Where - 231 Barkly St. Footscray
Price - $25
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
I first heard about the Cheeky Pint when this Reddit post popped up a few months ago. From there I kept an eye on their social media, checking in every now and then to see how things were progressing.
On Grand Final weekend they opened their doors, from what I could see the place looked great inside, yet I was still to see a menu - Until last week when they finally posted their (admittedly low resolution) menu on their facebook page, confirming my hopes that they would have a parma on the menu. From then we wasted no time loading up the Parma Bus and heading to visit Footscray newcomer, The Cheeky Pint.
Within the bones of the Barkly Hotel, the owners have done an outstanding job breathing life into the old pub.
It’s a skinny pub, the area in front of the bar (pictured above) extends through to a small dining area to the side and a street-side beer garden out to the adjoining lane. It’s not the biggest spot, but spacious enough. Kicking off parmas early this week we arrived at around 6pm to a relatively empty pub and had our pick of the tables. We grabbed one and took a look at the menu…
Aside from a few craft options on tap, the Cheeky Pint is also a brewpub, with mammoth copper tanks behind the bar tantalising patrons with their own brews. Rather than describe myself I’ll let the menu description walk you through the beers available…
Hot damn I want to try them all. It’s also worth noting that the Cheeky Pint is Growler friendly, so, like me, you can come armed with a growler and take home a serve of your favourite, so the party doesn’t need to end when you leave the pub. As far as the craft options I mentioned earlier it was nice to see the likes of Boatrocker, Two Birds and Kaiju on the guest taps, and I also was amazed to see three hand pumps behind the bar, each with craft beer options of their own.
I honestly could’t decide, so wound up springing $20 for the tasting paddle…
As far as paddles go this was one of the more generous ones I’ve had. I’ve had much more expensive paddles in my time with much smaller glasses. And they were good beers! The Perfect Change pale ale was definitely a favourite.
About 20 minutes after ordering and working our way through our paddles, our parmas arrived…
As soon as the mammoth boards hit the table I knew we were in for something special. The schnitzel was plump, the crumbs cooked to crispy perfection while the thick white chicken breast inside was extraordinarily juicy.
The massive boards meant not one element had to be stacked on the other - I know I’m going to get complaints from the meals-served-on-chopping-board haters, and I agree a plate is always a preferable option, but it was great having so much room to manoeuvre. Every element on the board had its own space, plenty of room to breathe.
The toppings were also outstanding. The abundance of fresh, chunky napoli reminded me a lot of our current 1st place holder The Birmingham. Cannot fault it.
On first glance the cheese looked a little light for my tastes, but on eating it I found it super flavoursome, perfectly gooey with great coverage and just the right amount of stretch.
The sliced ham was definitely appreciated, however I felt it could use a bit of a punch up. There was plenty of it, but its flavour was a little lost amongst the other elements of the dish, in a perfect world I would have liked the ham a bit smokier, really make its presence known.
I can already see the comments about the chips. “You only got 7 chips?!”. I thought the same when I first saw the board, but the chunky, spicy wedges were quite thick all around, it was more like eating potato quarters than eating chips. Seven was more than enough as I struggled to finish everything on the plate, and the dollop of mustard aioli served on the side was a triumph, a burst of flavour that worked great as both a chip dip and something to add a little bit more zing to the parma.
The salad is the only part of the dish I wasn’t a wrap for. It was fine, but compared to the other outstanding elements on the board it just didn’t stand up. The lettuce looked a little wilted and I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing - somehow sour and salty at the same time. The sourness did work well as a bit of a palate cleanser, but it was definitely the weakest element on the plate.
For $25 I wouldn’t hesitate returning to the Cheeky Pint for a parma. This is a top tier pub feed using high quality ingredients and I’d have no qualms shelling out another $25 any day of the week.
On the way out I got a growler full of Perfect Change Pale ale for the road and we headed home absolutely stuffed. My criticisms of the Cheeky Pint parma are minor to say the least. All in all this is a phenomenal bird that I urge you to get over to Footscray and try, or at the very least stop in for a cheeky pint on the way past.