Who makes Melbourne’s best parma?
Ask the loyal fans of The Cheeky Pint, and they’ll tell you that there’s no competition – the chicken parmigiana at the Footscray brewpub is a cut above the rest. The crowd favourite has even made the best parma lists of Broadsheet, Urban List and Concrete Playground.
“We have little secret ingredients which I can’t share with you – but I can tell you that everything is done from scratch with our parma,” grins Mitchell Peacock, the co-owner of The Cheeky Pint. “We butterfly all the chicken breasts in house with panko breadcrumbs. Our Napoli sauce takes around six hours to simmer. You can’t rush something that takes care, that takes love.
“Controversially, for some people, we place it on a board. We have to though! It’s so big that it doesn’t fit on a plate once you add the cos salad and crispy wedges. You need the board’s real estate.
The Cheeky Pint has not only made its reputation on an outstanding parma – the combination of excellent food and small batch beers has punters coming back again and again.
After many years of being a beer rep, Mitch had a dream to create his own brew and to have it served in his own venue.
“Often beer companies don’t have a venue; the attitude is that the beer is a product that drives everything. On the other hand, I believe that the venue is just as important as the beer.
“So I wanted to brew my own beers and serve them in a fitting venue – and I felt there was a gap in the market for a good quality beer pub in the area.”
When the opportunity arose to take over the site of the historic Barkly Hotel in 2018, the West Footscray local and his wife Simone grabbed it with both hands.
At The Cheeky Pint, Mitch uses the onsite copper tanks to brew five core beers, sometimes six, depending on their seasonal brew or collaborations with other breweries.
Asking Mitch to pick a favourite beer is like asking him to pick his favourite child, he laughs. But he might suggest the Perfect Change Pale Ale, the beer that inspired him to make the jump and give the business a go.
When fitting out The Cheeky Pint, Mitch harks back to his memories of growing up in the UK.
“We wanted to fit in with the historical style of the original building while having a vibe like a classic British pub.
“The ‘cheeky pint’ is a very English phrase. It’s a beer or a drink before, in between, or after existing obligations. It can mean whatever you want it to mean, but it’s the spontaneity of walking down the road, the sun shining on you, you’ve got half an hour to yourself, or you might be with a friend and saying, ‘hey, do you want to have a cheeky pint?’
“I find a lot of those experiences where you just take the road less travelled are probably the best experiences. That’s what we want to create here.”