The Verdict: After two weeks of excellent chicken parmigiana, normal service was resumed last night at the Alliance Hotel. One look at the Parma and it was obvious this was not going to be a good one given the burned sections of ham and the fact that neither the sauce, ham nor cheese went close to covering the chicken. One bite confirmed my worst fears for this Parma.
Chicken: The chicken in the Alliance Hotel Parma had the potential to be quite good but it was obvious from the get go that it had been over cooked. It was almost totally devoid of moisture.
Tomato Sauce: The sauce that there was on this Parma actually tasted quite nice but there was too little of it and it had a congealed consistency that pointed to it being over cooked like the chicken. Imagine the consistency of a fried egg that you have forgotten was on the BBQ while you are eating and you have it.
Ham: Finally a good sized slice of ham! BUT it was burnt in some places almost to charcoal. It is obvious that the chicken portion of the dish was left under the grill for too long. The fact that ham was part charcoal is a clear indicia of that. What was not charcoal has the Nullaboresque qualities that befouled the rest of the chicken portion of the dish.
Cheese: The cheese on the Alliance Hotel chicken parmigiana was nice but again it suffered from being over cooked and there being too little of it!
Side Dishes: This chicken parmigiana came with what I have been told is a Waldorf salad and fries (despite the menu clearly saying chips was an accompaniment). The fries were OK: they could have had a bit less salt on them but they were well cooked. The salad, sadly, was the best part of this dish. Every piece of the salad worked well to leave me wanting more.
On the plate: The chicken was presented right on the middle of the chips. I can’t for the life me work out why given this was a smaller chicken piece by comparison to others and the plate was actually quite large. Whomever is teaching chefs to plate up this way needs a smack to the back of the head!
The venue: The Alliance Hotel is a newly renovated hotel on Boundary Street in Spring Hill. It has been excellently fitted out and, sitting in the front bar at least, it is a great place to go for a drink after work or a quick meal. Punters should note the lack of TAB facilities. $19 for a smallish chicken parmigiana is probably around the mark for a venue like this. Again, I will be back but not for a Parma.
The Final Word: The chicken parmigiana at the Alliance left me feeling a bit empty and in need of two pints of soft drink to cut through the dryness. This is a great venue let down by its Parma. After the last two weeks of excellent Parma this one was a disappointment, the salad aside. Tellingly, as I write this this morning I find myself ravenously hungry so my emptiness is not just one of impression but also one of substance.