When? – 29/02/2012
Where? – Bettenay’s Prince Albert Hotel, 149 Douglas Parade,Williamstown VIC 3016
Price? - $24
Website? - http://www.bettenays.com.au
Reviewers – Stefo, Emma, Ella, Kim, Karly, Pat[/info]
So the last few days in Melbourne have been very true to the calendar, taking the last weekend of summer, a very hot 38 degrees that left us with a thirst that could only be quenched by the most beautiful beer of all, free beer (thanks to Leeroy & Knickers for having a few of us at their fantastic wedding), into a typically winter midweek, with rain, coats, umbrellas, the lot.
This sort of weather is hard to deal with at first, but upon walking up to the doors of Williamstown’s third reviewee, The Prince Albert, I remembered why I love winter in this city. The chill of walking the footpath outside just makes the atmosphere in the pub look so much more enticing. You know theres probably a nice glass of shiraz with your name on it that’s just begging to be paired with some form of medium-rare, juicy, mooing plate of meat and potato. A nice tall pint of stout is settling as you put your jacket on a coat hook, and your safe from the storm outside.
The Prince Albert certainly gave me the feeling they could shelter me for a few hours after work on a Friday night, and tonight was the perfect night to introduce myself to the pub and its take on Melbourne’s favorite, the Chicken Parma.
A Parma review just doesn’t seem the same without the normal chairman of the parma-board, Lee, but he and his gorgeous new wife Nicole are off to Hawaii & Las Vegas for their annual international parma review honeymoon, and so I was left with the honors of the Chief Executive Creative Director of the Parma Review Team, so lets see how it all went then..
We took our seats on the long picnic table-come-booth hugging the wall, and ordered our meals at the bar, and both boys and girls were welcoming to the drinks on offer, the girls opting for a refreshing Aspall Cider, the boys a pint of local White Rabbit. One of the things that I loved about this pub was the range of drinks available, including cocktails, which you can read further into here.
So we didn’t have to wait long for the dishes to come out of the kitchen, all of us licking our lips starving. The first thing one of the reviewers pointed out was home made crumbing, definitely a welcome change to some of the lower-rated parmas we have tried. The plate was full, the chicken was a very respectable size, there was a nice heaping of chips on all plates, and a garden salad to accompany the pair, so we dug in.
Apologies for the quality of the photos, the ParmaCam wasn’t on hand this week. (I’m pretty sure the tripod is planted firmly in the honeymoon suite somewhere in Hawaii)
The chicken on the plate was a fantastic bit of real, top quality, thick, free-range breast. Theres nothing the Parmadaze team love more then a good set of breasts planted in front of us, and this was exactly what we got. The crumbing, as previously mentioned, was home-made and definitely something we were all looking to try out. It was refreshing to the pre-processed crap that some microwaves kitchens put out.
The general feedback from the team was fairly consistent; It wasn’t a poor parma, that’s for sure. It just wasn’t fantastic. A heap of chips is exactly what the customer wants, but PLEASE don’t serve us McDonalds fries. Every second pub in Melbourne serves them, and its boring, repetitive but most of all lazy. Unfortunately we did have to cope with these and they were fine, but I think the scores reflect the attitude towards them, with nobody on the team giving anything more than 5/10 for them.
The salad on offer was again, what you find in most pubs, a simple garden salad that was not too basic but nothing special at the same time, the dressing was slightly sweeter then your regular which I personally didn’t mind but I think the girls grew tired of it after a while. I wish more pubs in Melbourne gave us some bang for your buck in the salad category, a bit of pasta salad and potato salad goes a long way.
The crumbing was ok, but again nothing special. I do appreciate the effort that goes into the home made crumbing but the taste just wore off about midway through. A topping of pancetta, mozzarella and napoli sauce rounded it off nicely but we weren’t singing its praises, as we have at other pubs.
The general consensus was basically as follows:
The Prince Albert’s Website has the following at the top of its eating page:
<Definition: Belly full, mouth singing.>”
We were about halfway there with the belly full part ( I am always complaining about the lack of size in portions of food these days, and no I am not obese!), but we were definitely not singing. Having said that the menu had an absolutely delicious range of steaks on offer and I would definitely go back to try these out, I just cant see myself ordering the parma anytime soon. The $24.00 price point seems a bit steep for the quality of what you get in return, when a lovely wagyu beef burger is available at the same price I think it would be the safer bet.
Having finished in a bit of negativity there I would just like to set the tone I aimed for at the start of this review. The Prince Albert looks like a great pub to call your local, I would happily be caught in there on a regular occasion, so please make sure you sneak in if you get the chance, and tell them the Parmadaze team sent you. Hopefully they will know exactly who you are talking about and as a result recommend you try their new improved chicken parma.
Parma - 5.92
Chips - 4.00
Salad - 3.67
Value - 2.33
Total - 4.37
The search continues…
A massive thanks to Pat for taking the helm this week! passing the torch to Stefo next week, so stay tuned!