Britannia Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries….

We learn the sad truth that a steak is only as good as it’s cut
Crispy skin saves the almost cooked Barramundi and
Great specials ensure lots of customers wanting to bag a deal.

britannia-hotel.jpgDiners today we were at the Britannia Hotel.

I’m sure you know this place, situated on Adelaide’s most complicated well known roundabouts on Dequetteville Terrace.

Their website states that this is still a family run business and they offer value for money.

I definitely have to agree with the value for money. Not only were the prices fairly reasonable on the menu, they had a lot of different specials available through the week. I mean really good deals! For example today, Wednesday, the deal was beef or chicken schnitzels for $9.50. The place was full when we got there and I can tell you we saw a LOT of schnitzels coming out!!

A lovely gentleman at the counter took our order and was super friendly. (We didn’t go for the schnitzels) however minutes later a waitress  flies by our table, whips her arm out at the last moment possible and not looking at us for even a brief second, leaves a basket with two rolls in it on our table.
Two things that impressed me about that – First, her stealthiness and two, we got bread! Who even does that anymore! I loved it!

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The dining area is ok. Perhaps a little dated but ok. The outside area is also nice, although too cold for a temperature intolerant person like me on a day like today. There’s also a huge screen television out there. Perfect for watching the footy!
I did like the area behind the bar/counter though. It made good use of space and lighting.

So onto the food. I was about to insist to hubby that I would pick his meal today because he always goes for steak and it’s getting to be a little boring however…. He saw this on the menu “350g Dry aged Scotch fillet steak, free range fried egg, double smoked bacon, broccolini, béarnaise, onion rings ”
He looked at me and with big puppy dog eyes said “How can I go past that?” So I’ll have to use my insisting skills for our next dining experience.
I went for the Grilled N.T. Salt water Barramundi

We were time poor today so no entree’s, just straight to the mains and no thought of dessert.

The meals looked pretty good when they came out!! Hubby’s especially looked very impressive.

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Doesn’t that look divine? And that slab of meat underneath it all was really thick and juicy looking. Unfortunately the compliments stop there. Look, everything else was ok and if you’re eating at a pub maybe you shouldn’t expect more but the meat was chewy even though it was quite pink inside, and it just wasn’t seasoned. I had a little try so I can vouch for hubby’s comments. It was really disappointing.  If I had ordered that, having a craving for a juicy steak, I would have been close to tears thinking, what a waste of calories.
Everything else on the plate was pretty much ok. It wasn’t a total disaster, we just expected a tender steak.

Mine wasn’t awful but it wasn’t brilliant either.

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The salad was nice AND dressed (claps) and it’s really hard to bugger up fries so they were good to eat. I’ve said before that I’m not a huge seafood eater. I know I’ve had Barramundi before though and I’m sure it was quite recently. This didn’t taste like the Barramundi I’d had before. It looks perfectly well cooked but it tasted like it wasn’t. I explained it to hubby saying it was like unexpectedly putting a fork full of animal fat into your mouth when you think you’ve got a chunk of meat. Parts of it had that consistency of fat. The skin on top was wonderful!! Definitely the best bit. Crispy AND full of flavour. I enjoyed that part. I got used to the taste of the fish and finished it all but I’m not sure I’ll be ordering fish again in a hurry.

Please don’t let my comments stop you from going to the Britannia. This was just our experience on one day. There were plenty of people there, mostly in their thirties and forties and all seemingly having a good time. In fact I’d urge you to go and make up your own mind as it does have a good reputation – maybe stick to the specials and discount offers though!

Have you been to the Britannia Hotel?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow..

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The Maid

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We learn that if Cleanliness is next to Godliness, this menu is downright hell on earth,
We find a place that dresses their side salads AND provides enough sauces for the wedges and,
We order a “lasagne” dish with such a generous portion of meat that we question whether it was lasagne.

 

Diners today we were at The Maid and although we got off to a shaky start, it was not so bad in the end!
batch1369975281_the_maid_and_magpie_hotel_1870The first thing that disappointed was that I couldn’t really find any information about this historic building. I found a little online but nothing in the pub itself.
Granted, I may not have looked hard enough but this building is just bursting with history and is such a landmark in this part of the city that I was surprised they wouldn’t be celebrating it.
I’ve always known this building as “The Maid and Magpie” but see their website, and everything else (apart from their building) refers to it as “The Maid”
It’s almost as if they want to distance themselves from the history.

