The Verdict: Last night’s chicken Parma was imbibed with my junior Parma correspondent Davo and he summed this one up pretty well … “This is perfect Uncle Steve … Except for the salad!”. The bad salad coupled with a few other minor issues ensures the Gap Tavern Chicken Parmigiana will not win the “Robert Parma”.
Chicken: I will be honest here and say that when the meal first dropped in front of me I thought the chicken looked over cooked and dry. It would be fair to say that some of the outer crumb shell was very crisp however the chicken inside was cooked perfectly.
Tomato Sauce: One of the best tomato sauces I have tested so far the GT Parma tomato sauce was very rich and tasted wonderful. It was also abundant and covered the Parma well.
Ham: On what was a moderately large chicken piece the ham provided broadly covered it. Even more impressive the ham cut through what was a large amount of cheese and sauce to provide its own flavour to the dish. It wasn’t drowned out by its more obvious counterparts.
Cheese: Dare I say it but this is close to the best cheese I have tried in my quest. The picture does not do it justice. Well melted, tasty and thickly covering the chicken this cheese nailed everything I look for!
Side Dishes: The chips on my chicken Parma were quite nice if only just a touch cold when they came out. That coldness did not take away from there crispness or how well they were salted unlike some other chips that have been presented to date. The salad was a massive disappointment: again what was plated looked and tasted like it had been in the fridge too long. The lettuce in particular was quite rubbery. Add to this the fact there was no dressing on the salad and simply put, I could not finish it!
Presentation: I am a broken record I know but again this meal came out on a plate too small to fit all of its elements without the chicken resting on the bulk of the chips.
The Venue: The Gap Tavern is an icon of suburban Brisbane drinking and pub food nestled in the hills of the upmarket inner north west suburbs. If you are in the Gap / Ashgrove area I can not think of anywhere else you would venture to be honest for a beverage. It has a very diverse menu in the restaurant. My Parma cost $22 which felt about right given its size.
The Final Word: Homer Simpson once chanted whilst part of a conga line “You don’t win friends with salad” and, as always, the great man was right because salad is often the forgotten part of any dish. Unfortunately this quote also applies to the Gap Tavern Chicken Parmigiana because it would have landed much higher on the Parma ladder but for its salad not winning me or the Junior Parma reviewer (Davo) over!