Where? - 2 Burke Square, Daylesford.
Price? - $26
Website? - http://www.daylesfordhotel.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Emma, Fridge, Grace, Hayden, Kylie, Lee, Mel, Nikki, Nugget, Shanan, Stefo, Tim & Tony.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, I think I brushed on it on our review of the Old Hepburn, but I love Daylesford.
A bit of backstory - My family owns a property at Daylesford, so as a kid I spent almost every weekend between the ages of zero to sixteen in that town. Then from the age of eighteen (well, seventeen, but shhh) it became the go-to place for weekend drinking sessions with my mates.
So, in very large part, I grew up in Daylesford. I've seen it boom from anonymous country town to the powerhouse weekender that it is today - and the Daylesford Hotel (or "Toggies" as I always knew it growing up) has been a big part of those memories. I remember having chicken kiev's followed by brandy snaps with my parents in 1993, and I remember games of pool with my mates, rocking out to Rage Against the Machine on the video jukebox in 2001.
The Daylesford Hotel has been on my list of pubs to review since the inception of ParmaDaze, but the logistics of getting a big enough review team up there on a weekend has always been a bit of a sticking point - So when I had a bit of a birthday shindig up in Daylesford last weekend it seemed like the perfect plan. Drinks on Saturday night, parmas on Sunday morning. Wanting to make a bit of an event out of it a few of us took the Friday off work and made it a long weekend (you can check out some snaps I took along the way over at the ParmaDaze Instagram).
On Friday night we jumped in a maxi and were headed to try the new Burger and Rib joint, "The Galley Diner", however we forgot the cardinal rule of weeknights in Daylesford - The town pretty much shuts down at 9 o'clock. We drove past the Galley at about quarter to nine and the chairs were already stacked on the table. Okay, new plan ... lets head to the pub.
Although extremely tempting, we decided that getting a parma would be blowing the surprise for our scheduled trip on Sunday - So we restrained ourselves and went for burgers instead...
Sounded good enough to me, so for the first of two visits to the Daylesford Hotel that weekend, we placed our order...
Now, I am by no means a burger aficionado, but god damn that was a tasty burger. The patty, the bun, the bacon, the unbelievably crisp cos lettuce leaf ... it was delightful. We left the pub on Friday night both satisfied and with high hopes for what we would find on Sunday's main event.
Saturday came and went. Many beers were consumed and a good time was had by all. Sunday morning a (slightly seedy) group of fourteen hungry patrons headed into the Daylesford Hotel for lunch.
The 100+ year old pub has had a few facelifts in its time, but the latest renno's are nothing short of spectacular. The pub has a modern vibe while still retaining the cosiness and charm that I love so much. There are plenty of options depending on what you feel like doing with your time - With a spacious dining room, cosy lounge nook complete with couches and fireplace, an inviting front bar and even a neat little beer garden out the back (not to mention an amazing view of the town from the balcony upstairs).
Alright, enough about the pub - On to the parmas. We placed our order for fourteen birds and awaited their arrival.
The tap list is small, but there's something for everyone's taste (from Boags to Little Creatures you should be sorted) and if that doesn't satisfy there's a range of bottled beers from local Victorian breweries in the fridge.
Before too long the parmas started appearing from the kitchen.
Now, there was a bit of variance in appearance among the plates - pictured above is the parma that I received (you'll notice I had a nasty case of curly ham), however others were a little more lucky, reviewer Nikki's serving is pictured below.
Thats more like it! (however my comments will relate to my parma, the first one pictured).
As you can see this parma's biggest problem is readily apparent - it was overcooked. Such a shame, too as the chicken was thick, pure chicken breast, great quality with fantastic crumbs. Thickness of the breasts varied around the table, I think I got the unlucky draw as mine was probably the thinnest of the bunch (which, as you can see, is still pretty thick). But the well done schnitzel was definitely a let down. It needed to be juicy - unfortunately it was dry.
The toppings, however, did their darnedest to bring this parma back. Everything atop this parma was an explosion of flavour. I'm not sure if it was the ham or the napoli (my money is on the napoli) but good lord this was a flavourful parma. Just the right amount of saltiness with a perfect richness to the napoli without being overpowering (although my napoli also suffered a little from being overcooked, I would have liked more but it was still damn tasty).
It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of fries with my parmas, but I will say that, for fries, these were okay. Served piping hot, beside the parma and with plenty of seasoning (plus with tomato sauce and a side of gravy supplied to those who requested it) they did a decent job as a side to this dish - Nothing to write home about, but nothing offensive.
The salad came off as a bit of an afterthought - It's not like they were hiding anything, the menu touts it as "salad leaves" and thats exactly what was served - lettuce leaves. They were tossed in a tiny bit of dressing but I would have loved some more - at the very least everything was fresh and crispy
Opinion of this parma wavered wildly amongst the group - some loved it, some were less than impressed -
For $26 I'd say this was a little pricey for what we received. Even if it weren't overcooked the $26 price point is reserved for the best-of-the-best. The pub offers a $20 pot & parma night from 6pm every Wednesday which is a much more appetising deal.
It's times like this that I wish we gave a score for atmosphere, as I love the Daylesford hotel. The staff were amazingly inviting, friendly and helpful, and the pub is the perfect place to stop in for a beer or two on the weekend and some quality pub grub. I'm hoping that we simply got a bad batch, perhaps a bulk order for fourteen parmas in the middle of the Sunday lunch rush was a tall order for a country pub. Would I have the parma again the next time I pop in? I'd consider it. Despite the aforementioned errors all the elements of a fantastic parma were there ... Although I'd have to think long and hard about my decision, as that burger was damned good as well.
- Top quality ingredients
- Amazingly flavoursome toppings
- Fantastically friendly and inviting pub
- Overcooked, dry chicken
- Afterthought of a salad