• An unlikely delight: Mrs Parma’s

25 Little Bourke St
Melbourne 3000
03 9639 2269

You can imagine my reaction when I was told that Mrs Parma’s was the chosen destination for our team lunch.  The Aussie pub staple of crumbed chicken topped with Napoli sauce and cheese is a must for tourists to this multicultural city, but not for me.

Trawling through the menu online I saw that whilst parmas in many variations were their speciality, they also had some other meals (like gnocchi and pumpkin salad – nothing original here, I doubted they would do either well).

I had been cynical. 

At the restaurant, as others looked through the parma menu (original with Napoli, ham and cheese; Mexican with salsa, jalepinos and sour cream; calabrese with salami, capcisicum and basil)  I read through and discovered a welcoming addition.  For the parma base you can choose from chicken, weiner schnitzel, and a very lucky third: eggplant.  Wanting to fit in with the team and try the boy’s club’s favourite, I ditched the idea of gnocchi and ordered an eggplant parma with pumpkin, fetta and basil.

The eggplant was set out flat like all the other parmas on an oval dish – you would have never guessed it was hiding eggplant.  The slices of my favourite vegetable were thin and crumbed heavily then crisped in a pan.  The tomato sugo was fresh, the pumpkin well-cooked appearing like croutons and the pesto added bonus flavour.  It was delicious.  Served with crunchy, salted chips and salad to share, I took back the disdain my presumptions had provoked.  It was brilliant.

Turning a favourite dish into a gourmet, the concept of Mrs Parm’s is original but demanded in Melbourne.  It is set up like a pub with quality food and a focus on local beers.

The outcome?  Mrs Parma's will now be on the tourist list for all my international friends visiting Melbourne.  And even better, I will enjoy it too.

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