Parma Ladder (updated to the end of September)

Here is the Parma ladder as it stands at the end of September’s five parma tests:

Parma Ladder September

I should apologize for some errors in last month’s Parma ladder which saw some entries from previous months overwritten by the author.  Rookie errors those which have been rectified now!

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Parma Number 39: Archive Beer Boutique … don’t let the photo fool you!

The Verdict: When the this parma first came out I raised an eyebrow at the salad portion because, to be frank, I did not think it looked very good.  Whilst eating the Archive Beer Boutique parma it became apparent that my impression was correct and the weakest link in this meal was indeed its salad.  All of the other elements were difficult to fault. 

Parma Pic: 

 

(Please forgive the terrible photo.  One would think that after taking 38 photos of chicken parmigianas already I would be better at taking such photos but clearly I am not!)

Chicken: Don’t be fooled by how small this chicken piece looks in the photo as it was quite a large portion.  It was also very well cooked and crumbed nicely.

Tomato Sauce: The Archive parma’s tomato sauce was right up there with the best tomato sauce I have trialed during this search for Brisbane’s Best Parma.  There was a large amount of it and it tasted great.

Ham: Whilst the sauce was up there with some of the best so far, the ham was the real hero of this dish.  Thick slices of ham which covered almost all of the chicken and complimented all of the other elements perfectly taste wise equal exactly how the ham on a chicken parmigiana ought be!

Cheese: The cheese was perfectly melted and had a nice mix of herbs through it.  It covered the chicken piece very well.

Side Dishes: The chips were close to perfect.  They were well cooked, well seasoned and tasted great.  The salad was a major let down.  When it came out I suspected that cling wrap had just been taken off it and it was fresh from the fridge; so it proved in the eating.  It was small and fairly tasteless.

Presentation: This chicken parmigiana was served on a massive plate.  It was bizarre then that the salad was served in a small bowl on the plate and that some of the chicken was resting on the chips.

Venue: Archive Beer Boutique is on Boundary Road in West End.  It has a large amount of beers on tap and a bistro with a broad menu.  Tuesday night is trivia night at Archive.  My parma cost $23.

The final word: The terrible photo I took made this chicken parmigiana look worse than it actually was.  All of the elements but for the salad were quite good and if the salad had have met that standard this meal might have been a challenger for the “Robert” Parma.  However it was not be!

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Parma Number 38: Kedron Wavell Services Club … when a photo isn’t worth a thousand words

The Verdict: I have been told a few times this week that the photo I posted on the Brisbane’s Best Parma Instagram of the Kedron Wavell chicken parmigiana looked really good.  What a shame that the image posted was deceiving in almost every respect.  This was not a good chicken parmigiana. 

Parma Pic: 


Chicken: I can barely recall having had a dryer more overcooked piece of chicken since I started searching for Brisbane’s Best Parma.  It had the consistency of cardboard and proved extremely difficult to even cut through.

Tomato Sauce: In the search for something positive to say about this chicken parmigiana I am prepared to confess that the sauce on this parma was actually pretty good however there was just not enough of it.

Ham: Where was it? There were some small slivers of ham amongst the melted cheese but it was in no way enough.  That meant that I could not really taste it and that is almost as bad as if it had have tasted terrible.

Cheese: The other minor positive of this dish was the fact that there was a significant amount of cheese melted on the chicken piece.  It tasted quite nice.

Side Dishes: This is one particular area where looks were definitely deceiving with this dish because, despite the chips photographing well, they were, for the most part cold.  The salad was bland and had the texture of having been in the fridge for a couple of days too long.

The Venue: Kedron Wavell Services Club is situated, effectively, next door to the Chermside Shopping Centre in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.  It is a Returned Services Club which has clearly expanded over time off the back of pokie machine revenue.  Two restuarants on the ground floor are available, one a bistro and the other a buffet.  Parking is plentiful.

The Final Word: All in all this was a very disappointing effort.  There was not a particular element of the meal that was worse then the others: they were all a bit below par.  Enough said really! 

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Parma Number 37: The Jubilee Hotel … An $11 Parma worth every cent 

The Verdict: The most impressive thing about the Jubilee Hotel’s chicken parmigiana is the price. At $11 that price can not be beaten.  That said though, from the dry over cooked chicken through to the almost non-existent cheese, this chicken parmigiana did not otherwise impress.

