Review of Courtyard Wigan, Chicken Parm
What they say:
Fried chicken burger topped with chorizo, pizza sauce, cheese sauce & swiss cheese. Served on a brioche bun with salad.
East Meets West (well, Middlesbrough meets Wigan), or so I thought.
Amongst the latest round of specials at Wigan’s little gem, the Courtyard, is the Chicken Parm.
I initially thought this might be a version of Middlesbrough’s finest – the Parmo, but looking more carefully at the ingredients, I suspect “Parm” means Parmigiano – this is a chicken burger par excellence, on paper anyway.
I’ve had some good food here before so when this popped up I wasn’t going to miss it. Beeline to the Courtyard!
Before I sit down and start enjoying this food on your behalf, a couple of notes are necessary. I decided to upgrade my fries to the current special – Poutine Fries and I’m very fond of poutine. However, if we are being true to the food type, the fries weren’t technically poutine.
Why, you may ask? Well, as I understand it, traditional Québécois poutine is made with cheese curds and this has melted Cheddar.
In terms of the fries, this effectively made them cheesy fries loaded with brisket, rather than poutine. Still very delicious.
And the burger, a “not quite Parmo” loaded with pizza-ish things. Actually, you get the idea – dishes are generally loaded at the Courtyard so you must always bring an appetite.
On the face of it, there’s nothing I dislike. I overheard two young girls at the next table who were clearly having the same thing “like a chicken pizza on a bun”.
You can certainly see why they might say it – it’s the flavours – but it isn’t strictly true. The chicken in question is a large fried chicken “burger”, not of the sort you’d expect on a pizza. On its own, rather good – a crispy crumb and juicy fried chicken.
What you are getting then, is chef Jim’s take on fried chicken, pizza and burger all in one. What then makes this stand out is that he has decided to give it very pizza-esque notes in the form of pizza sauce (which is on the menu) and pesto mayo (which isn’t).
As well as this, there’s chorizo, onion and tomato. So clearly a lot to deal with in what is an uncharacteristically small (for the Courtyard) stack. Does the Chicken Parm work?
Well, yes and no. It is downright tasty, and very enjoyable. I reckon it might work equally as well with beef, but I did end feeling it was more of a pizza burger than a fried chicken burger. The combination of the pesto, the pizza sauce and the slices of tomato were very much the dominant force here, presumably as intended.
The chorizo did come through and worked really well as a Bacon alternative. I rather liked that. Personally, I might be inclined to mute the pizza sauce as it makes the tomato come through too strongly, rather than the cheese which I feel should be allowed at least joint billing.
With all this sauce in play though, you certainly aren’t left wanting for lubrication.
So, in essence what we have here is a very enjoyable chicken burger with a bold pizza flavour. However, given my initial misunderstanding, I left actually wanting to see a Wigan Parmo on next month’s specials. I bet it could work!
There’s also a duck sandwich / burger on the specials menu, which frankly sounds terrific. Service and pricing as per previous visits – both top notch.