When? - 1/12/11
Where? - The Steam Packet Hotel. 13 Cole st. Williamstown
Price? - $21.50
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.thepacket.com.au
Reviewers - Lee, Nikki, Stefo[/info]
The first time we attempted to visit the Steam Packet it was booked out and we ended up finding the Customs House around the corner - A great parma in its own right, but I always wanted to head back to Williamstown to try the one that got away. I continued to hear many good things so we headed back to Willy and the Steam Packet Hotel.
In researching this pub before the attempt I came across an interesting tidbit - The Steam Packet is supposedly haunted - The story goes that an Opera singer who was there killed himself after losing his voice, If you want the full story there is a Ghost Tour that runs through Willy, which comes with a meal at the Packet - hopefully the parmas aren’t haunted! I think I’ve just stumbled on next summer’s blockbuster…
I’ve gotta say … I’m proud of this one
But I digress. Seeing as the last time we attempted to visit the Steam Packet we were turned away, we did the smart thing and arrived at the pub again without a booking. The bartender informed us that bookings are absolutely essential on Thursday night, as Thursday is cheap steak night that really brings in the crowds - After a bit of searching we managed to squeeze ourselves into a spot on the leather couches in the corner, not an ideal eating position, but thats what we get for not having a reservation. While looking over the menu we noticed that the steaks coming out of the kitchen looked amazing - If we weren’t there for parmas I would’ve been all over them like white on rice. However parma is what we were there for, and parma is what we ordered.
Now in my little life I follow two sports teams - The Western Bulldogs and the Detroit Red Wings, Unfortunately for me the only Red Wings friendly pub is 15,973 kilometers from where I’m sitting (thanks Google distance calculator!). On the other hand, Fortunately for me the Steam Packet Hotel is a ‘Bulldogs Friendly Business’ and a flash of a valid Bulldogs membership gets 10% off your total bill … a great deal.
Quicker than expected our parmas arrived.
This was a big parma, enveloping most of the chips and a portion of the salad.
The chicken breast was pure, unprocessed and cooked to perfection, the crumbs weren’t overly thick and the toppings were more than plentiful. One thing this parma had was a stack of flavour, especially for a big parma - lashings of shredded ham, not just one slice, but an impressing coating, heaps of cheese cooked to golden brown perfection, and the napoli, while a little absent in some areas, was fresh and home made.
I instantly understood why the Packet’s parma was recommended to me so many times, it was a great piece of bird that I’d be more than happy to try again.
The chips, while a hefty serving and well cooked, were a little boring - zero seasoning and, due to the fact that we were sitting at the couch as opposed to a table in the bistro, there was no salt shaker within reach - They were definitely passable, but did nothing to ‘wow’ us.
The salad split the group, but I believe that was due to uneven serves - My salad was a decent serving of lettuce, onion, cucumber, grated carrot, and tomato under a creamy pesto dressing that I really enjoyed - however Reviewer’s Stefo and Nikki had a different story, as the shredded carrot was all but absent from their salad, there was less dressing and less stuff overall - which can pretty much be put down to an unfortunate grab of the tongs in the kitchen, not a hellworthy sin but it did cause some contention among the group.
The Steam Packet parma is fantastic, let down only by some lackluster chips and according to some a so/so salad, however its definitely worth seeking out (but make sure you have a reservation!)
The pub has a great vibe and an impressive range of drinks on tap - My two favourite beers, McLaren Vale Pale Ale and Mountain Goat Steam Ale were both readily available. Although I didn’t see the ghost of any suicidal opera singers, this is a parma I will be recommending to people for awhile to come.
Parma - 8.33
Chips - 5.42
Salad - 6.33
Value - 7.83
Total - 7.25
The search continues…