Where - 51 Brunswick Street. Fitzroy
Price - $24 full parma, $21 halfa parma
Website - http://www.theworkersclub.com.au/
I visit the Workers club exactly once a year, in May, on the annual post-GABS pilgrimage that takes us from the Royal Exhibition Building to somewhere in Fitzroy (We usually end up at The Fitzroy Beer Garden or Foresters) - But the Workers is always our first port of call.
While it is usually a little fuzzy after an afternoon of drinking craft beers at the Exhibition Building, one thing I always do is check the menu to see if they have a parma, then proceed to make a mental note to drop in for a review sometime after we've sobered up - a mental note I promptly forget.
Well it's been around 10 months since last year's GABS, but I finally remembered to check out what kind've parma The Workers Club has on offer.
The Workers is a cosy pub. I'd call it a "backstreets local" but being on the corner of Gertrude and Brunswick St's is hardly "backstreets" - yet it retains that vibe. The Workers feels like an old school pub, yet modernised at the same time.
The Workers is a pub of many rooms. Front bar (pictured above) is the main event, but there is a quieter dining room out the back, a band room for musical acts, a room seemingly dedicated to a lone pinball machine and a spacious beer garden out the back for beers in the sun.
We grabbed a seat in the front bar and checked out the menu
So ... How hungry are you? The Workers offers a full sized "Workers Parma" for $24 and a half-sized "Halfa Parma" for $21. (and a schnitzel ... but who wants a plain old schnitzel?)
There were only two of us dining at our Workers review, myself and Reviewer Nikki. I opted for the full sized parma while Nikki, who rarely finishes a full sized parma, thought the Halfa parma would be just right for her. We placed our orders at the bar and awaited the arrival of our meals.
Tap list at the Workers has struck a perfect balance between traditional beers and craft options. A blackboard up beside the bar shows the current tap list (which, of course, I forgot to take a photo of last night), but with plenty of options for both the craft an non craft drinker, as well as a damn impressive selection of tinnies available, there will be something for any patron to wet their whistle.
About 15 to 20 minutes after ordering our parmas arrived...
First up - The Halfa Parma is literally that - Half a parma. The serving of salad and chips is exactly the same as the full parma, just with a half sized schnitzel (who'da thunk it?)
The schnitzel itself was impeccable. The purest white chicken breast, served juicy and piping hot. The Workers Parma was impressively sized. After finishing this beast I could barely move. The crumbing was light and crunchy where it needed to be, the chicken was cooked to perfection - To be honest I don't think I can fault this one. Schnitzel perfection.
The toppings were mostly fantastic. Almost 100% coverage of cheese, grilled to an ideal golden brown. It took me a second to find the ham as it only covered about 3/4's of my parma, but when found it added a light burst of smokey flavour to the dish.
Literally my only criticism of this parma is of the napoli. There was plenty of it and it was choc full of flavour - however it was quite sweet, almost as if a cup of sugar had fallen into the pot. It didn't ruin the dish, not be a long shot, but it definitely detracted from my enjoyment slightly.
Chips were a triumph. Massive serving. Beer battered. Piping hot and well seasoned. People criticise pubs for stacking the parma on top of the chips, however with the size of the Workers Parma and the sheer amount of chips with it you'd need two full sized plates to fit them all un-stacked. Fantastic.
The salad was pretty good, but not the strongest element of the dish by far. The garden salad was loaded with plenty of onion, cucumber, tomato and was topped with a tasty dressing, however it was still just a garden salad. Nothing bad about it at all, but nothing to write home about.
I'd pay $24 for this parma again tomorrow I was completely happy with almost every element on the plate. As the quote above indicates, Nikki was a little less pleased - Talking later she said that she would have enjoyed a little more parma and a little less chips and salad, but followed it up by saying she should have ordered the full parma anyway.
As far as parma nights go there isn't a specific one at the Workers, however Wednesday Nights offers all main meals for $15 - Parmas included, which is a fantastic deal in my book.
I really enjoyed this parma. The more I reflect on it the more I realise how hard it is to fault. It was a fantastic feed that I urge you all to check out, and I'll definitely be stopping in for a parma after GABS in a few months.