Parma Pic:

Chicken: The photo above speaks for itself.  The chicken piece was on the small side and had been very over cooked.  That left the outer shell of the chicken extremely crispy and the chicken quite dry.

Tomato Sauce: The fact that there was not enough of the tomato sauce to cover the chicken piece, this element of the Jubilee Hotel Parma was the hero of the dish.  It tastes great.

Ham: If the ham had not been over cooked and therefore was all curled up on the chicken piece it would have covered it.  Unfortunately the ham was rendered a bit tasteless by it’s over cooking.

Cheese: Where was the cheese? This is a rhetorical question obviously, however it is reflective of what I was thinking when this meal came out because there was just not enough of it!

Side dishes: Where the chicken piece was quite over cooked, the chips were under cooked in places.  Whilst the vast majority were well cooked and well seasoned there were too many cold chips also thrown in.  The salad was a fairly plain garden salad with limited dressing.

Presentation: As this was a fairly small piece of chicken one might have expected the elements of this dish to be separated on the plate. Alas, the chicken found its way onto the chips and some of the salad again.

The Venue: The Jubilee Hotel, on St Paul’s Terrace in the Valley, is an inner city institution.  The hotel is recently refurbished and has a massive open air area out the back.  A large TAB facility is available, unusually for most inner city pubs.  My Parma, part of a special when you buy a drink over the bar, cost $11.

The Final Word: I have made much of the price of this chicken Parma and that is because it, the price, was the highlight of the dish.  The fact is what was served at Jubilee is what I would expect for an $11 meal. The fact also is though that this was not Brisbane’s Best Parma.  

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Parma Number 36: Caxton Hotel … Not worth missing cricket training for!

The Verdict: This is a pretty easy Parma to review because it was missing two very important elements.  The Caxton Hotel Chicken Parmigiana was served without ham and without salad.  Add to that the fact that the cheese did not cover the chicken pieces (of which there were two) and this Parma does not rate well!

Parma Pic:

 

Chicken: The chicken portion of this dish was actually quite good.  There were two chicken pieces that were well crumbed and were well cooked.  The chicken portion of the Caxton chicken parma was the best part of the dish be a fair margin.

Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce was also quite nice and had through it some very tasty herbs.  It was a very thin covering though and did not cover fully the two chicken pieces.

Ham: Non-existent … enough said.

Cheese: Where the ham was missing one could have been confused for thinking the cheese was also missing given the lack of coverage of the chicken pieces.  It was well melted and tasted very nice however there just was not enough of it.

Side Dishes: If there is one thing the Caxton Hotel got right on this dish, the chicken pieces aside, it was the chips.  They were plentiful, well cooked and well salted.  What a shame though there was no salad served with this dish.

Presentation: Given that there was no salad one might have expected that there would have been plenty of room on the plate for the chicken to not be on top of the chips but that expectation was not met.

The Venue: The Caxton Hotel is in the middle of Caxton Street in Petrie Terrace.  We ate in the Street Cafe as, strangely, whilst the chicken parma is on the menu in the cafe it is not on the menu in the Char Grill Restaurant.  My parma cost $16.50.

The Final Word: I have to confess that I expected more from the Caxton Hotel’s chicken parmigiana.  It being without ham or salad was bad enough but the death knell was the lack of cheese on the dish.  Wednesday night has normally been the night I go to cricket training preparatory to the summer of cricket and I confess that I would have preferred to be there than testing out this very disappointing parma. 

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Parma Number 35: Merthyr Bowls Club … Parma with a side of pokies

The Verdict: I walked into the Merthyr Bowls Club expecting to get a traditional pub parma and that is what I got.  All of the elements of this dish were above average without being excellent. Due to a bit of breeze coming of the Brisbane River and the haunting waft of smoke from the smokers area across the balcony of the Club our meals were taken inside the club next to the pokies.   

Parma Pic

Parma 35

Chicken Piece: The chicken piece was well crumbed and, despite some obvious burned bits on the outer edges, had been pretty well cooked.

Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce was definitely the hero of this dish.  It covered the chicken piece pretty well and was spread thickly across the chicken piece.  The sauce tasted great.

