When? - 8th of September, 2011
Where? - Hog’s Breath Cafe. Watergardens Shopping Center. 203/399 Melton Highway, Taylors Lakes
Price? – $21.95 (‘lite serve’ option $17.95)
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.hogsbreath.com.au/
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki[/info]
Ever since Reviewer Stefo sent his review from London, I have been on the hunt for a pub that serves a parma with curly fries - A task I first thought would be easy, but quickly realised it harder than I thought. It took me a few weeks but eventually I stumbled on it - The Hog’s Breath Cafe.
Now I’m sure you have all heard of Hog’s Breath - I just did a quick count of their website and they are sitting at about seventy locations around Australia, They are all the same, sharing an identical menu, so I think its pretty much safe to assume that the parma at the hogs breath we attended (at the Watergardens Shopping center, Taylors Lakes) will be pretty much identical to what you would get at any of their 70 hogs-tacular locations.
We rocked up at the Hogs Breath just before seven on a Thursday and I was surprised at how busy it was already, the place was pumping. If you haven’t been to a hogs breath cafe before I’ll try to describe it … If you picture any stereotypical American family restaurant you are pretty much there - if you think ‘Shenanigans’ from the movie “Waiting” then you are spot on. Heaps of crazy crap on the walls, road signs, animal heads, lawn bowls, its very bright and kid friendly. I felt very odd ordering a beer with my meal, it was like having a pint at McDonalds.
A little game for you if you find yourself at Hog’s breath - Look anywhere, Left, Right, Up, Down, Behind you … anywhere and if you can’t see the words ‘HOG’S BREATH CAFE’ in your field of vision, you win (protip - you can’t win)
The menu is huge, heaps of options for pretty much whatever you can think of, its all very American - we started off with a basket of Mozzarella sticks (aka ‘deep fried cheese’… hello heart attack) which were actually pretty tasty with the ranch dressing. After a bit of searching I managed to find the Chicken Parma on the menu - they squirreled it away in the corner of a page pretty far back in the menu, it took some effort to find, but its there, available in a regular or ‘lite’ serve for a few bucks cheaper. After you order be prepared for an onslaught of questions about extras, the waitress pumped about 10 different options for sides, extras or sauces to accompany our meal, we stuck to the basics and didn’t order any.
After a slight wait and a hearty rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the kids at the table next to us from the staff, our parmas arrived.
First of all, there was a lot of napoli … and not much else.
A little digging showed that the Hog’s Breath ‘parma’ was actually two pieces of chicken (about ‘KFC boneless fillet’ sized), covered in napoli and sprinkled with some shaved parmesan cheese - I mentioned that the place was very Americanised, but I have a feeling someone took the American pronunciation of ‘Chicken Parmesan’ a little too far, I have had Parmas in America on several occasions, and even they were closer to a parma than the Hogs breath (with the exception of the one at Universal Studios)
So, even though we were missing ham and melted cheese, we pressed on, I seperated the two chicken fillets to give a better picture of what was served -
I am yet to confirm this, but I would have to assume that the ‘lite serve’ available for $17.95 would have to be a single fillet as opposed to two of them. If that is true, its a bad deal and way overpriced… dont take the lite option)
To be honest, once I got over the lack of topping, the chicken actually tasted decent - It wasn’t a parma by any means, but whatever this frankenstein’s monster of a dish was, it actually tasted okay. The chicken fillets were of decent quality, possibly a little dry at times, but well cooked and fresh. We’ve had worse, is what I’m trying to say I suppose.
The curly fries were great as expected - the hunt was worth it as Hogs Breath have their signature ‘Hogs Tail fries’ to an art, perfectly seasoned and cooked, I just wish there were more of them! If the meals weren’t as expensive as they were I’d consider ordering a side of curly fries to accompany my meal.
The salad was surprising - it was pretty good. A pretty big garden salad of Lettuce, onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, kidney beans and balsamic dressing - It was a very decent accompaniment to the meal
The Hog’s Breath serves up a Chicken Parmesan. It is not a chicken parma, they should change the menu. Pubs can get away with leaving the ham off the parma and still calling it such, but when you also leave out melted cheese you are one ingredient short of being classed a parma. Sure the chicken actually tasted okay and the napoli, although over-abundant was pretty tasty. But it just wasn’t a parma, plain and simple.
If you find yourself at Hogs Breath, as much as it pains me to say, try and avoid the ‘Parma’ - Its a big menu and I’m sure you’ll find something much better. The sides were good, love the curly fries and the salad was solid, but those same sides also come with pretty much everything else on the menu, so best to opt for those in my opinion. As for Value, its pretty expensive - $21.95 for two KFC fillets and some napoli just isn’t on, and I’ve got a feeling the ‘lite serve’ is to be avoided at all costs.
Also, they have T-shirts.
Parma - 3.00
Chips - 7.5
Salad - 6.25
Value - 5.00
Total - 4.95
The search continues…