90% of which had their own space on the plate and not underneath the parma) and an impressive looking portion of greek salad - We eagerly grabbed our cutlery and tucked in.
The schnitzel was hammered quite thin, I was worried at first as the edges were reaching credit-card levels of thickness, however it thickened up in the middle to a much more respectable size. I normally prefer a thicker parma - The less pounded with the mallet the better in my opinion - However many prefer a thinner schnitzel with a bigger circumference (much like the thousands that get pumped out of Mrs. Parmas on a daily basis).
After a few bites it became clear - This was a very traditional Italian style parmigiana. Not traditional as far as using eggplant instead of chicken, but traditional in the thin, pan fried schnitzel with no ham and minimal toppings. Serve it with a side of spaghetti and it'd be very similar to the many Chicken Parmesan's we have come across on our trips to the USA.
While not what we usually get, the combination of quality house-made schnitzel, flavoursome napoli and perfectly grilled cheese worked very well. I was expecting Big Parma Syndrome to kick in, but I found it mostly enjoyable the whole way through... I say mostly as the thickness of the schnitzel (or lack thereof) gives this parma a half-life of about 10 - 15 minutes before all heat has escaped and it has started to get cold. If you find yourself at Stuzzi don't stop and dilly-dally while your parma is on the table - scoff it down as soon as you can!
The beer battered chips were delightful - Fresh and crispy. Could have used a little more seasoning but otherwise perfectly fine. After the behemoth of a parma I had just ingested I honestly couldn't get through them all, this is a big feed.
The salad looked great on the plate but fell a little short when it came to the crunch - The lettuce, while fresh, was dry and the drizzle of dressing over the top doesn't impress nearly as much as a salad that has been dressed and tossed before plating, to ensure the dressing love gets passed around appropriately.
As I mentioned at the start, the real deal at Stuzzi seems to be on Parmageddon Mondays, just one look at their Instagram reveals a gorgeous gallery of novelty topped available for Monday consumption - A staggering 42 different types of parma for $15. After seeing the quality of the standard parma I'd call this an absolute bargain, and definitely one to check out (although from what I can see the Monday night parma comes with McDonald's style fries, not the beer battered chips we received last night, they're an extra $4).
As for the parma we had? There's no denying it was a huge meal, and nobody at the table walked away hungry - $24.90 is on the pricier side of things, but to be honest I'd happily pay it again for the good, honest feed we received.
Stuzzi is a weird one. While not perfect it's a hefty feed prepared with quality ingredients. Would I have preferred it with a slice of ham? Probably, although it was just fine without. Parmageddon Mondays is definitely the time to drop in. It's a family friendly venue with a large, inoffensive menu - so if you're looking for somewhere to catch up with the rello's for an event (*cough* Father's Day Sunday *cough*) then its definitely one to remember.