When? - 4th of June, 2010
Where? - Sir Charles Hotham Hotel, 3 Brougham St. Geelong
Price? - $12.00 (from the bar menu)
Barry? - No
Website? - http://www.hothamhotel.com
Reviewers - Beth, Brett, Cale, Lee, Stefo[/info]
Not long ago we received word that Geelong radio station 94.7 ‘The Pulse Food & Wine Show’ was hosting a competition to find the best pub meal in the Geelong area - The station then contacted us and asked if we would like to appear on the show, talk about parmas to the fine folks of Geelong, then go and sample the parma of the pub they had judged to be the best pub meal in the Geelong region! an opportunity we jumped at.
So last Friday a few of us road-tripped down to Geelong, met with Brett, Beth & Jenni of the Food & Wine show and talked on the radio for awhile about the greatest food to grace our fair planet - The Chicken Parmigiana.
While we were on the show the winner of the competition was announced - The Sir Charles Hotham Hotel. We promptly piled into the car and headed down to see what Geelong had to offer.
The Hotham is the classic country pub. Pool table down one end, packs of chips hanging over the bar, horse racing on the TV and (according to the pictures on the wall) has been run by the same family for 3 generations - as we were there at 1 o’clock on a Friday afternoon the place was pretty much deserted save for a few regulars at the bar, we took a seat in the bar (I didn’t get a chance to peek into the bistro over the other side, the bar seemed a perfect choice).
The bar menu was classic country pub fare, with choices such as Rissoles, Lambs Fry or Meat Loaf all at a very reasonable price. The Parma was one of the most expensive meals on the menu but at only $12.00 I was more than happy to give it a go. We ordered our parmas along with a few schooners of ‘Diggers Draught’ - a very tasty beer I hadn’t had the pleasure of trying before, definitely recommended.
Before we got our mains the staff brought out a plate of complimentary garlic bread, I can’t say whether this is a standard freebie or it was purely to butter us up so we give them a good review, but it was greatly appreciated.
The parmigianas arrived promptly and looked delicious, no nude schnitzel and a good layer of bubbling golden brown cheese. There was a slice of ham but it wasn’t too overpowering as some ham can be, so it was a welcome addition
The chicken was of good quality, not winning any awards for size but it wasn’t too small, a little on the thin side of the chicken breast scale but nothing scandalous.
The chips were pretty standard, a smallish serving but fresh & crispy, unseasoned but salt & pepper were readily available. One reviewer ordered a tartare sauce as a side for chip-dippage and that wasn’t a problem for the very friendly staff.
I can sum up the salad in one word - Fresh. the lettuce was crisp, the onions were delicious, there was even the inclusion of diced celery sticks thrown in the mix everything in it seemed like it was plucked from the garden minutes before and drizzled with a light mustard dressing. A few other reviewers went the steamed vegetable option instead of the salad & they weren’t as impressed, I didn’t try any myself but they all looked a bit limp & lifeless, nothing near the freshness of the salad.
This parma screams home made, it (and the rest of the menu) is exactly what you’d expect your mum to put out on the table when you got home from school - or your nan to serve you when she was looking after you on the school holidays while your parents had to work. Its a quaint country pub with an equally country menu - Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that in a negative light, its great that family run pubs like this still exist! The staff were friendly & obviously loved their work.
A big thanks to the people at The Pulse 94.7 for having us on the show, and an even bigger thanks to Brett & Beth for coming down and reviewing their contest winner with us.
Oh, and apologies to any Geelong residents who might take offense at me referring to them as a ‘Country Town’. You don’t need to send me abusive emails.
Parma - 5.8
Chips - 5.4
Salad - 5.2
Value - 7.6
Total - 5.96
The search continues …