When? – 30/8/2012
Where? – The Imperial Hotel, 2-8 Bourke St. (Corner Bourke & Spring St) Melbourne.
Price? – $24.90
Website? – http://www.bourkestreetimperial.com/
Reviewers – Emma, Fridge, Johno, Lee, Mel, Nikki, Pat, Stefo, Tony
EDIT 6/12/13 – The scores given in this review are no longer current, We re-scored the Impy at the 2013 Parma of the Year awards, check out the new scores by clicking here
Early this week I was faced with a conundrum. After a run of so/so parmas I was desperate to find one that was good. A parma that would serve as a morale booster to the review team, who I could sense was growing disillusioned by week after week of mediocrity. I couldn’t risk picking a pub at random this week so instead I asked the question on the Parma Daze Facebook page … Where can we go for a good parma?
Within a few hours I was overwhelmed with suggestions. I couldn’t decide which of them to try so I simply chose one of the responses at random… This one…
Sounded good to me! I Googled both pubs and something about the Imperial just grabbed me – particularly, the picture of the parma they have on their website…
Seperate bowls for chips and salad? A hunk of chicken that looked quality? I was sold.
I set the event and on Thursday night the Parma Bus arrived at The Imperial Hotel.
Walking into the Imperial I wondered how I hadn’t found this pub before. Cosy ambiance, 13 beers on tap, a DVD of a fireplace running on a loop and an abundance of TV’s showing various sports games; I found out later that this pub is the home of the Melbourne Liverpool Supporters Association – The Impy seems to be the place to be for you soccer fans!
They tout themselves as the “Third Oldest Pub in Melbourne” but it has been brought into the modern day beautifully while still retaining it’s old world charm, and there’s something about the view of Parliament directly across the road that fills me with a sense of pride. (ugh. Okay, I’m wanking on, I’ll get to the Parma)
Before arriving I made a booking via the online Dimmi booking system, unfortunately there was some sort of error in translation and the Imperial did not have a booking for the nine of us – Luckily the staff could not have been more accommodating, and they put together a table for us while we relaxed with a pot at the bar. It was two shakes before we were set up in the dining room perusing the menu…
Now classically giving a parma the name of your pub is a big red flag, not quite as much of a death sentence as referring to it as “Our famous chicken parma”, but damn close. With a little sweat forming on my brow we placed our orders. The parma’s arrived and I instantly knew I was wrong … this was gonna be a good’un
First of all, the plate was massive, look at the standard sized knife and forks beside it for some sort of comparison.
The schnitzel itself was a huge piece of pure chicken breast, hand crumbed, thick, juicy and piping hot. Those around the table who had schnitzels smaller than the norm were blessed with a double serving of a smaller schnitzel as opposed to the singular big one, and I’ve got a feeling that they came out with more with that deal.
Atop the golden crumbs was plenty of tasty napoli, a slice of ham that wasn’t lost amongst the other flavours of the dish and a perfect covering of golden cheese, crispy in all the right places.
I’m trying hard to come up with a negative about this parma and I honestly can’t think of any. The folks at the Imperial have come up with a truly outstanding piece of bird.
Take a look for yourself – Note: The song on today’s ParmaCam is for all the Dad’s celebrating fathers day this Sunday, have a good one guys! Enjoy the socks.
The separate bowl for the chips is always a plus, and contained within was a bowl of golden brown, well salted pub chips. Nothing extra-ordinary but for pub chips it’d be hard to ask for anything more, although gun-to-my-head a pot of aioli or tomato sauce on that exceedingly large plate would have made them spectacular.
I thought I was going to be let down with the salad as it appeared very dry in the bowl – luckily after the first forkful I discovered that the ingredients underneath (lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot) were doused in a healthy splash of balsamic dressing, turning this so/so salad into an accompaniment to the meal that more than held its own.
Enough of my chatter – what did everyone else think?
$24.90 is a little steep for a parma, but we always judge our value scores on the idea “Would I be happy to pay this much again, for what I got served?” and the answer for the Imperial is a resounding YES. Sure the price is up there but as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”, and I would be more than happy to return for this piece of bird any day of the week. Also, Over the bar I noticed a sign that read something along the lines of “Monday – Buy one parma, get another for $15”. Sounds good to me! (and if that info is wrong someone let me know – I was a few pints in at the time I read it!)
It’s clear that the folks at the Imperial care about their parma, they put love and effort into their dish and it shows. Next time you’re in the area (or not! go out of your way for this one) be sure to stop in. For public transport folks it’s right at the entrance to Parliament station, so its also easy to stagger home from after the many pints you are sure to have at this absolute gem of a pub.
Parma – 9.06
Chips – 7.22
Salad – 7.72
Value – 8.50
Total – 8.31
The search continues…