They claim that Young and Jackson is Australia’s most famous pub, but other than being home to a famous nudey painting, occupying one of Melbourne’s busiest street corners and having an excellent refurbishment, I’m not sure what it is so famous for.
It certainly shouldn’t be famous for its parma.
I went there today to meet Zarina for lunch as she had ducked back from Bangkok for a week. I’d never actually been to Young and Jackson’s before, despite having lived in Melbourne for 6 years. It’s been a miserable cold day, and Zarina and I had planned to meet at our usual lunchtime haunt, Brunetti, but I was in the mood for a warm cosy pub meal so we ended up at Young and Jackson.
By 12.30 I was ravenous. Given Young and Jackson’s reputation as one of THE pubs in Melbourne, I was hoping for a monster counter meal. You know, one of those lunches that make you wish you were wearing your fat pants. I was tossing up between the fish of the day in a naked ale beer batter, with chips, salad and kaffir lime mayonnaise. (Not exactly sure what a naked ale is, but it sounds a bit saucy). But I figured that as I felt like eating proper pub food for lunch, I should go with the parma.
(For any international readers out there, a parma is a chicken parmigiana – chicken schnitzel topped with ham, napoli sauce and melted cheese. It’s a staple in Aussie pubs, especially in Melbourne. Check out http://www.superparma.com if you don’t believe how big it is here).
After a reasonably lengthy wait, the meals arrived. Zarina had ordered a chicken curry, which looked a lot more ladylike than my plate. But I needn’t have been too embarrassed about having a monstrous plate of parma delivered to the table. It wasn’t that big at all, so there was no need to worry about my fat pants which were hanging at home in my wardrobe. In fact, I know many red-blooded parma lovers who would have wolfed that parma down in a split second.
And strangely enough, it had … a chicken bone sticking out of it. I kid you not – a bone! I don’t know whether they were trying to be particularly fancy-pants, or whether they were just reassuring their patrons that yes, their parmas are made from real chicken breast. But I’ve got to say – it threw me. And I am not particularly a traditionalist when it comes to food, but, as I discovered today, when I order a parma, I want comfort food with no suprises thank you.
Even I can forgive a scrimpy schnitzel and an unexpected bone, but unfortunately Young and Jackson committed the unpardonable parma sin.
They skimped on the cheese and napoli sauce. Big no no.
So I don’t think I’ll be going back to Young and Jackson’s for a parma any time soon. I think I’d have more luck with some of the other items on the menu.
Lucky for them the chips were great.