The White Cockatoo Hotel

When:   9th June 2011
Where:   30 Terminus Street , Petersham
Price:   $19.50

I've had a few tips to try out different parmas since starting this blog. Right from the start though, there was a strong push to go try the bistro at The White Cockatoo Hotel in Petersham.


I took off right after work and found an easy park right near the hotel. Entering through the corner door I was pleasantly surprised. The pub has a real old charm to it. Plenty of wood panelling and nothing pretentious. Just a comfortable place to get off your feet, have a feed, a drink and a chat.


I bought a beer (and as it was a Thursday, got a free ticket in the chocolate wheel) and wandered over to the bistro, towards the back of the pub. It's obvious that the kitchen staff are proud of their schnitzels here. I counted 12 different toppings for the schnitzel on offer. I cant remember them all, but quoting from the hotels website there is:


Plain Schnitzel - With mushroom or green peppercorn sauce
Supreme Schnitzel - With ham and melted cheese on top of fresh tomatoes and onions
Marinara Schnitzel - With garlic prawns and fried calamari
Greek Schnitzel - With herbed tomato salsa, olives and melted feta and tasty cheese
Parmigiana Schnitzel - With herbed tomato salsa and melted cheese on top


There are a lot more available at the hotel, but they dont seem to be listed on the website. Immediately I thought the supreme schnitzel sounded great. I was considering ordering this, but realised that they have another topping called Parmigiana. I would have to order this standard to make sure I am comparing apples with apples.


I placed my order and took a seat along the wall. After about 2 minutes I was informed that a band was going to set up where I was sitting and was asked to move. I took a seat at the bar as there wasnt much room left in the bistro. Its a small place and all the tables are quite close to each other. This can make for a pretty loud situation as everyone competes to be heard.


My parma was brought to where I was sitting along with the salt and pepper. I always thought that if a meal is cooked well, it shouldnt need anything more. It doesn't put a lot of confidence in me when even the staff are insinuating that this is going to need more flavour.


The plate was put in front of me and my heart stopped. It stopped from the shock of how big this schnitzel was and at the thought that if I finish it all, my heart will probably give up on its own anyway. It was at least 30cm across. The sight of it brought murmurs and comments from the other tables.


"Did you see the size of that? Thats massive"


At least I hope they were talking about the schnitzel. I then took a photo of it (sorry about the quality of this. My regular camera/phone is getting fixed. Using an old school replacement). While looking at the image on my crappy phone and trying to make it less blurry, I realised something. Where's the salad? I was disappointed. A meal this big would need some roughage to help me digest it all.


The sauce (actually described as a herbed tomato salsa on the menu) was very pale in colour. It's hard to tell from the image, but it does go to the edge of the whole schnitzel. Its just such a pale colour that it kind of blends in with the crumb.


I tried the chips first and was immediately thankful for the staff bringing me the salt. They were simply frozen chips that were chucked in the deep fryer, then chucked on the plate. They could have done with few more minutes in the fryer as well. They went cold quickly and were pretty firm.


I was happy cutting into the parma. It was a good thickness through the whole breast and it was nice and juicy. The crumbs were excellent. They were crunchy and had herbs mixed through them. The sauce (sorry, salsa) was ok. The flavour was fine, but the issues I had were the colour (it was weirding me out) and the consistency. It was too runny and was pooling toward the middle of the parma making the crumb here soggy. I really didnt like the cheese. It was pretty bland and oily.


While eating the parma I was thinking about the size of the chicken that would have to produce this sized breast. It was halfway through the meal I realised the trick theyd pulled. It was actually just two schnitzels pushed up against each other, then covered in the sauce and cheese. This bummed me out, because I was really fascinated how they had come across such a massive piece of chicken.


While $19.50 might be cheap for two chicken parmas, I really would have preferred a smaller one, for half the price.


And the band never actually set up.

3.4 out of 10