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Wendy Hargreaves lists ‘five of the best’ chicken parmas in Melbourne

3aw afternoons

Is the humble chicken parma the ultimate flavour combo?

When the sweet Napoli sauce is offset by the salty umami of ham and molten cheese, and it’s all brought together by a succulent chicken fillet coated in something suitably fried and crunchy, what’s not to love?

This weekend, Ascot Vale’s food truck haven The Ascot Lot will be celebrating all things parma, from parma burgers and burritos to popcorn chicken parma, along with vegan, vego and gluten/dairy-free versions. And you can wash down every parma purchase with a $10 espresso martini, or $10 jugs of house lager or cider.

Best of all, dogs are welcome at The Ascot Lot.

But if you’re looking for an old fashioned pub parma, here are five of the best in Melbourne.

BIRMINGHAM HOTEL

333 Smith St, Fitzroy, (03) 9417 2706

Thick and juicy chicken and a delicious Napoli sauce put this parma at the top of the list, along with a lively salad and some world class chips. Best to go on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, when you get this miraculous parma for $13 at the corner of Smith and Johnston streets.

THE EXCHANGE

39 Bay St, Port Melbourne,  (03) 9810 0058

Highly recommended by fellow food hunter and 3AW regular Luke Dennehy, the Exchange offers a “petite” parma ($20), which always satisfies, or the regular size ($26) for bigger appetites, with chips on the side with the salad.

The thickness of the chicken is perfect and it’s freshly crumbed and cooked. From next week, get the big parma for $18 with pub trivia from 7.30pm.

IMPERIAL

2-8 Bourke St, Melbourne,  (03) 9810 0062

For those who can’t decide between a parma and a pizza, the Impy has come up with a controversial option – the parma pizza ($27, or $32 with two pots). This is made for sharing, and fun to eat.

THE WORKERS CLUB

51-55 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, (03) 9415 6558

This lovely old pub is one of Fitzroy’s live music hubs (on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude) but you can also find an excellent parma (pictured above, full $24 or half $21, depending on your appetite). Wednesday s are Parma Night ($15), when you can also try eggplant, Mexican, bacon/egg or peri peri parmas.

RACECOURSE HOTEL

895 Princes Hwy Service Rd, Malvern East, (03) 9571 2154

This Panko-crumbed parma is not cheap at $27, but the combo of smoked ham, sweet Napoli sauce and melted mozzarella is always bang on with a fresh little salad and crispy chips. Consistently good.

AND ALSO…

BRANDON HOTEL

237 Station St, Carlton North,(03) 9347 2382

The Brandon does a fine parma, but gets extra points for offer a $16 special every Saturday (normally $24), and you get a free pot of draught or a glass of house wine. The parma comes with always-crunchy beer-battered fries and fresh garden salad

Wendy writes online at fiveofthebest.com.

3aw afternoons
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