When? - 4th of August, 2010
Where? - The Laurel Hotel, 289 Mt. Alexander Rd. Ascot Vale
Price? - $25 in Bistro for ’ The Laurel Massive Parma Challenge’ with a free drink if you finish the entire meal.
Barry? - Yes, But it crashed every time we tried to play.
Website? - http://www.laurelhotel.com.au
Reviewers - Adam, Cale, Lee, Luke, Ness, Shanan, Stefo, Tanya, Tony Q[/info]
This weeks review is literally the next closest pub to The Prince of Wales Hotel, a block-and-a-bit from the front door of the Prince you’ll find The Laurel Hotel. The scientific theory of Locatio-Parmo-Geography states that a pub so close to the building that once housed the best parma in Australia must, due to residual parmigianite-radiation, serve up a good parma itself (science is fun!). When we heard word that the Laurel was serving up a ‘Massive Parma Challenge’ we knew we had to give it a go.
The Laurel is split into two halves, one side has the public bar, TAB & beer garden the other is a totally separated Bistro area, a large spacious room with central bar and small outdoor eating area. We chose to eat in the bistro, - the bistro menu is available in the bar (as well as a cheaper bar menu with a cheaper, lower quality parma), but with 9 people at the review we opted for the spacious bistro to give ourselves room to stretch our legs
We took our seats and checked the menu - $25 for the Laurels ‘massive parma challenge’, with a reward of a free drink if you finish the entire meal. A bit pricey for a parma but if you factor the free pot into the price it takes a little bit of the sting out of the meal.
We ordered our meals at the bar and awaited their arrival - There was a large TV playing music videos to keep us entertained while we waited. Interesting to note for the Bulmers cider lovers (such as myself) who read the site, Bulmers is available on tap in the public bar, but not the bistro. I had to walk around to the front of the pub a few times throughout the night to get my cider fix, a slight annoyance but the pints were cheap, cold and tasted damn good.
After a fairly short wait, our parmigianas arrived -
I’ve gotta say I was impressed! The chicken came out on a veritable mountain of chunky beer battered chips and a large serving of salad. It was nowhere near the scale of The Hotel Albion’s Grandeoso Parma Challenge, but it was pretty darn impressive.
The Laurel’s schnitzel definitely takes the rating of ‘Scarlett Johansson’ - as it has a very juicy breast. The chicken was big, thick, succulent and didn’t taste at all processed, my one gripe with the schnitzel would be the crumbs they are using are standard processed crumbs, they would be kicking goals if they used home made crumbs, or even chucked some herbs in there, but that is a very minor complaint for a great piece of chicken. The parma came with ham and a good coating of cheese with very few nude areas, they were a little short on the napoli in my opinion, but not by much. all in all this is a great piece of meat.
A visual representation of the Laurel’s Chicken Schnitzel quality
I will preface the next bit by saying I’ve never seen the group so torn on the quality of the sides, some loved them and some hated them - I’ll try to cover both opinions below.
My parma arrived on a mountain of chunky beer battered chips, they were hot, crispy and well seasoned - other reviewers didn’t get a mountain as big as the one I recieved, and thought that they were skirting the line of being more like potato wedges than they chips. I thought they were delicious and some of the best chips we have come across since the Prince of Wales parma was available
It was the same split opinion with the salad - it was a large serving simple garden salad of Rocket lettuce, onion, tomato and balsamic vinegar - simple and tasty, yet some reviewers thought it was too simple, and compared to the Princes selection of garden salad, potato salad & pasta salad, it just didn’t rate.
With little effort (we aren’t exactly amateurs here) the parma ‘challenge’ was complete
Challenge = Complete
We collected our free victory pots at the bistro bar, and headed into the public bar for our post-parma game of Barry
This is where the night took an unfortunate turn, while playing the Monopoly game on barry, we were very close to finishing the round and claiming the cash prize which could have been anywhere up to $100 when …
This is why I use Macs
BARRY FAIL! the game simply died on us and reset to the home screen, we tried again a few minutes later and it was again in crashville. not. happy. Laurel.
We were heartbroken. downtrodden. beaten down shells of parma reviewers until we noticed the below sign on the wall
Lucky for us it was Wednesday, I hate when I have to pay for my hugs. We all engaged in a group hug to lift our spirits, and parted ways until next weeks attempt.
The Laurels parma is damn good, but a little pricey - at $25 it’s up there with the most expensive parma we have reviewed behind the Hotel Albion’s Grandeoso for $30, but that was TWO parmas stacked on top of one another, totally worth it.
But if you are in the mood for a great tasting parma and don’t mind the sting in your wallet, the Laurel should definitely be on your list, to get full value for money be sure to finish it and claim your free drink. Just be sure to avoid Barry.
Parma - 7.4
Chips - 7.8
Salad - 5.9
Value - 6.0
Total - 6.89
The search continues …