Secondly, we arrived early and were sitting at table near the bistro entrance waiting patiently.The staff could see us. We have arrived early before and staff have still welcomed us and shown us through to a table. This time however, a few minutes before our booked time we stood at the entrance waiting to be seated and staff just continued doing their thing around us. What did they think we were standing there for?

Finally a very nice lady asked “Are you right?” and kindly pointed across the floor to our table. “We’ve got you sitting over there”. Just pick one, any one?

The dining room itself was smaller than I imagined. Pleasant. Candles giving romantic lighting and sixties soul music playing. I liked it.  There was a nice outdoor eating area and a few television screens so you don’t miss out on the game!

maid7The room was clean, unlike the menus that came a few minutes later…

I debated posting this picture as it doesn’t show them in a good light and mostly everything else was good, but honestly, is there any excuse for this? It made us feel a little ill to be honest.
We were the only ones in the dining room for the first forty five minutes (it filled quickly after that) so it’s not like they were running out of menus.
However that’s all small nit-picky stuff. Onto the food!

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We were boring and ordered wedges to share again.

What I want to draw your attention to is the amount of sweet chili and sour cream!

Lovely!

Enough to finish the whole bowl of wedges with. Thank you Maid!

And now another surprise. Hubby didn’t order a steak for main. I know! I was shocked too!! Not only that, he chose a pasta dish! Again, shocking!
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I don’t have a copy of the menu so I’m not sure exactly how it was presented on there except that it said “Lasagne with 11 Meats” or something like that.

Doesn’t that dish look divine? Being a pasta lover I had to reach over and try some.

The meat was soooooo tender, the pasta was lovely soft and melted in my mouth and that sauce!!!

maid2His dish also came with a side salad and it was dressed!
This was a gorgeous Winter warming dish!

Another tick for the Maid!

I thought I’d picked the winning dish tonight but hubby definitely got that honour. Eleven meats is a lot though isn’t it? I tried to think what they could be but decided it’s probably better not knowing and I probably shouldn’t bring that thought up with hubby while he’s eating it.

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I chose a Pub favourite, Open Steak Sandwich.
I wasn’t successful in getting a good photo. It looked better on the plate than this picture allows for.

Being overwhelmed with the size of it, I tried one of the sweet potato wedges first and just loved it! Soooo creamy inside yet still had a little firmness and crunch to it. Best sweet potato wedges I’ve had in a while.
I gave hubby the egg and bacon – I really just like the meat and caramelised onion when it comes to steak sandwiches… oh, and the bread! The bread has to be right too and that’s another thing The Maid got right! I just love this continental bread and it was lightly toasted and just so nice to eat even on it’s own.
I was a little disappointed with mine. The steak looked pink enough inside but it was tough and chewy and because it had been sitting on tomato and lettuce leaves straight from the cooler, it was cold. Even the caramelised onions couldn’t make it better this time. I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

By the time we left the place was filling fast.

It’s definitely a popular place and I’d encourage you to get down there and see what you think for yourselves.

Have you been to The Maid and Magpie?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

Victoria Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries

We learn that ordering a salad doesn’t mean you get a dressing as well
We find a menu that is a meat lover’s dream and
It’s true…. Comfort food brings comfort…

hseirganflb52rhkxeiiDiners today we’re at the Victoria Hotel or “The Vic” as it’s affectionately known.

We’ve been meaning to come back here for a while. Although we came early, the waitress was lovely and got us a nice table in their spacious dining area.

Lots of glass windows means there are gorgeous views of the Southern Adelaide Hills.  I tried to take a couple of photos but wasn’t very successful.

There was a fire place and we made a beeline to it but the waitress kindly told us that all the tables by the fireplace were booked, so we had to sit across the other side of the room. It did fill quite quickly and we weren’t so cold after a drink or two…

The menu was pretty amazing if you love meat! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many steak options. Hubby was quite beside himself! And then we noticed the Graziers T-Bone Challenge – 1kg graziers t-bone topped with 500g of bbq ribs & 500g of devil wings served w/ seasoned wedges & caesar salad. All that for $57.90 which is probably pretty good value.
I believe there is some prize, albeit a t-shirt or something like that, for being able to finish that one. I felt ill just reading it but it would probably make for a good share plate.

