Where? - The Skinny Dog Hotel, 155 High Street, Kew.
Price? – $20 Parmageddon Thursdays (with a pot) $25 all other days
Website? - http://www.skinnydoghotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Adam, Brendan, Cale, emma, Lee, Luke, Nikki, Pete
**UPDATE** WE REVISITED THE SKINNY DOG YET AGAIN FOR AN AUSTRALIA DAY AUSSIE PARMA SPECIAL! CHECK OUT OUR UPDATED THOUGHTS HERE
The Skinny Dog Hotel was one of our first parma attempts, our second “proper” attempt and our fifth overall (It took a couple of weeks to organize ourselves, build the website and work out how it was all going to work). We rocked up on the 12th of May 2010 without a booking, and … Well you can read about it Here.
Long story short, it didn’t go well. The chicken was undercooked, there was no salad to be found and we had to choose whether we wanted a small bowl of McDonald’s-style chips or a dollop of coleslaw. All those issues at a premium price led to a highly recommended parma sitting at the bottom of our ladder for quite some time (it got a slight score hike after the ‘You dont win friends with salad’ ruling of March 2011).
Now fast forward a year and a half. On the day of our attempt at Miss Libertine, I received an email.
An email from an employee of The Skinny Dog Hotel. Rather than try to explain its contents, I’ve decided to let you read it verbatim (omitting the name of the sender for privacy reasons) -
I liked this email, and I had even heard some discussion on the parma-vine that The Skinny Dog had upped their game since our last visit and had already considered going back. Getting an email saying that our review may have actually made a difference in the world of parmas and brought Skinny Dog back to its former glory - well that was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.
I had a chat to the lads at the attempt that night and they were down, we were heading to the Skinny Dog to do our first ever re-review.
You might as well call me George Lucas, ‘cause we’re going back and changing things!
It’s important to note that we didn’t rush straight back the next day, we waited a few weeks for the dust to settle, put out a misleading tweet yesterday about the location of the parma and even took the precaution of booking the table under a fake name, just to be sure they didn’t catch on that we were there (“Dr. Kenneth Noisewater” … not really, that would’ve been funny though). We wanted to see the Skinny Dog, but we made damn certain the Skinny Dog didn’t see us.
The pub has had some extra renovations since the last time we visited - the beautifully renovated place has an impressive beer garden out the back (with its own bar), plenty of TV’s to catch some sport and a respectable beer selection with quite a few beers on tab and an assortment in stubbies in the fridge. The wine and cocktail (or ‘dogtail’) list is also quite decent - more details on the drinks list are on the pubs website. Since we arrived they have also added some more seating to the front bar, a pool table and the beer garden has undergone quite the transformation to turn it into a very attractive spot to have a pint or three on a Sunday arvo - very nice!
Much the same as our review at The Local the week before, we had a choice in front of us, as unbeknownst to us when we organized this attempt, Thursday at the Skinny Dog is known as ‘Parmageddon’ -
$5 cheaper than the regular price, with a free pot of Carlton and a choice of 6 parma ‘Alter Ego’s. Sexcellent!
(Sidenote, I really like the idea of calling different varieties of novelty parmas ‘alter ego’s … I think I’m gonna steal it. Thanks, Skinny Dog marketing team!)
I took a grab from the website so you can have a full explanation of what each creatively named alter ego represents -
It says on the poster above that ‘Each parma comes with crinkle cut chips and salad’, So we are already ahead of the last time we were here, and the parmas haven’t even hit the table yet!
I’m not a fan of the novelty parma on official attempts, and although ‘The Nadal’ looked freakin delicious I opted for the ‘Skinny Dogs Famous Parma’, Other reviewers were a little more adventurous, with Reviewer Adam having the Larrakin and Reviewer Brendan having the Angry Nadal, but most of us stuck to the basics and went with the classic parma.
Oh, Before I go on I have to mention this, We picked an hilarious typo on the parma menu at the skinny dog which, (unfortunately) isn’t replicated on the website. The description on the parma claims that it comes with a portion of “Virgina” ham, as opposed to Virginia ham. Now I’m not usually the type to point out typos on a menu, but thats damn hilarious and it had to be said. Mmmm delicious Virgina ham.
We ordered our meals and the waiting game began, Before I show you what arrived on our tables, I will show you a photo of what we received last time we sat down to a meal at the Skinny Dog:
The Old (Taken 12th March 2010) -
And now (cue drumroll….)
