Thursday, 1 December 2011

Mrs Parma's

25 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC
3000

Being in Mrs Parmas really made me wish I liked beer. Watching glass upon glass of amber refreshment in every shade parade past our table was almost enough to make me order one for myself.

Interior
 
Even though it's a bar, Mrs Parmas also specialises in (you guessed it) parmagianas. It was good that we made a booking because this sleek, dark bar is incredibly popular – we witnessed a group of girls turned away at just 12:20pm!

Despite the assortment of toppings, as well as the delectable-sounding special (the Christmas Turkey parma), we decided to try the Original Chicken Parma ($23) – a basic cheese, ham and napoli covered version that leaves no room to hide.

It was a surprise to be told that if we wanted to share the parma (as we did), it will be $14.50 a person instead for the extra salad and chips. When we said to the waitress that we didn’t need the extra sides, we were informed none-too-nicely that ‘they will have to charge us for the extra plate anyway’. Oh well, no matter, extra sides are always nice.

The experience continued to go downhill when our food arrived. For what was supposedly ‘extra salad and chips’, there were but a few chips and a measly pinch of salad on the plate. And on top of that, the chips and salad were also sitting halfway under the parma. Not that I usually have an issue with that sort of thing, if it weren’t for the fact that it specifically states on their website that according to the ‘art of parmologyinvented, taught, trained and perfected by the chefs at Mrs Parmas’, the sides are never placed under the parma to avoid wilted salad and soggy chips. It was almost as if we were treated with lower standards simply because we didn’t spend 23 dollars each.

Original Chicken Parma (Half Serve, $14.5 ea)
 
Luckily, the disappointing service was somewhat redeemed by the parma itself. Beautifully golden and crunchy, and slathered with chewy cheese and tangy napoli, I had no choice but to admit it was one of the best parmas I’ve ever had. The chips were unsurprising, but the simple garden salad was fresh and crispy in a light vinegarette. And despite servings that seemed rather small, we were both full when we finished. How anyone is able to finish a full parma is beyond me.

I did enjoy the food here; the parmas are good enough to convert almost any skeptic. However, the experience left me feeling less than satisfied. I’m not usually one to complain of bad service, but it’s one thing to be snapped at when ordering a 7 dollar plate of dumplings, and another to be treated with sub-par standards when paying almost 25 dollars for a simple parmagiana. I like getting what I paid for, and that includes the service.

Rating: 10.5/20 – expensive (but excellent) parma, disappointing service.


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