Abreast of Top Parma Ideas February 05 2010

Pub tucker at the Commercial

Herald Sun 4 February 2010, by Amelia Harris

When it comes to pub tucker nothing quite beats a chicken parmigiana, or 24 of them. Or 30. Alexandra's Commercial Hotel rated Australia's best parma pub already does two dozen types of parma and six more hit the menu yesterday.

Among the newcomers are the spudarama parma - a creamy mash potato and gravy combination - and the Hail Caesar - an egg, bacon, caesar dressing and cheese arrangement.

The Commercial's existing parmas include top seller the sunrise (bacon, avocado, semi-dried tomato and tasty cheese), bananarama parma (banana, honey, Kahlua, coconut and Swiss cheese) and Obama parma (napoli sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and cheese).

The pub can go through 110kg of free-range chicken breast a weekend, churning out 300 sunrises, 200 meatlovers and 200 Hawaiians a week.

Just three parmas - the traditional, Hawaiian and outback - were on the menu when Tanya Rusden and Paul Creighton took over the pub three years ago.

Ms Rusden said a plan to introduce a few extras had spiralled out of control.

"We said we'd stop at 24, but we can't," Ms Rusden said. "We just keep coming up with ideas so I said to the girls in the kitchen, '24 has been good, but let's take it up to 30'."

A former funeral director, Ms Rusden said the Commercial's parmas had achieved cult status.

"We had one Victorian guy who'd heard about the parmas from another Victorian while trekking in Nepal," Ms Rusden said.

"It wasn't until he'd finished and he said, 'It was every bit as good as I was told it would be' and then told us the story.

"We knew that parmas were fairly popular in pubs, but never in a million years did we expect it to get this big."

Parma.com.au founder Brad Plant said the website's reviewers rated the Commercial's parmas the best in Australia out of 453 venues.

"The chicken breast is very thick and very juicy so it's got really good flavour," Mr Plant said.

"Of course having so many different varieties seems to be mentioned in a lot of the comments."

When it comes to pub tucker nothing quite beats a chicken parmigianaWhen it comes to pub tucker nothing quite beats a chicken parmigiana