Apologies for the horrid pic, I realised at the last moment that I didn’t take one, that moment being sitting at the traffic lights out the front as we were leaving, snapped this photo as the lights turned green.
When? - 28th of March, 2013
Where? - The Spotted Mallard, 314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Price? - $19
Website? - http://spottedmallard.com/
Reviewers – Janet, Lee, Matt, Pat, Shanan[/info]
This is gonna be a tough one. It’s not often that I disagree with the other reviewers at the table as much as I did this week, Part of the reason this review is a few days late is that I needed time to process what we ate and form my opinion… Oh well, lets dive in!
As a pub, The Spotted Mallard is a hidden gem. Walking past the lobby and seeing the unassuming wooden staircase one wouldn’t believe that it opens up to a massive ballroom-style space up above, with a great selection of craft beers and stellar balcony to watch the world of Sydney Road pass by below.
We arrived and took our seats, Famished and looking forward to my parma I had a leaf through the menu … and my heart sank.
The chicken parma at The Spotted Mallard does not use chicken breast, it uses chicken thigh. And this is where the major conflict of the night arose, as I cannot stand chicken thigh. (be prepared to read the word “thigh” a lot in the next few minutes… its gonna come up often)
I know people say that it carries a sweeter flavour than breast, and I have no problems eating thigh in a curry or something else heavily spiced, but a parma is supposed to be chicken breast. White, thick and juicy, how The Spotted Mallard were going to hammer a tiny chicken thigh into a workable parma was beyond me.
We placed our order and awaited the arrival of our meals. In preparation for typing up this review I visited the website for the Mallard and found this…
Last updated on the 14/10/12. Why would they change from breast to thigh?
A pint later, our parmas arrived at the table… I did my best to set aside my pre-conceived notions of thigh meat, and tucked in.
As suspected, there was no way they were serving up a full sized parma made from thigh meat, so instead we got two smaller parmas on the same plate. I tucked in, and did my best to enjoy it, but cutting through that grey thigh meat just turned me off.
The toppings, on the other hand, were great. The cheese was tasty, the napoli was home made, fresh and delicious and the prosciutto added its trademark saltiness to the dish that I can’t get enough of.
I just wish they had’ve used breast. It would have been amazing with breast.
The hand cut chips were great - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, they were in desperate need of some salt and maybe a dipping sauce, but gotta love a quality hand cut chip.
I have a problem with coleslaw for salad that I’ve mentioned in the past. I love that they are doing something different to a garden salad, and (for a pile of coleslaw) it was delicious. But coleslaw, especially home made coleslaw is a very rich dish, and a small garden salad to the side to break it up a little would have been greatly appreciated.
As you can see the other reviewers were a bit more open minded than me, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that it was thigh. I just can’t think of the reason as to why they switched to thigh meat for a chicken parma. Is it a cost issue? Because I’d be happy to chip in a couple of extra bucks for breast. It would have been great with breast.
Or is it just to be different? To stand out from the crowd? Look, I’m all for a unique parma (Palookaville’s parma-ish still stands as one my favourites), but there’s being unique, and being unique at a detriment to the dish - and in my (surely unpopular) opinion, The Spotted Mallard have crossed that line.
If you don’t mind thigh, check it out.
If you feel the same way that I do, still check it out for the pub alone (its a must-see location) - but you might want to avoid the parma.
What can I say? I’m a boob man, not a leg man.
Parma - 6.5
Chips - 6.9
Salad - 4.19
Value - 5.8
Total - 5.98
The search continues…