Ham: Much like the remainder of this dish, the ham got its job done on this dish without metaphorically setting the world on fire.  The size of the piece was complimentary to the size of the chicken piece and it tasted as ham should.

Cheese: A close second to the tomato sauce for the hero of this dish, the cheese was well melted across the chicken piece and complemented the other elements of the dish well taste wise.

Side Dishes:  Much like the rest of this dish, the side dishes were exactly what I would have expected from a pub / bowls club meal.  The portion of chips was a large one and the chips had been well cooked.  If anything they were a little bit bland and needed some salt.  The salad was a no frills garden salad with a nice dressing.

Presentation: Probably the largest failing of this meal was the fact that chicken piece covered not only a large portion of the chips but also a portion of the salad.  Whilst this did not massively effect the side dishes it was aesthetically not pleasing.

The Venue: Merthyr Bowls Club is in New Farm very near to New Farm Park near the Brisbane River.  It is a very small club such that its inside area is a combined eating and pokies room.  The outside seating area has spectacular views of the Brisbane River however, as the Parma Consigliere found, when the breeze is right smoke from the smoking area can find its way into this area.  My parma was $21.50 which I felt was a little on the high side.

The Final Word: As I said in the preamble, this chicken parmigiana met my expectations.  I do not mean this to connote negativity.  The Merthyr Bowls Club chicken parmigiana is exactly the chicken parmigiana you would expect from a bowls club.  All of the elements were good without being great.  

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Parma Schedule: September

September is a long month for chicken parmigiana testing in the quest for Brisbane’s Best Parma with five new venues on the schedule as follows:

September Calendar

Check out the blog every Thursday for the review of each week’s parma.

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Updated Parma Ladder

It was a game changing month of chicken parmigiana testing with a new leader in the race for the “Robert” Parma award.  Here is the updated Parma Ladder at the end of August:

Parma Ladder August

There are only sixteen weeks to go.  Watch this space to see if there is a chicken parmigiana in Brisbane that can top that of the Brisbane Brewing Co!

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Parma Number 34: Queens Arms Hotel … No salad = enough said!

The Verdict: I had received a pretty good recommendation for the chicken parmigiana at the Queens Arms Hotel.  Unfortunately, it failed to live up to the hype! The fact that there was no salad in this dish was not a good start that this meal never really recovered from! 

Parma Pic: 

 

Chicken piece: The chicken piece on that QA Hotel parma was a large piece that was well crumbed and had been well cooked.  This element of the dish was the hero by a fair distance.

Tomato Sauce: A lack of full coverage of the chicken piece was the only real negative about the tomato sauce.  There was a quite thin spreading of the sauce across the chicken piece when coupled with the fact that it did not cover the chicken piece in full was quite disappointing given how good the sauce tasted.

Ham: There just was not enough of the ham on this dish.  It was shredded ham as well as being a little tasteless.  To be honest, taste wise, it was like there was no ham at all on the chicken piece.

Cheese: The cheese in this dish was excellent.  It was welt melted and tasted great.  Again, the lack of coverage on chicken piece was an issue.

Chips: The chips had the look of very nice chips and some of them were very nice: well cooked, crispy and well salted.  Unfortunately some of the chips were very under cooked and cold.

Salad: There was not any salad.  Enough said.

Presentation: The meal was presented on a largish board with the chips and chicken piece well separated.  Indeed there was plenty of room for the salad which was missing.

Venue: The Queens Arms hotel is located in James Street in New Farm.  It is another of Brisbane’s many hotels that has a long history which has been revamped in recent years.  My chicken parma was on the expensive side $23.

The Final Word: The lack of salad on this dish was a bad start but it also got enough elements wrong to put this chicken parmigiana in the bottom half of the parma ladder.  

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Schedule Update: Final August Venue

Regular readers will be aware than one of the venues for the week was discovered to no longer serve its chicken parmigiana.  Given its proximity I moved the Waterloo Hotel trial up a couple of weeks. 

That being the case I needed a new venue to be added to the schedule this week and that new venue is the Queens Arms Hotel on James Street in New Farm.  

Watch out for the review of the Queens Arms chicken Parma this coming Thursday! 

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