We ordered our drinks and also asked for a bottle of water. The waitress said she’d bring them right over. We got our drinks but the water never made it to our table. I’m being picky I know but our meal was almost over by the time I wanted water and realised it hadn’t come out.
FullSizeRender3We decided to start off modestly with a shared plate – HOUSE-MADE TRIO OF DIPS – served w/ assorted breads & petite salad

The menu didn’t specify what the dips were.
We guessed (from left) eggplant, salmon (or some kind of fishiness) and tzatziki.

The breads were good. Crisp. The eggplant was definitely my favourite. The tzatziki was disappointing because it was just so runny. The fish one was a little runny too and the eggplant, while it was the best, could have done with a little more substance but the taste itself of all them was ok.
I was disappointed that the salad had no dressing. Just a bit of rocket and shredded carrot put on a plate. I mean it all looked pretty but I wonder why some places just refuse to dress a salad?

The place had started to fill quickly now and eventually someone came to take our entree plate away and said “did you enjoy your meal?” We replied yes, then as he left hubby said “I think he thinks we’re finished now” and we wondered that for a while as it took some time before our mains came.

FullSizeRender5I felt chilled to my bones when we walked in so for main I ordered serious comfort food – GRAZIERS BEEF PIE – tender graziers beef slow cooked in a rich gravy, encased in golden pastry served with mash potato, peas & topped w/ gravy

It was everything I was expecting it to be. Warm and comforting. The meat inside was tender and delicious. The gravy was wonderful. The peas were firm and sweet and the mash was creamy. Actually the mash was a little lumpy rustic and maybe stodgy but it just reminded me of what I present my family at home so it made me feel good!

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Hubby went for (surprise, surprise) GRAZIERS SCOTCH FILLET 300g –  known as one of the better eating primal cut of beef, the scotch fillet will exceed eating expectations “simply superb”

He ordered it with mushroom sauce on the side. He said while the meat had a really nice flavour, it was a little dry and he was glad he’d gotten the mushroom sauce to eat it with. But that was only a small complaint, he’s a meat eater and he loved it. The menu does state “will exceed eating expectations” and you really shouldn’t put that on there if you can’t deliver! But I’m being picky – It was good and this place obviously knows how to cook meat.

The menu states that all meat dishes come with a Caesar salad and “chet” potatoes. I asked what they were as I was ordering and the waitress said “baked potatoes”. I guess “chet” sounds sexier? I mean if it’s a baked potato, it’s a baked potato… and again, the salad had NO dressing. How can you even call it a Caesar if it has no dressing??

I know I’ve been a little picky but the Vic is definitely a place you want to visit. Good food, nice atmosphere and fairly competitive pricing… and maybe you’re up for that Graziers T-Bone challenge?? I would definitely want to know about that!

Have you been to the Victoria Hotel?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow..

 

Zapatas

Today on the Dining Diaries….

A grumpy waiter does his best to spoil our experience
Nachos!! Nachos!!! Nachos!
Authentic music and good Sangria make everything better

gallery_venue3_Zapata's_800x500.jpgDiners today we were at Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant in North Adelaide. They claim to be Adelaide’s oldest Mexican restaurant and probably are, being established in 1975.

We walked into an almost empty restaurant as dinner service had only just started and a waiter came up to us with no smile and gave us a sense that we had interrupted something really important that he was going to do. It almost made me want to walk out but I’ve wanted to come back to this place for years so we just followed behind him to our table.

FullSizeRender (99).jpgHe sat us by the window and actually it was nice because we could see what was happening on the street outside and it felt a little more intimate.

The disinterested waiter gave us some menus and asked if we wanted to order something to drink. I really wanted to try their sangria but I hadn’t seen it on the drink menu so I asked if they did Sangria. He rolled his eyes and using as little words as possible said chastisingly “front”. I turned to the front of the drink menu and yes, there it was. Silly me. So I ordered some Sangria and tried not to cry.

I have to say, I LOVED that they had Mexican music playing. Loved that! It puts you in the mood. I love the way it’s decorated too. If you’ve been to Montezuma’s you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s not as gaudy as the Montezuma decorations but a more elegant modern Mexican style. (FYI Montezumas is a guilty secret passion for me and gaudy does have it’s place!)

