The Palais

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Lets talk about The Palais  at Semaphore.

 

 

IMG_5437We 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.

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Onion Rings

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.

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Jalapeno Poppers

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.

IMG_5440The 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.

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Pork Sliders

 

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.

 

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Fish and Chips

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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Margarita Pizza

 

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…

The Hotel Astor

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Today I found myself at The Hotel Astor with hubby.
I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to have a good or bad reputation.In fact I must admit, apart from the name, I wasn’t familiar with this place at all so it was going to be a new experience.

We arrived just after midday on a Sunday afternoon. Probably still a little early for lunch but hubby had a late afternoon work shift so we had to be in and out pretty quickly.
There was only one other table with people when we arrived and that was on the outside.
We wandered inside and found ourselves a table without barely seeing  a staff member.
To get to the restrooms, you need to go past the kitchen where hubby spied a lone chef roasting veggies and simmering a tomato sauce. It didn’t seem like they were preparing for a big Sunday.

Time to look at the menu….
We noticed they had $12 Lunch time specials. Hubby was looking at them but I said “honey I’m pretty sure if you order anything from there you’re going to be disappointed”. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews you will know that hubby likes big food and I’m pretty sure you’re not going to get that for $12.

So we ordered a starter: Cajun Chicken Dippers for $14.90. The menu said they’d be served with Chipotle Mayo and Hickory BBQ sauce.

For main I got an Eggplant Parmigiana ($16.90) and it’s description was “Roasted Eggplant topped with Napoli sauce, Sweet Basil and Mozzarella, served with Sweet Potato Wedges & Green Leaf Salad”.

Hubby ordered the Club Sandwich – Grilled chicken with bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, aioli & Fries all for $16.90.

FullSizeRender (1)We were seated in the Atrium Bar.

They had a few big screen TV’s which I think is always good for casual dining. It was a little chilly, or maybe that was just because we were in a big room with no one else in it and hardly anyone to be seen.

To be fair, by the time we left, there were a few tables filled and even more outside.
For some reason there’s a dead tree branch hanging over one of the bars. I’m sure there’s a reason why it’s there even if it’s just to be an interesting point of discussion.

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Cajun Chicken Dippers

Our starter didn’t take long to come out.

Unsurprisingly, hubby was disappointed with the size.

I must say, I often wonder why restaurants will send out loads of sauce and small amounts of food.
We had three fingers of chicken and two big pots of sauce.
The chicken itself was nice and moist. It’s very easy to serve a dry chicken breast but this was cooked well.
I preferred the Hickory BBQ sauce. There was such a strong smoked taste and you didn’t need to have very much to get a burst of flavour. Perhaps my mistake was to have the BBQ sauce first because when I tasted the Chipotle one, I didn’t taste anything at all. Hubby suggested to try it on it’s own, so I did, and maybe caught a hint of a taste of something…
The starter came with a few leaves of Rocket on the plate as well. No dressing, just some lettuce leaves to add colour. I guess it doesn’t matter if it tastes good as we eat with our eyes right?

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Eggplant Parmagiana

We didn’t have to wait long for our mains to come.

My Eggplant Parmagiana looked colourful and delicious too and perhaps, not as I expected it to be. I cut some of the eggplant and as I put it into my mouth was immediately in heaven. Such a strong eggplant taste! Gorgeous! With the next bite I got some melted cheese and zingy tomato with basil. It was really so good! I wanted to try something else on my plate but found I couldn’t stop eating the Eggplant parmagiana!
The Sweet potato wedges were a little of a let down. They were soft, no crispy skin, and not well seasoned either but they were filling and complimented the Eggplant.
Mine also came with a Green Leaf Salad however it had more than a fair share of shredded carrot and cabbage. So what is it? Coleslaw with lettuce leaves? At least it had dressing this time. Again, it was OK but probably more of a plate filler than anything else.

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Club Sandwich

The Club sandwich was a good size so hubby was happy with that. Hubby was looking at the menu so I asked him why. “It’s supposed to have cheese” he said. We looked through, sure enough, no cheese. But he said it was pretty much what he was expecting. He doesn’t normally have avocado but thought it was a nice addition and actually liked the taste in his sandwich. I did see him pulling out a couple of pieces of fat from the bacon which was a little off putting. Not that he was pulling it out, but that it was in there in the first place!

Overall it was an OK experience but I don’t think we’ll be back.
Their weekday specials look interesting but not enough to get us back there after toady.
If I lived in the area I’d probably give it another go but it’s not something I’d go out of my way for.

Have you eaten at the Hotel Astor?

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…