The New (Taken 13th October 2011) -
You can’t tell from the picture, but with this parma, Greedo shot first
The parma itself was bloody huge, I don’t know what kind of freak prehistoric chicken they used to get the breast for this bird - perhaps a phorusrhacos? but it was massive. It was cooked much better than last time, with a good coverage of ham and basil leaves, a little light on the napoli and an epic amount of cheese - so much so that a hunk of it oozed off into my salad.
It looked amazing, and I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The first few bites were great but the sheer size of the thing was chicken overload. Gone was the overly smoky ham of its predecessor, which was one of our complaints from last time, however in its place was … nothingness. The cheese was a bit tasteless (even though there was an amazing amount of it) The napoli was barely there and the ham lacked oomph. Actually I think that is the best way to describe the Skinny Dog parma - it looks amazing, its freaking ginormous, with great quality chicken, but it didn’t have any flair - every bite was just more and more chicken until it felt like my sinuses were packed with meat - in fact the whole thing is very reminiscent of the parma at the Albion - freaking huge, but after a certain amount of food its just too much.
My theory with this parma (which is the same theory that I have about the albion) is that it needs its Alter Ego’s, I have no doubt that the addition of the onion, olives, salami and chili on the Angry Nadal would have been a flavour explosion - however without them it just falls short into blandness.
Apologies in advance for the shitty cross section photo - it looked okay on the screen, wasn’t till I blew it up on my computer that I saw its crapness
Gone are the Maccas chips, and in their place are a stack of crinkle cut, rosemary salted beauties - they’ve lost the bowl, which is both good and bad as the bowl contained the chips separate from everything else, keeping them fresh, however the lack of a bowl allows for much more chippage on the plate. crinkle cut chips are 2nd on the hierarchy of chips (behind curly fries, which take the cake every time). Much like the parma, the rosemary salted, crinkle cut chips had so much potential to be good, however the ones that landed on our plates could have used another few minutes in the fryer - they were undercooked and didn’t have that golden brown goodness you want on a good chip. The rosemary seasoning was a bold idea, and if I put the undercooked-ness of them aside they had a good flavour.
Now to the ingredient that was missing from the last review - The salad adorning our plate was a garden salad of lettuce, onion, shredded carrot, and a creamy dressing that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was passable, but nothing special, The fact that they have gone to the trouble of including the salad is great, points for trying. If the people at the Skinny Dog are reading this, I have one suggestion for your salad - Keep the garden salad, you need it, but if you also included a dollop of the elusive coleslaw from our last visit you would be on to a winner. We have only been to one pub so far that has done the salad/coleslaw double and that was the otherAlbion. It came up trumps.
Now to the quotes for the week!
Wow, two weeks into the quote system now and they have all been brutal! Parmas seem to bring out the nasties in our team!
I know this weeks review has gotten amazingly long, but before we wrap up I do have to touch on what Reviewer Brendan mentioned in his quote - The Growler. For $40 you can order a massive jug of beer at the Skinny Dog, and when I say ‘jug’ I don’t mean the regular sized jugs you get at the pub, I mean a re-sealable, re-fillable, steel handled jug of epic proportions - Hold on while I google a picture, thats the only way to do it justice:
Look at that beast - nearly 2 litres of beer fill it up, and if you bring it back it only costs $20 for a refill. Now that is amazing value. Well done, Skinny dog. Points for the Growlings.
When we first reviewed the Skinny Dog it came out with a dismal score of 3.2, then with the introduction of the ‘You don’t win friends with salad’ rule brought into effect in March this year, its score was retroactively lifted to a 5.18 Now that the salad is back in place on the parma the salad rule is out, It’s been a long road, Skinny Dog, you’ve put some work into your parma and the new score is a respectable 6.06. 3.2 to 6.06 … not too shabby.
The parma still has its problems - If I went back to refill my growler I would make sure it was on a Thursday night to pick up one of your Alter Ego’s for the extra flavour it needs to carry it over the line. $25 for the ‘classic’ parma on a regular day, however, is a bit pricey and not too appealing
One things for sure though, for your $20 you definitely won’t be leaving hungry.
Coming soon - The special definitive Blu-Ray edition of this review, with added CGI, an extra scene with Jabba the Hutt and the cheese digitally replaced with the ghost of Hayden Christensen