Parma Number 46: The Aspley Hotel … Not as advertised but still pretty good!

The Verdict: There were some absolutely excellent elements to this dish that made it most enjoyable.  I confess though that when I saw on the menu this Parma advertised as the “Monster Parmigiana” I did have expectations as to the size of this meal.  Those expectations were not met though as this chicken parmigiana was pretty standard when compared with the 45 I have tested so far.  

Parma Pic: 

 Chicken: I really enjoyed the chicken piece with this parmigiana.  It was well crumbed and had been perfectly cooked.  It tasted great.

Tomato Sauce: The absolute hero of this dish was the tomato sauce.  It was plentiful and covered the chicken piece well.  It complemented all of the other elements of the dish really well and was perfect from a taste perspective.

Ham: I can not be critical of the ham on the Aspley Hotel chicken parmigiana from a taste perspective and I have to say I was pleased to see that the ham was not cubed or shredded!  My only complaint about the ham on this dish was the fact that it did not cover the chicken piece.

Cheese: My review of the cheese on this dish could almost be a cut and paste of my review of the ham.  In short: it was great in all respects but for the fact that it did not cover the chicken piece fulsomely.

Side Dishes: This is where my main criticisms about the Aspley Hotel’s chicken parmigiana arise.  I am always concerned when I see a salad come out in its own bowl: to me that connotes that the salad has been pre-prepared and refrigerated.  My concern was well founded here.  The chips were just a bit bland for my liking as well as being a bit over cooked.

Presentation: In this case a picture does tell the story.  The chicken covered almost all of the chips = enough said.

The Venue: The Aspley Hotel is in the northern suburbs of Brisbane on Gympie Road in Aspley.  Tuesday night is poker night as we discovered as we walked through the main bar.  The bistro is excellent and most meals we saw coming out were massive.  My chicken parmigiana cost $21.90.

The Final Word: This was a pretty good chicken parmigiana which had many elements that I enjoyed.  It was really let down though by two things: 

  1. The expectation that I had that it was going to be a “Monster” sized meal which it was not. 
  2. The side dishes were quite ordinary to be honest which, coupled with the coverage issues the ham and cheese had, was quite disappointing.  
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Parma Number 45: The Melbourne Hotel 

The Verdict: The Melbourne Hotel chicken parmigiana was really very good.  How good you ask? Well half way during the eating of it I was wondering if this meal was a new leader in the quest for Brisbane’s Best Parma.  Unfortunately the chips were a little disappointing which is the fault that cost this dish the “Robert Parma” Award. 

Parma Pic: 

 

Chicken: The chicken piece on this dish was excellent. It had been well cooked, was well crumbed and was of a large size.  It tasted great.

Tomato Sauce: I can not fault the tomato sauce on this dish.  It was very tasty, complimented the other elements of the dish well and provided a more than fair covering of the chicken piece.

Ham: I feel like I am repeating myself here but again there is not much more I can say other than the ham was excellent. It was a large piece which covered the chicken and tasted great.

Cheese: In what was, as has already been established, an excellent dish the cheese was the hero. I know it looks good in the photo but the photo doesn’t do it justice.  It was perfectly melted and tasted great.

Side dishes: Ignoring my usual complaint about the presence of a tomato wedge with my salad the Melbourne Hotel Parma’s salad was right out of the top drawer.  It was fresh and well dressed.  The chips, in the context of the remainder of the meal which was excellent, were a disappointment.  They were a bit bland and definitely needed to be seasoned.

Presentation: Plate size was a real factor with how this Parma was presented.  The chicken piece was resting on some of the chips but that could have been resolved by a slightly larger plate.

The Venue: The Melbourne Hotel is in Browning Street in West End.  The downstairs bar is a large open plan space that has as its hub the bar with the TAB and Bistro built around it.  My Parma was excellent value at $17.

The Final Word: Of the Chicken Parmigianas I have tested thus far the Melbourne Hotel’s version is definitely in the top 5.  The chips aside this was an almost perfect representation of what a pub Parma should be.  I will definitely be back for another Parma at the Melbourne! 

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Parma Ladder (Updated to the end of October)

Here is the current ladder in the quest to find Brisbane’s Best Parma:

Parma Ladder (to the end of October)

Parma Ladder (to the end of October)

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Parma Schedule: November

Only 2 months to go now on the search for Brisbane’s Best Parma.  Here is schedule of venues I will testing chicken parmigiana’s at in November:

Parma Schedule November

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Parma Number 44: The Crown Hotel

The Verdict: In the aftermath of a fairly ordinary day on the punt (an 80-1 winner of the Melbourne Cup was not what I expected) I was looking for a chicken parmigiana of quality to little my floundered spirits.  Whilst I enjoyed some elements of the Crown Hotel chicken parmigiana, indeed some elements were quite good, the shredded ham and the microscopic size of the chicken piece were downers that only served to elongate my post Melbourne Cup malaise.

