Lets talk about The Palais at Semaphore.
We were celebrating my daughter Sarah graduating from her degree so it was a special night. There were five of us in total.
Sarah is a vegetarian so we usually look up a menu online before we go, to make sure there are vegetarian options for her.
Hubby had seen a deal for The Palais so we decided to go there after checking out their Bistro menu first.
It clearly says Bistro Menu on the link I googled and clearly gives times for when this food is available. Sarah had her heart set on the Vegetarian burger which I thought sounded pretty good too.
So after an excitable day, all five of us jump into the car and head on over to The Palais. We find the Bistro part and get seated to the table I had booked. I looked at the menu and immediately noticed it wasn’t the same as the one I’d seen online. Actually, it was pretty much the same except there were no burgers on there. None at all.
As some of us were in an emotional state this caused distress as we had driven a long way to get here, and the one thing Sarah had been looking for was not on the menu. Not only that, but there were very few vegetarian options.
Let me tell you restaurants and cafes, taking the meat out of something does not make a vegetarian dish!!!
Do they expect people to order Wedges if they’re vegetarian? Or perhaps the Pasta special but we’ll just take out the pieces of meat? Or maybe just a Quinoa Salad? Or maybe Sarah could have just had the Salad Bar option? But why should she have to settle for only the Salad bar, when the rest of us are eating meals? Why aren’t there real options for her? And why was the menu not the same as the one online one??? This was the very reason we’d researched it before making our booking! Not happy Palais!
Anyhow, thinking people these days would be reasonable about this sort of thing, we went to speak to the server who’d seated us. He was pretty vague so we waited in line to speak to the person who took the food orders.
She was apologetic but basically said the vegetarian burger is only available from the bar menu (which is not what the online bistro menu says) and, not her exact words, there was no way in hell they would let her order from that menu and bring it up to the Bistro area.
I just found that really disappointing.
So, we left the Bistro and the salad bar (hubby is quite attracted to salad bar’s these days) and the option of a 300 gram steak, and headed on down to the Beach bar which was quieter.
We chose a nice spot in the covered outdoor area and with the heaters on, it was really quite comfortable. We all know, the bogan in me is partial to a big screen TV which is what they have out there so I was happy enough.
The staff down there were lovely and friendly. We ordered Onion Rings and Jalapeño poppers to start.
The Poppers were the best thing of the night by far! They had a nice cheesy centre which was followed by an explosion of heat. I liked the delayed reaction. You would be just enjoying the creaminess of the cheese then be hit by hot! They were delicious.
The Onion rings on the other hand, as with everything else that was fried last night, had a hard outer crust. I was tapping them against my plate and they didn’t break. I could have used them for drum sticks.
I couldn’t really taste the onion inside either.
Two of us ordered Schnitzel’s.
Again the crumbing was so hard it was almost difficult to cut through with the knife they give you. There wasn’t any seasoning in there either.
Perhaps the oil is old because it was just a stale mess. I ended up taking the crumbing off, but the meat itself was very tough as well. I gave the rest to hubby.
The schnitzel’s came with fries which, you guessed it, were also fried in that terrible oil so had a staleness to them. They were also tough. I don’t know what causes hard stale chips but that’s what these were like.
The apple/cabbage slaw that comes with it on the other hand was delicious! Oftentimes I find places use more dressing than I like but they had just enough to coat the salad lightly, giving us an opportunity to actually taste it! Well done on that Palais.
Hubby was quiet after his meal came so I knew he was enjoying it.
He ordered the Pork sliders.
The menu describes it as tender slow roasted shredded pork belly served in mini brioche buns.
I’m pretty sure his pork wasn’t shredded and it didn’t look like a brioche bun to me! It looked more like a steamed bun.
In any case, he said everything was tender and delicious and continued to eat without further comment.
My son Josh ordered fish and chips which he said was delicious too. But then, he’s a 20 year old male so it’s probably not surprising. Chips? Fried? He’s in!
You may be wondering what my daughter Sarah, the vegetarian, ordered.
To our surprise, she didn’t order the vegetarian burger.
I was kind of hoping she would because I wanted to see what it was like and maybe have a little taste.
Instead she went for the Margarita Pizza. She said the toppings tasted fresh and in fact, the little bits of tomato looked really nice.
The dough appeared not to be frozen which is also a good thing.
I had a little taste and thought it was all OK too.
So let’s have a bit of a “Good-Bad-Ugly” summary.
The Good: Definitely the Jalapeño Poppers. I felt a bit sorry for hubby because he told me later he’d ordered those for himself but I said they were for everyone to share when they came to the table. Still, there was a good amount in there. We all got at least one and he still had quite a few to enjoy for himself.
The staff downstairs were also very friendly and made us feel welcome.
The Bad: Old oil in their fryers and lack of seasoning in their food.
The Ugly: No good Vegetarian options or considerations for Vegetarian people – it dominated our conversation for the night.
It’s unlikely that I’ll ever eat here again. I’ve since heard some mixed reviews about the Palais. Some good and some bad. Maybe it just depends on who is cooking on the night or what meal you order, or perhaps even if you order from the Bistro or Beach Cafe menu.
Have you been to the Palais?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!
Til next we chow…