Destinations

Where to find the best chicken parmie

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It doesn’t get much more Aussie than a good old Aussie pub, and there’s no better place to get yourself some classic pub grub. Whether you’re already on the road or looking for where to travel next, make a beeline for one of these iconic watering holes – each offers an exceptional eating experience you won’t soon forget.

The Unicorn, NSW

Pub food has become pretty fancy in many parts of the country, and finding a simple counter meal is no longer easy. The Unicorn makes it easy. Located in Sydney’s Paddington, The Unicorn doesn’t just look and feel like a typical Aussie pub, it serves up typical pub fare from yesteryear (only better). The chicken parmie is served with mash and gravy, there’s only one pie (meat), and if it’s steak you’re after you can choose from Daily, Fancy, or Big & Fancy. That’s not to say the nosh isn’t top notch – the ingredients are premium grade and the food ain’t half bad.

Nindigully Pub, Queensland

By the time you get to this watering hole on the banks of the Moonie River (it’s a six-hour drive from Brisbane), you’ll be ready for an ice-cold beer and a good feed. Road-weary travellers have been refuelling here since the late 1800s, when it was converted from shearers’ quarters into a coach changeover station and then a pub. The rustic vibe has lived on and the menu is true to its roots – don’t miss the kilogram T-bone. Just don’t be fooled by the ‘free beer’ signs – a closer look will tell you free beer is only available tomorrow and yesterday.

Prairie Hotel, South Australia

This iconic pub caters as much to locals as it does travellers coming here to explore Wilpena Pound, a vast crater carved out of the desert in the Flinders Rangers. Time hasn’t completely stood still here though – the menu is nothing short of progressive. Book ahead to partake in the pub’s signature Feral Feast, where you’ll be treated to the likes of goat curry, camel sausage and kangaroo schnitzel. Less adventurous eaters are catered for, the atmosphere is welcoming, and the pub has its own home brew.

Sail & Anchor, WA

They do a mean chicken parmie at this popular old pub (and the cauliflower schnitty is worth a look too), but don’t leave without savouring some of the seafood. The fish and chips are a cut above (barramundi doesn’t come much fresher), and the prawns, mussels and lobster come in a variety of forms (from chargrilled to baked in a pie). The Freo Seafood Board makes the choosing easier – you get a bit of everything. Wash down your meal with a craft beer or glass of chardy in the heritage-listed bar, beergarden, or on the balcony overlooking the street. The Sail & Anchor is in the heart of Fremantle.

Bunyip Hotel, Victoria

This art deco charmer dates back to the 1840s and the only thing better than its location (a picturesque setting right on the Wannon River in Cavendish) is its menu. Chef and co-owner, Jimmy Campbell, is a local, but trained in high-profile Sydney and Melbourne kitchens before returning home to whip up tasty country fare at the Bunyip Hotel. The food is so local and seasonal (some of it is grown in residents’ gardens) that the menu changes daily. Any chicken parmies gracing this menu will have been given a gourmet twist.


Author

I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

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