The Best Restaurant For Parmos in Teesside - The Ship at Redmarshall

4 Sept 2019

'Proper' date nights don't happen too often in our house. You know the kind - going out to the cinema or bowling or some other fun activity, then then going out for a meal - the stereotypical date. We usually opt to stay in, cook our own food and watch a film to try and save on money, but every now and then, we like to indulge. To a Northerner, nothing is quite as indulgent as a parmo, and one of our favourite places to grab this treat is at the The Ship Inn in Redmarshall.

The Ship Inn is a place that I've been a lot to with family. It's been the final destination of our Boxing Day walks for a few years and it's somewhere that we've been to eat on many occasions, so it's a staple name in my family home. It's a place that I'd mentioned to Alex quite a lot, particularly when talking about parmos (because what else do Boro-dwellers talk about?), and promised that I'd take him some time. What's quite nice about having a fella that's not from the area is introducing him to all of these places, and after one visit to the restaurant a few months back, he instantly fell in love.

After going along a couple of times together, plus enjoying the spot with my family, I felt like it was about time I shared it with all of you too!

What is a parmo?

If you're from across the pond or even from an area of England that isn't classed as 'the North', you may not have actually heard of a parmo before. If that's the case, it's totally understandable because this is a delicacy that is really only found in Teesside - the teeny area of the North East that I live in. It originates back to World War II, when a United States chef was wounded and brought to a UK hospital for treatment. He moved to Middlesbrough in 1958, opened a restaurant on Linthorpe Road and created the iconic Boro dish.

To put it simply, a parmo is a breaded and fried cutlet of chicken, topped with bechamel sauce and melted cheddar cheese. It's received wide criticism with people blaming it for obesity in children on Teesside, but let's face it - the parmo has been around for over 60 years. I'm not sure it's going to be abolished any time soon!

While there is the 'standard' formula to putting a parmo together, what we love the most about The Ship Inn is that it takes this typical parmo construction and tips it on its head... I'll explain a bit more in a second.
I woke up last Friday, thinking to myself, 'we haven't had a parmo in ages and I've just been paid. I think this is a sign.' So I suggested to Alex that we book a little table at The Ship and, of course, he agreed. It's recommended that you book ahead because the restaurant can get quite busy, so I pinged them over a Facebook message and we were sorted. All I had to do now was make it through the work day without falling asleep and dreaming of cheesy chicken too much. Usually, I'd pre-look at a menu online and think about what I'm gonna order, but with The Ship, I make an exception.

What sets this restaurant apart from other parmo offerings is their humongous selection. Sure, a lot of restaurants around here will have a standard parmo or maybe a hot shot (with pepperoni and jalapenos on top), but The Ship has a parmo menu separate to the normal menu. It's themed around the globe, with parmo offerings that are topped with a variety of ingredients to give them a taste of a specific country or city. With that in mind, there are 35 different ones to choose from. That's right... 35! Some might argue that that is just way too much choice and in other cases, I'd probably agree, but with this place, it's perfect because you can all order different flavours and share!

A small only costs £9, but the medium is what I usually go for (and struggle to finish towards the end) at £13. If you're sharing, a large is the way to go at £17. I've heard that the latter is absolutely monstrous and isn't for the faint-hearted, so choose wisely! Each comes with chunky chips and side salad too.

Speaking of sharing, I know it's not for everyone. Sometimes you just wanna eat what you've ordered without anyone else's sticky mitts all over it, right? But The Ship also offer parmo sharing platters, which is what we opted for this time around. There are three platter options, but we chose the deluxe platter at £22. This gave us five of the 'fancier' parmos in miniature to sample, plus chips and salad. I also ordered a garlic mayo because parmo without garlic is serious sacrilege.
On the deluxe platter, you receive:
  • Meze - parmo decorated with parma ham, red peppers, pesto, halloumi and herbs
  • Bacon-de-Brie - parmo with creamy Brie, bacon pieces and sweet onion
  • The Mafia - parmo with chunky tomato sauce, crispy parma ham and mozzarella
  • Shawarmo - parmo topped with a marinated chicken skewer, raita and harissa
  • The Drunken Rasta - parmo with fruity jerk sauce, peppers, onions and a shot of rum

We went splitsies on every single one, even the spicy one! Luckily, every bit I had of Shawarmo seemed to avoid any of the spice, so I could enjoy it without burning my mouth off. However, I think my favourite of the bunch was Bacon-de-Brie. I'm a basic Brie fan, so breaded chicken, smothered in Brie and bacon bits is totally up my street. The cheese was creamy and worked so beautifully with the chicken. I could quite happily eat a full-sized one next time we visit! My least favourite was probably The Drunken Rasta, but even that was yummy. The jerk sauce was a little too intense for me, but it did add a gorgeous sweetness to the chicken and the lingering aftertaste of rum was sooooo delish. It was hard to pick a least favourite because they were all so great, but yeah, the jerk sauce let me down a little with The Drunken Rasta.

Another shining star of this sharing board was the chunky chips. I am a massive chunky chip fan, so whenever I'm eating out and I see that chunky chips are on the menu, I get a little bit excited. I don't quite know what it is, but there's just something about a giant piece of fried potato that is just so darn good!

Now, if you're a parmo eater, you may think that these small slices don't look like a lot. But according to our lovely waitress, these sharing boards have been designed to give you five samples that equate to the size of a large parmo, so you're actually eating a fair amount. Both of us were totally stuffed after our sharing board and we couldn't even bring ourselves to eat the ice cream that we had in the freezer that we were so excited about. It was probably for the best anyway!

Overall, our meal of a parmo sharing platter, a pint of beer and two soft drinks came to just over £31, so it wasn't bank-breaking and worked out at less than £16 per person. That's definitely not a price to be sniffed at and is quite the steal, considering the amount of choice on offer, the quality of the food, the amazing service and the portion sizes.
So if you live in the Teesside area or are ever visiting, The Ship Inn at Redmarshall is definitely one to look out for. If you're not a parmo fan, don't worry! This is a regular menu, plus plenty of veggie options, and an extensive bar list, so there's something for absolutely everyone. But if you are a parmo fan, this is certainly the spot for you. Someone needs to make it their mission to try all the parmos on the menu and report back to me on which is the best!

The Ship Inn (14 Church Lane, Redmarshall, TS21 1EP) is open Monday to Thursday from 12PM - 11PM, Friday and Saturday from 12PM - 12AM, and Sunday from 12Pm - 6PM. Booking is advised.

For more information, click here.

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