When? - 9th of February, 2011
Where? - The Blarney Stone, 35 Anderson St. Yarraville
Price? - We paid $17.50 but there are other options, check the review for more info
Barry? - Yes
Website? - None
Reviewers - Cale, Lee, Ness, Nikki[/info]
**UPDATE** The Blarney Stone has closed its doors, and been replaced with the newly redone Railway Hotel. Luckily, we've had that one too! Check out the full review of the Railway Here
At the start of the review I would normally give props to whomever it was that recommended us to a venue for a parma, but I can’t for the life of me remember how the Blarney Stone entered our radar. So whoever you are out there, mystery recommender, I thank you for recommending.
I was unsure how many reviewers would be attending this weeks review, so we went to the Blarney Stone without a booking (the last two times we have done this have been disasterous, so I was on edge). We entered via the side entrance straight into the relatively empty bistro (phew) and took a seat at the first available table, Checked the menu and the parma was there ($17.50), however when I went to the bar to order some drinks I noticed the bar menu was completely different to the bistro menu, and the bar menu offered both a $13 Chicken Parma and a Bolognaise sauce variety known as the ‘Blarney Parma’ (not quite sure of the price of this one, I want to say $14.50, but don’t hold me to that). The bar meals were not allowed to be eaten in the bistro, so we had a choice to make.
On further inspection of the menus we noticed that the bistro’s parma was called ‘Chicken breast chicken parma’, however the bar menu choices made no mention of chicken breast. Being a breast man myself (ba dum ching!) I was more than happy to pay the extra $4.50 for the chicken breast, as opposed to the mystery chicken served on the bar menu. Oh, and they also do a $10 parma night in the bar on Thursdays … confused yet? I know I am!
We ordered our parmas and grabbed our first pints. The Blarney is a huge pub, With a massive public bar area (with Barry & TAB at the front) and equally spacious bistro it would be hard to fill this place up. It is Irish-themed (as the name would suggest) but not as ‘in your face’ Irish as some other pubs we’ve visited. The staff were friendly & the place had a good vibe, I’d be happy to return for a pint or two some other time
Some of the reviewers ordered a pre-parma garlic bread (always a good decision), shortly after they had polished that off our main course arrived.
I have upgraded a little from iPhone cam…
The parma’s arrived and the first thing I noticed was a bad case of slippery cheese on mine (for the newbies, “slippery cheese” is when the cheese re-melts and slides off the ham if the parma is set at too much of an angle) The other reviewers weren’t as affected by this, so we tucked in.
The chicken breast was real chicken breast (as the menu suggested) while a little small, it was thick, juicy and, other than being slightly undercooked, hard to fault. unfortunately after that it starts to fall apart, the crumbs were extremely soggy, so much so that when I made the initial transition of my parma off the chips to level ground, many of the crumbs from the underside of the chicken stayed behind, having firmly fused themselves to the chips. The napoli was extremely minimal, when you have to resort to lifting up the ham to check if there is any napoli there at all you know you’ve wandered into bad territory. I can’t complain about the ham, it did its job perfectly, except (as I mentioned earlier) it failed to hold my cheese in place, and most of the cheese ended up in the south western quadrant of my parma - although this may have been an isolated incident as other reviewers didn’t seem to be as afflicted as I was by the slippery cheese menace.
There was a decent serving of well cooked (and somehow crumbed) chips hiding under the parma, they were crispy, tasty and pretty much served their life purpose of chips very adequately, nothing really to write home about with these boys! standard middle-of-the-road chips
The garden salad, consisting of rocket, lettuce, tomato, cucumber & onion was well portioned, however one thing put us off … the dressing. It is a little blurry, and hard to describe, but imagine a substance that tastes like balsamic vinegar, yet has the consistency & look of the peanut satay sauce you get at Thai restaurants as an accompaniment to chicken skewers. looking through the photos I snapped last night, this seems to be the clearest shot of it I got
We had never come across it before, and it tasted fine, but the look of it put some reviewers off.
After our parma we moved into the public bar for a couple of games of Barry … We were friggin close to winning $100 on a game of Cluedo before getting a freaking impossible question, something about the date of formation of the Canadian Orchestra if I remember correctly, then calling an end to our evening!
The Blarney Stone parma has so much potential, the chicken breast they are using is absolutely fantastic, all they need is a few minor, yet very important tweaks to their parma construction process and they would have a great meal on their hands, unfortunately they aren’t quite there yet. But a great pub that I’d definitely stop back into for a pint and some Barry.
Parma - 6.25
Chips - 5.25
Salad - 4.13
Value - 4.75
Total - 5.33
The search continues…