The Verdict: The chicken parmigiana at the Shafston Hotel came with a big wrap on it from a number of sources and was met with much anticipation. Ultimately, whilst in some parts this Parma really hit the mark, in areas where it should have been easy to succeed this Parma failed and let itself down.
Chicken: The piece of chicken in last night’s Parma was the best part of the dish. It was well crumbed and well cooked which must have been difficult for the chef because it was easily one of the larger (and the thickest) chicken pieces I have had to date.
Tomato Sauce: If the chicken was the best part of this dish the tomato sauce ran a very close second. It was bountifully spread across the chicken piece and tasted excellent.
Ham: This is where this Parma started to lose its lustre. Whilst the ham was nice enough the slice of ham provided was just not big enough. At the start of the meal it was obvious it only covered about 65% of the chicken.
Cheese: Again this is a factor that should be easy to get right and again the Shafston Parma got this wrong by not having enough cheese on the chicken. Lack of coverage is my main criticism here because otherwise it was well melted and complimented the dish well.
Side dishes: To me the easiest part of the chicken Parma meal should be the salad. How hard is it to make a decent salad? The Shafston Hotel Parma’s salad was bland and did not add anything really to the meal. The chips, conversely, were good: well cooked and nicely salted.
Presentation: You know already what I am going to say here; viz, the plate was too small for the meal and the chicken rested on the chips without any room to move it off. Again: how hard can it be?
The Venue: The Shafston Hotel is a Brisbane drinking icon. Situated on Shaftston Avenue it is a short 5 minute drive from the city. It has gone through a renovation in recent years. Wednesday night is trivia night as well as $15 schnitzel night. The normal price for last night’s Parma is $23.90.
The Final Word: Cricket fans will have understood the reference in the title to Shane Watson after reading the verdict. I am massive fan of S Watson as a cricketer but he always seems to leave me a little disappointed particularly when it comes to converting 50s to 100s which a player with his talent should be able to do on his ear. The Shafston Hotel Parma left me feeling the same way: all of the ingredients for a great Parma are here BUT a couple of very easy things to get right went wrong which means this Parma will not be Brisbane’s Best.