A long time ago, in the back of a derelict country tavern, a young kitchen hand got distracted counting beads on his abacus and accidentally dropped a raw chicken breast into a pile of breadcrumbs, which then rolled off the bench and onto a ham, cheese & tomato pizza, and then into an oven preheated at 180 degrees Celsius for a good halfa. And that [I’m pretty sure] is how the chicken parma was born. Since then, numerous equally delicious pub dishes have sprouted up on menus all over our city for countless year, and each one of them without fail pairs superbly with a pot of the cheapest beer on tap.
Here are Melbourne’s best pub meals.
- The Lincolnshire sausages, mash and caramelised onions at Carlton’s The Lincoln Hotel.
- The daily pie special served with mushy peas, mash and jus at South Melbourne’s The Palace Hotel.
- The market fish with braised haricot beans and fried Jerusalem artichokes from Fitzroy’s Marquis of Lorne.
- The spicy lamb shank tagine, couscous, coriander and mint salad at Coburg’s The Woodlands Hotel.
- The Sri Lankan curry with mango pickle, rice and poppadums from Collingwood’s Gasometer Hotel.
- The crumbed calamari with hand cut chips and garlic mayo from The Tote in Collingwood.
- The confit duck leg with braised cabbage and speck at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.
- The maple glazed pork belly with cheddar mash, pickled cabbage, green beans, fennel, applesauce and red wine jus at The Fox Hotel in Collingwood.
- The pan-fried barramundi with crispy Brussel sprouts, kipfler potatoes, honey, tahini, and dukkah at The Royston Hotel in Richmond.
- The 400g chargrilled great southern MSA grass fed rib-eye steak with hand-cut rustic fries seasoned with rosemary sea salt, roquette salad and sauce at The Mt View Hotel in Richmond.
- The $5 chicken parma served with Napoli sauce, cheese, baby cos salad and fried at Collingwood’s Foresters Hall.
- The Flinders Island lamb burger with fennel, black olives and roast potatoes at the CBD’s Garden State Hotel.
- The crumbed pork cutlet with fontina cheese stuffing, applesauce and lemon wedge at Collingwood’s Stomping Ground.
- The honey glazed duck breast with prune hoisin sauce and leek pancakes at the Builders Arms Hotel in Fitzroy.
- The broccoli and pesto linguini with spinach, garlic, chilli and parmesan at The Curtin in Brunswick.
- Pan-fried veal schnitzel with sourdough crumbs, Mostarda di Cremona and lemon dressed Italian slaw with Grana Padano at Lamaro’s Hotel in South Melbourne.
- The grilled fish and chips with garden salad and tartare sauce from Prahran’s Flying Duck Hotel.
- The semolina coated calamari with cabbage salad and lemon aioli at The Montague in South Melbourne.
- The Goose Island beer battered fish and chips with salad, tartare sauce and lemon at the Terminus Hotel in North Fitzroy.
- The Flaming Pie with mash potato, mushy peas and gravy at The Corner Hotel in Richmond.
- The peppered kangaroo fillet with root vegetable puree, seasonal greens and honey rosemary jus at Edinburgh Castle Hotel in Brunswick.
- The crispy skinned pork belly with cabbage, radicchio, speck and apple cider compote at Junction Beer Hall & Wine Room in Newport.
- The 300g grass fed porterhouse served on the bone with dressed leaves, beer battered chips, onion gravy and garlic butter at The Rochester Hotel in Fitzroy.
- The Italian sausages with mash, peas and brown onion gravy at Town Hall Hotel in North Melbourne.
- The lamb shepherd's pie with a chilli buttered veggie medley at the Yarra Hotel in Abbotsford.
- The pan-seared salmon and warm root vegetable salad with grilled, peppered lemon cheek, roquette, kale, goats cheese and honey roasted walnuts at The Rose in Fitzroy.
- The chicken parma deluxe with free range, house crumbed chicken breast, prosciutto, Napoli sauce, feta, tasty cheese, salad and chips at The Standard in Fitzroy.
- The pan roasted barramundi fillet with mushroom custard, bacon jam, braised leek and truffled cream from the Auburn Hotel in Hawthorn.
- The lemon pepper and oregano crumbed pork schnitzel. With mushroom cream sauce, coleslaw and chips at the Crafty Squire in the CBD.
- The steak sandwich with scotch fillet, bacon, egg, tomato, lettuce, cheese and aioli sauce served with chips and onion rings at The Great Northern in Carlton North.
- The $20 Sunday roast, and the gnocchi at Marquis Of Lorne.
- The plethora of steak options at The Station Hotel in Footscray. They all come with hand cut chips, salad, Bearnaise, and pepper sauce.
- The parma at The Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda is one that you absolutely must be getting stuck into.
While we're on the subject of pubs, here are Melbourne's best pot & parma nights.
Image credit: Newmarket Hotel | Griffin Simm