Parma Number 49: The Stafford Tavern … Slip sliding away!

The Verdict: When this chicken parmigiana came out my first impression was that it was “why is the sauce on top of the cheese”. Sadly things did not improve from there with the bulk of the cheese and sauce sliding off the chicken piece due to the angle it was presented on the plate. 

Parma Pic:

Chicken Piece: This was a very large chicken piece that had been well crumbed and was cooked well.  I can not fault this aspect of the dish.

Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce was placed on top of the chicken piece, ham and cheese almost as an afterthought and then proceeded to slide off the chicken when I cut into it.  If it had have tasted ok I could have forgiven these aesthetic problems but unfortunately it was also a bit bland.

Ham: Whilst the ham on the Stafford Tavern Parma tasted great there was just not enough of it.  It did not cover the chicken piece and left me wanting more!

Cheese: Gravity was not the cheese’s friend given that most of it ended up off the chicken piece on the edge of the plate with the tomato sauce.  I sense though that even if this hadn’t have been a problem there would never have been enough of it.

Side dishes: The salad on this dish was its hero but with a massive caveat.  The fact is I love capsicum and onion and this salad was probably 50% those elements so if you do not love these flavours this salad may be problematic for you.  The chips were obviously from the bain marie rather than freshly cooked and were a bit bland.

Presentation: I think you know what I am going to say already but I will say it anyway … The chicken portion of the dish was placed at a jaunty, meal deconstructing angle over the chips.  It simply did not fit well on the plate.

The Venue: The Stafford Tavern is a large hotel in the suburb which gives it its name.  There is a large TAB facility on site and car parking is plentiful.  My chicken parmigiana  was $17.  I should mention the compliment garlic bread which came with our meals which was excellent.

The Final Word: This was a pretty disappointing chicken parmigiana to be honest.  Aesthetically it was less than pleasing and lack of quality in the some key elements also let it down.

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Parma Number 48: Oxford 152

The Verdict: There were some very good elements of the Oxford 152 chicken parmigiana however it was let down by its side dishes.  Cold chips and a bland salad undid all of the excellence that came from the chicken elements of the dish. 

Parma Pic: 

 

Chicken Piece: The chicken piece of the Oxford 152 chicken parmigiana was very good.  It had been well crumbed and cooked perfectly.  It tasted great.

Tomato Sauce: As good as the chicken piece was the real hero of this dish was the tomato sauce.  It was one of the best sauces I have had on my search for Brisbane’s Best Parma.  Enough said.

Ham: The ham was the weakest part of this aspect of this dish.  It was quite a thin piece of ham that did not cover the chicken piece.  Taste wise it was overpowered by the chicken, sauce and cheese.

Cheese: The only weak link of the cheese on this dish was that it did not cover the chicken piece fully.  On the positive side it was well melted and tasted great.

Side dishes: Unfortunately both aspects of the side dishes were quite weak.  The chips, or better put shoestring fries, were cold.  I suspect they were not fresh or had been sitting in a hot bay for some time before being plated.  The salad was quite bland and could not be saved by the dressing which was quite nice.

The Venue: Oxford 152 is on Oxford Street in Bulimba in the inner east of Brisbane.  It has a large bar area coupled with a formal (ish) restaurant area with a diverse menu.  My chicken parmigiana cost $23.

The Final Word: This was a pretty good chicken parmigiana that was let down by the ordinariness of the side dishes and wafer thin piece of ham which is a shame because the other aspects of the meal were really very good. 

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Parma Number 47: The Criterion Tavern … when 4 bites of chicken was too much!

The Verdict: I can not recall ever during the last 46 parma tests not finishing the chicken piece that forms part of the meal.  That changed at the Criterion Tavern with parma number 47.  The other elements of this dish were actually quite good however the chicken piece, I am sad to say, tasted terrible.  So much so I found myself peeling off the ham, cheese and tomato sauce to imbibe them separately. Enough said.  

Parma Pic: 

 

Chicken Piece: The title of this post speaks for itself.  I could only get through four bites of the chicken piece.  I confess that I have never tasted anything like the Criterion’s chicken piece.  I do know it did not taste like any chicken I have ever eaten.  I will leave it at that.

Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce on this dish was actually quite nice.  It covered the chicken piece well and tasted great.  It combined with the cheese and ham well.

Ham: I originally thought that the problem with my meal, which ended up being with the chicken, was the ham.  How wrong I was!  Once I separated the ham from the chicken piece I found it to be excellent.  It covered the chicken piece well and tasted great (yes I know I am repeating myself).

Cheese: This was another element of the Criterion chicken parmigiana that was really quite good.  There could have been a touch more of the cheese on the chicken piece but it was well melted and complimented the ham and sauce well.

Side Dishes: The Criterion does not offer a set menu for the side dishes for its chicken parmigiana and that meant I got to choose between salad and coleslaw.  I went with the coleslaw and I found it be very nice.  It was crunchy and fresh.  The chips had been well cooked and tasted great.  My only criticism of the chips would be that they needed more salt.

Presentation: This meal was presented quite well.  The chips and salad were in their own bowls and the chicken piece was not on top of any of the elements.

The Venue: The Criterion Tavern is on the corner of George Street and Adelaide Street in the Brisbane CBD.  It is a largish bar with a good range of beers on tap and well appointed TAB area.  My chicken parma cost $16.50.

The Final Word: This chicken parmigiana had many excellent elements and if the chicken piece had have been close to the mark it would been in the top ten of the parmas I have tried thus far.  The chicken, not wanting to belabor the point, did not taste like any chicken I have had before.  

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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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