Don’t be misled by the checkerboard tiles; Parlour Diner isn’t just another American diner. The restaurant and bar, nestled in between the shops opposite Windsor station, takes the best of the States’ cuisine and fuses it with Melbourne’s atmosphere to create a fuss-free environment that’s perfect for chowing down on a burger or delicious piece of fried chicken.
Owners and operators, Naoko Iizuka, Niels Bienas and Tom Hughes, met more than 10 years ago and each boast more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Both Naoko and Niels refined their skills as former managers at the Galleon in St Kilda, while Tom had a number of head chef stints in restaurants all over the south side of Melbourne. Having always dreamed of working for themselves, they saw the opportunity with Parlour, providing the locals of Windsor with a spot to get their fried x.
As Head Chef, Tom has created a menu full of produce from local businesses, creating a good relationship with each of them. Each beef burger is packed full of 100% grass-fed Victorian beef, while the chicken varieties are created with free-range chicken.
Parlour’s signature dish is the eponymous burger, featuring the classic combination of an 8-ounce beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese and pickles. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore everything else on the menu. The Captain is an opulent alternative – it’s got all the good stuff from the Parlour burger, as well as egg, bacon and sweet onions. There are also some left-of-centre options that demonstrate the ‘Melbourne’ influence: the Asian Pork slider is a delicious mix of Asian style pulled pork, slaw, tomato, pickles and chipotle, while the Miss Saigon features a handmade fish patty, lemongrass, ginger, Asian herbs, tomato, slaw and pickles.
Fried chicken connoisseurs will be jumping for joy at the satisfying choices, including Blue Ribbon Crispy Fried Chicken and the must-try Chilli Buffalo Wings, both served with curly fries, salad and sauce.
Vegetarians shouldn’t turn away; the Earth Burger will have the staunchest of carnivores salivating, with tofu, Portobello mushroom, avocado mash, halloumi, roast tomato, lettuce and pickles.
Pair your plate with a milkshake – they’re as decadent as the dishes. Choose between the chocolate peanut bu er milkshake, Oreo, or the old-school choc malt for a perfect milky pairing. But be sure to leave room for dessert; you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss out on the Swingle key lime pie – a chocolate- covered version of the American classic.
The Parlour Diner is most American in its décor – the checkerboard tiles sit under the authentic wooden bar running down the length of the space. Old-school bar stools follow the bench top, giving you a prime position to check out the drinks behind the bar. For a slightly more removed spot, settle into the vinyl benches for an American invasion that has Windsor locals and visitors lining up out the door.