Attempt #141 – ‘The Duke’

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InformationWhen? – 9th of May, 2013

Where? – The Duke, 146 Flinders st. Melbourne

Price? – $22.50

Website? –

Reviewers – Cale, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Tony, Stefo


Like a baby fresh from the womb, The Duke is brand spanking new on the Melbourne city pub scene. After a complete re-do The Duke reopened its doors on the 28th of March this year (only a month and a bit ago), and I can tell you now – they did a great job.

Before we get to the parmas, lets talk about the pub. In a word – Fantastic. An absolutely expert refit had breathed new life into this Melbourne pub – It’s funky, it’s modern yet it retains a classic feel. On the Thursday night that we visited the place was buzzing with suits who dropped in for an after work drink. Great atmosphere in the front bar, and some great looking meals coming out around the back.

I’ll be honest, I was excited. My pre-parma-beer was pulled with skill and served ice cold. However we have been fooled in the past, A good pub doesn’t always mean good parma (and its always bitterly disappointing when that is the case).

We grabbed some menus and took a seat…


Parma confirmed. Although it is worth noting that the rest of the menu at The Duke looks phenomenal – it’s not often you find a pub that serves a breakfast menu from 7am and toasted vegemite & gruyere sandwiches from 11pm until close. Do yourself a favour and check out the rest of the menu here.

We placed our order. a few moments later we were delivered the little caddy pictured below –


Cutlery, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, HP Sauce and two varieties of hot sauce (green and red). A lovely touch and greatly appreciated.

Rather than the usual schtick of counting the amount of pints between ordering the food and it arriving, we opted for a more accurate measure this week –


15 minutes – pretty good for five parmas! That’s 3 minutes a parma…

They landed on the table in front of us and we dug in without hesitation. There was some variation of shape around the table, which is a sign of real, hand crumbed chicken breast…


This was a good parma, As suspected the chicken breast was hand-pounded, a little thin for my tastes but a minor complaint. The breast was big, juicy, tasty and served piping hot.

The crumbing was fantastic. not too thick and around the edges they carried the perfect crunch. I could easily have the schnitzel on its own (without the toppings) and be happy with this meal.

Speaking of the toppings. They were basic, yet expertly executed. The napoli was plentiful, The cheese was the perfect combination of melty and golden brown and the the gypsy ham was detectable & added a lovely flavour.

There really isn’t much to criticise about this parma! On some of the rounder parmas at the table (they ranged in shape from big and round to long and skinny) the few bites at the center were a bit soggy, not nearly as crispy and delicious as the edges. But I’m nitpicking here.


The hand cut chips were also top notch. served beside the parma (thank god) they were chunky, hot and fluffy in the center. You know you’ve got a good chip when the only complaint I can think of is that I just wanted more. There weren’t many chips on the plate and the amount of chips also varied around the table, some people counting as few as eight chips (I was a bit luckier in getting 14 or 15). However, they were delicious.

The garden salad on the side was just that, a basic garden salad. However on the spectrum of garden salads, this was a good one … Mostly because it had a heap of both dressing an onion on it – two things I love in a salad, along with cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes. For a garden salad, it was good – I can’t help but wish there was a bit of variety on the plate


$22.50 for the parma we ate was a very fair price. I’d be back any day of the week and happily pay that again.

The pub is an ongoing project, With reports that they are opening a second and third level in “stage 2” later this year, definitely worth keeping an eye on.

The Duke is a must-try. Simple as that. I’ve been watching a lot of “My Kitchen Rules” lately and there is one thing they always say – If you’re going to do something simple, you’ve got to pull it off perfectly. That is the Duke’s parma in a nutshell. There aren’t any bells and whistles or fancy gimmicks, it’s your basic parma, chips and salad … yet it is a truly superb basic parma chips and salad.Give it a try.

Parma – 8.60
Chips – 8.10
Salad – 7.50
Value – 7.60
Total – 8.08

The search continues…

The Duke on Urbanspoon



  1. had lunch here with a mate,would go down as the best parma we have had so far,service was so good,and the parma was great,juicy chicken,the ham,topping and the 2 cheeses was so tasty,i managed to get mine down,but the mate struggled,couldnt finish it,the rose wine complimented the parma,was a good day

  2. Disagree. Absolutely shit Parma .. Could taste the old stale oil used to fry it. Salad was horrendous … Not even worth $10-$12 bucks at the max

    • Wow, first bad word I’ve heard about the Duke! Sorry that our opinion differs, hopefully this was just an off night/isolate incident – will have to send our spies in soon to see whats up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. OK, as we discussed on Twitter last week, I was back in town for a night, keen to parma up went along to The Duke.

    I was in the mood for a quiet site down and a read, being a solo diner and all. It wasn’t at all quiet, but, you know, not a deal breaker. The parma itself and the chips were as you say in the review – very good. The chicked was juicy, and the ham and the cheese in particular were excellent. My one criticism – it could have been served hotter. Eating it I felt I was in race against the slide to just warm.

    Did I say one criticism? I have a second. It’s no longer a salad on the plate, rather it’s a coleslaw. And I don’t swing the coleslaw way.

    Overall I was pleased, and would go back again. As I write this I’m back in Sydney, which is of course a Latin word, meaning “Land of the very bad parma”.

    • Glad you agree!
      Coleslaw can be a refreshing change if its done well, all depends on the execution – It really depends on what mood I’m in.

      And as for being back in Sydney. I’m … I’m sorry.

  4. I had my first trip to Mel last week, and based on your review I hit the Duke for a tasty Parma lunch.
    Excellent meal, the only thing i didnt like was the minted slaw.. little weird.

    The Parma was brilliant, nice coverage of cheese and sauce and double layered ham.

  5. Had the Parma here back in 2014. Like Portland Hotel near by, was a very solid Parma and enjoyable meal, but for me there just wasn’t anything special about it

    I’d still be willing to say it’s probably in my top 10 for Parma’s, but just not in the top half dozen or so. No issue grabbing it again though when I return to The Duke.

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