Parma Pic:

 

Chicken Piece: The chicken piece in the Crown Hotel chicken parmigiana was well crumbed and had been cooked perfectly.  The principal, in fact the only, problem with the chicken piece was that it was quite small.

Tomato Sauce: I really enjoyed the tomato sauce on this dish.  It was the hero of this dish: it both covered the chicken piece very well and tasted great.

Ham: I continue to fail to understand the allure of shredded ham out of a packet from Woolworths (or some other such supermarket) as an accompaniment to this meal? I couldn’t taste it: enough said.

Cheese: Keeping with the theme of this dish, being a mix of great and ordinary elements, the cheese on the Crown Hotel Parma was quite good.  It was well melted and covered the chicken piece well.

Side Dishes: The salad was excellent.  It was fresh and had been well dressed.  The chips were well cooked and well salted but the portion was actually quite small.  Indeed it was small enough to almost be fully covered by the small chicken piece.

Presentation: This was a small meal, as I have mentioned before, and, despite that, the meal was still presented with the chicken piece on top of the chips.

The Venue: The Crown Hotel is Lutwyche in Brisbane’s inner north.  It is an old school put with a large TAB area and bistro.  My parma was $19.50.

The Final Word: There were a lot of really good elements to this chicken parmigiana however, getting past the shredded ham, its striking feature was that it was just a bit small for my liking.

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Parma Number 43: The Stock Exchange Hotel … sometimes the easiest things are the most difficult to get right!

The Verdict: For the first time in a while my Parma test this week was in a CBD pub, in this case the Stock Exchange Hotel.  This Parma had a lot of great elements but was let down by two of the, I believe, simplest elements of the dish: the cheese and the salad.  It also was not the most photogenic of Parmas, based on some of your comments on Facebook and Instagram.  

Parma Pic:


Chicken: The chicken piece was quite large, well crumbed and had been cooked perfectly.  It was rather thick which sometimes is not the hallmark of a pub chicken parmigiana.

Tomato Sauce: Another great element of this dish was its sauce.  It covered the chicken piece well and tasted great.  It complemented the elements of the chicken part of the dish very well.

Ham: Despite it not being the most photogenic piece of ham sampled this year, the Stock Exchange Parma’s ham was the hero of the dish even though coverage wise it was a little deficient. The piece of ham was folded over to fit it on the chicken piece and tasted great.

Cheese: Surely melting the cheese on a chicken parmigiana is the easiest part of the dish?  The cheese on the Stock Exchange chicken parma had the taste and consistency of a melted piece of processed cheese.  Coverage of the chicken piece was also an issue.

Side Dishes: The other element of a chicken parmigiana that I would have presumed would be fairly simple to get right is the salad.  Unfortunately the salad on this chicken parma was very ordinary.  Bland and without dressing it really took away from the other side dish, the chips, which were fantastic.  The chips were well salted, plentiful and crisp. 

Presentation: This chicken parmigiana was quite large and, unfortunately, was squashed into a fairly small plate.

The Venue: The Stock Exchange Hotel is a pub in the Brisbane CBD.  It was completely revamped in 2014 with new ownership, management and a refit of its bars and kitchen.  The public bar and TAB area is quite large for a CBD pub.  The chicken parmigiana cost $22.

The final word: The Stock Exchange Hotel is one of the premium pub venues in Brisbane.  Unfortunately, its chicken parmigiana did not match the quality one associates with such a venue.  It had some excellent elements but the very ordinary cheese and the even worse salad ruined any prospects this offering had for the crown of the “Robert Parma”.

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Parma Number 42: Stones Corner Hotel … Gazpacho on chicken does not for a good meal make!

The Verdict: I had extremely high hopes for the chicken parmigiana at the Stones Corner Hotel after receiving some pretty good wraps for it in advance of the parma test.  It would be fair to say two things: first, there is great potential in the Stones Corner Hotel chicken parmigiana BUT second, in order for that potential to be reached the ham / sauce / cheese elements have to stay under the grill for longer. 

Parma Pic: 

 

Chicken: I really enjoyed the chicken piece on this meal.  It was well cooked and well crumbed.  It was the hero of this dish.

Tomato Sauce: This is where it started to become obvious this chicken parmigiana had been under grilled.  The sauce was cold.  Gazpacho on a chicken piece is how I would describe it and it was not good.

Ham: The ham on the Stones Corner Hotel chicken parma was really good save, again, it suffered from not being under the grill for long enough.  It covered the chicken piece well and tasted great.

Cheese: Keeping with the theme of this review the cheese was obviously under grilled and under melted.  Nothing more needed to be said really.

Side Dishes: Where some of the key elements of the chicken aspect of this dish were under cooked, the chips on this dish were cooked very well and tasted great.  My only criticism of the chips would be that they needed some salt.  The salad was well put together and well dressed.  

