Attempt #33 'The Customs House Hotel'



When? - 15th of December, 2010

Where? - 161 Nelson Place. Williamstown

Price? - $15 Parma Wednesday, $21 regularly

Barry? - No

Website? -

Reviewers - Lee, Matt, Nikki[/info]

I love Willy (that is SO what she said). Williamstown is a beautiful spot with some amazing pubs and a great vibe, it’s kind of a hybrid of a beach town and a country town - yet close enough to the City to consider it local. We have been meaning to try a pub in Willy for some time and last night we gave it a go - Originally we had planned to hit up the Steam Packet Hotel but they were unfortunately booked out when I called to make the reservation earlier in the day, we redirected the parma bus around the block to The Customs House Hotel.

First of all, parking is a bitch! situated on the beautiful Williamstown waterfront we did at least 3 laps up and down before settling on a spot a considerable walk away, we entered the Customs House and took our seats at the table - this place is freaking huge! With a front bistro, lounge/bar area with a stage that seems perfect for a two man band to rock out some acoustic cover songs, second dining area out the back and another two massive function areas you’d never be short of a spot to rest your pot glass. We were seated in the front bistro, against the window overlooking the park across the road and the waterfront beyond that. We ordered our Parmas at the counter, not realising table service was also available. The menu laminated to the front counter said the parma was going for $21 with the option of as ‘aussie parma’ for $22, it wasn’t until after we settled the bill that we realised it was Parma Night (seemingly unadvertised) at the Customs house, dropping the meals down to $15 a piece - very reasonable.

Its been awhile since we’ve visited a pub that has had my favourite drink on tap, so imagine my delight when I saw the Bulmers logo shining in the sunlight. Pint in hand, we didn’t have to wait long at all for our meals to arrive

On first glance this parma looked tiny with lots of empty plate staring back at us, there was good topping coverage except for a strange ‘arm’ of chicken breast that was protruding out the side of my schnitzel, but it seems as if that was tucked underneath for the cheesing and only protruded after the parma was plated, so they can be forgiven for that slight showing of nude schnitz. As I said the parma looked small, until I cut into it, this was by far the thickest chicken breast we have experienced, I’ve had chicken kievs that were thinner- it was as if it had barely been hammered down at all and as a result was the most succulent chicken breast I’ve had in a long while. If The Laurel Hotel got a ‘juicy breast’ score of ‘Scarlett Johannson’, The Customs House hotel definitely gets a rating of ‘Katy Perry’ or higher

The crumb/chicken ratio was perfect (with homemade crumbs bringing them home) was a good coverage of napoli, although it was a little bland for my liking, with a heaping of ham and cheese to finish it off. Amazing parma, and for only $15 on a Wednesday its a very wallet-friendly outing.

The Chips were a beer battered chip/wedge hybrid that were absolutely delicious, unfortunately I got shafted and didnt get very many compared to the other reviewers (I counted fourteen total, its not often you can count how many chips you get on the plate) however even though there were few of them, they were all big, and I honestly don’t think I could’ve had many more even if they were on my plate.

The garden salad accompaniment looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to dig in, unfortunately it was all flash and not much substance, fresh and full of variety however the balsamic dressing they used was very light and could hardly be detected on the dish, also, I’m pretty sure I got all of the onions.

In the end I was pretty happy that the Steam Packet was booked out this week as the Customs House Hotel produced an absolutely amazing example of a chicken Parma. If you can I’d recommend hitting it on a Wednesday to get the $15 parma special and if its a nice night be sure to get a seat on the outdoor tables out the front. It is a gorgeous spot, a beautiful pub and a delicious parma - I’d be happy to return any day of the week.

Parma - 8.0
Chips - 6.6
Salad - 6.0
Value - 7.5
Total - 7.23

The search continues …

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