PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
This top block of Little Bourke Street has become a foodie stretch, with the start of Chinatown merging with a number of serious new restaurants. Mrs Parma's adds another dimension. Two enterprising women who had been cooking at high-end restaurants decided to go casual and set up a bar that focused on Victorian micro breweries and served simple pub food in a good-humoured atmosphere. The place is big and open, with red-patterned banquettes on the back wall. On busy nights, no one can see them because the place is so crowded. There's a big bar from which you order drinks and food; you can pay as you go or set up a tab at the start of the evening.
Parma is the thing here. They serve chicken, veal and eggplant parmigiana with lots of variations. There are also a few other lively pub grub meals such as scotch fillet, caesar salad, or fish and chips. The parmas are a model of what they should be. Start with the classic and work your way through all the variations on that. Then you'll be ready to experiment with the meatball, asparagus and matriciana or the special of the day – which might be Swiss style, or with mustard. Parmas come with salad and chips – and beer. The beer choice is pretty serious, and a great opportunity to tour Victoria without having to drink and drive. If you're stuck try the Scotch Ale from the Mornington Peninsula and the wheat beer from Mildura. There's also gluten-free beer, wine, spirits and a bottle shop for your drinking pleasure.