Presentation: The presentation of this chicken parmigiana was a little strange in the sense that the plate was massive and the elements of the dish were all stacked on top of each other.  The chicken piece was resting on both the salad and the chips.

The Venue: The Stones Corner Hotel is located on Logan Road in Stones Corner.  It has been recently renovated and is another of those pubs in Brisbane that now offers only craft beer on tap.  It has a full schedule of events including trivia and comedy nights.  My parma was a little expensive at $22.

The Final Word: This offering in the quest to find Brisbane’s Best Parma had significant potential but was let down by the execution.  If it had have been under the grill for a bit longer it would have been really good but as it was some of the key elements were presented cold and under done.  

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Parma Number 41: The Elephant Hotel

The Verdict: The last time I was at the Elephant Hotel a legend was born when a friend fell asleep in a stall.  Whilst the Elephant Hotel Chicken Parma was pretty good it certainly did not reach such legendary heights.  A lot of the elements of this dish were quite good.  Unfortunately, the chicken piece was a little dry and not well crumbed and the cheese was somewhat lacking.

Parma Pic:

 

Chicken Piece: The chicken piece on the Elephant Chicken Parma was quite a large piece.  The crumbing of the piece was quite sparse and the chicken piece was a little over cooked which left it a bit dry.

Tomato Sauce:  I really enjoyed this element of this dish.  The sauce was full of flavor, covered the chicken piece well and cut through some of the dryness of the chicken piece.

Ham: Whilst the slice of ham did well to cover a large portion of the chicken piece with this dish it was quite a thin slice and taste wise was largely redundant against such a hearty tomato sauce.

Cheese: Whilst the cheese might not look great in the photo and did not go far enough to cover the chicken piece it actually tasted quite nice.

Side Dishes: I really enjoyed both the chips and salad on the Elephant Hotel Parma.  The salad was a coleslaw that was quite tasty and a very large portion.  The chips were well cooked, well seasoned and tasted great.

Presentation: Given the size of the chicken piece it was always going to be difficult for all of this food to fit easily even on a largish sized plate.  The plate though at the Elephant Hotel was a standard size and thus the chicken piece ended up covering the bulk of the chips.

The Venue: The Elephant Hotel is on Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley.  I remember it from many years ago as a classic Valley pub with great live music.  It has gone through a large renovation since the last time I went there and now possesses a large outside eating area.  TAB and bottle shop facilities are available.  My Parma cost $21.

The Final Word: As I said in the preamble, this was actually a pretty good chicken parma.  A lot of the elements were really quite good however the dryness of the chicken piece and the thinness of the ham where real negatives.

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Parma Number 40: Geebung-Zillmere RSL … it was an RSL Parma = enough said

The Verdict: At first blush this was not a very good chicken Parma for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost at the point of ordering I was directed to pick up my salad from a fridge which meant I had it 15 minutes before my meal came.  Add to that the fact that there was no ham and this Parma was never going to rate highly.  It is important to note though that Parma was comparable in quality with those other Parmas that I have trialed so far from RSLs. 

Parma Pic:


Chicken Piece: Size wise this chicken piece was one of the larger ones I have tested so far.  It was well cooked and crumbed.  I have to say though it did have the consistency of a chicken burger pattie from a fast food restuarant: just larger.

Tomato Sauce: The absolute hero of this dish.  The sauce provided a great coverage to the large chicken piece and tasted great.

Ham: Missing … enough said.

Cheese: There was a good covering of cheese on the G-Z Parma and it was well melted.  This element complemented all of the other aspects of the dish very well.

Side Dishes: Both the chips and the salad were disappointments.  There just was not enough chips and when the came out they were already a bit cold.  The salad was taken by me directly from the fridge.  You could tell on the eating of it because it was still cold 15 minutes after I collected it.

Presentation: As the salad was procured in a seperate bowl from the fridge a large portion of the very large plate this meal was provided on was redundant.

The Venue: The Geebung-Zillmere RSL is a largish RSL located in Geebung, quite close to the railway station.  It has a number of bars, two eating venues and a phalanx of pokie machines.  My parma was, to be fair, over priced at $24 (as a non-member).

The Final Word: Judged against all of the other chicken parmigianas I have tried so far this was pretty ordinary.  It lacked ham and the side dishes were not great.  The price point on this parma was also a quite significant negative.  That said, if you are going to the Geebung-Zillmere RSL with expectations of having an RSL Parma then the lack of ham aside you will not be disappointed.  

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Parma Schedule: October

39 parmas down means there are 11 to go on my quest to find Brisbane’s Best Chicken Parma.  Here is the schedule of parma tests for October:

Parma Schedule October

With such a short time to go, if you have a venue that you absolutely demand that I test out please feel free to make a comment with the venue name on this post or email me at brisbanesbestparma@gmail.com.

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