So back to the menu; I thought there were a lot of what you’d expect to find in a Mexican restaurant in Australia, as well as  couple of Mexican inspired dishes. What I should have researched more was the fact that they have half price nacho’s on Wednesday’s! I had heard people saying these serves are really big and when we ordered a large serve to share as an entree, the disinterested waiter’s eyes grew big (Effort) and said “they’re big” and I shut him down with a “we’re big eaters” and he turned away.

Turns out he was right. They were big, but I hate when people say that because my expectation of “big” is not the same as others. Still, they were a big serve and hubby and I easily shared a plate. You’d have trouble getting through this on your own I think!
But remember people, although these nacho’s are definitely worth coming here for, make sure you come on a Wednesday because they’re not cheap.

I couldn’t pick what photo I liked better – I should have had something else in the photo to give you perspective of how big this plate was. There was nothing to complain about that’s for sure! They were delicious!

A different waitress came to take our main order and she was lovely. I was so relieved.
Hubby went for the Carne a La Tampiquena – Combination plate of barbecue fillet Steak with onion and capsicum, a Chicken & cheese Enchilada coated with hot mole sauce, frijoles & salad.
I ordered Chilli Colorado – A typically Mexican dish of hearty beef chunks in a spicy sauce of red chilli served with rich, frijoles and fresh garden salad.


Mine (Above) was just delicious. It might not look so pretty on the plate but the beef was tender and just so full of flavour. The sauce was a little spicy but not overly so that you lose all taste in what you’re eating. The rice was cold which was a little disappointing and the salad wasn’t dressed but I enjoyed this dish anyway and it was perfect on this cold Winter’s night.

FullSizeRender (98)Hubby’s dish was equally interesting…

I’m not sure what he was expecting but when he bit into his steak his eyes glazed over. When he was able to, he told me that it was an excellent cut of steak and one of the most tender steaks he’s ever had.

The tomato and avocado on his plate was so heavily salted that he couldn’t eat it. He kept begging me to try it but why would I want to eat something that I’ve been told is over salted?
No thank you. I’d rather reserve my taste buds for things I’m hoping to like.

FullSizeRender (95)The chicken and cheese enchilada was an interesting item on his plate too because it was coated in a mole sauce.

We didn’t really know what this was.

He got me to try it as he said it had a sweetness to it. Now sweetness is something I don’t mind and I definitely did taste sweetness.

I’ve since looked it up and know what’s in a mole sauce.

It wasn’t unpleasant, and it was good to try something different but I’m not sure that hubby will go for it again.

So to sum everything up, we enjoyed our time here despite the efforts of the grumpy waiter – and let me add that the rest of the staff were really very lovely, warm and friendly.

The menu was varied, the food was good, the sangria was excellent and the nachos were great (Even better on a Wednesday)

Have you been to Zapata’s
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

 

Till next we chow…

Woodville Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We learn that the size of one main is not directly proportional to the size of another
We bask in the glory of a heated outdoor area and
We discover that nice dining areas and friendly staff can push a dining experience over the “average” line.

Hello fellow diners, today the team was at The Woodville Hotel

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The first thing we noticed was that it had a few different dining areas. The main area was completely booked out so we walked out into “the yard”.
According to their website, they have recently upgraded and I quite liked this area. FullSizeRender (89)Although this is an “outside” area, it’s protected from the elements but still allows glorious sunlight to stream on through the windows warming up my chilled bones. The heating in that area helped a bit too!!

There were staff bustling about here and there but all were very friendly and eager to please.
We looked at the menu and I noticed the regular sort of pub fare that you’d expect from any decent bistro. Nothing really jumped out at me. They had parmi’s, steaks, burgers, pizza’s and a few seafood options.
Because I’d seen this on the menu online before arriving, I knew I was going to order the bruschetta to share with hubby as an entree. It also helped that I saw a serve of this coming out and it looked quite big!

For main hubby jumped out of his steak comfort zone and went for the Oven Baked Chicken Breast : Filled with double smoked ham, semi-dried tomato and haloumi cheese served on garlic mash potato and topped with citrus hollandaise

I chose the Coorong Beef Rump Parmigiana: With chips, salad and your choice of sauce

I swear I’d barely sat back at the table after ordering before the bruschetta came out.

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I had been craving this and was really really looking forward to it! It didn’t disappoint. It looked pretty on the plate. The bread was lovely continental bread, lightly toasted, and the tomatoes were sweet and full of flavour. I just love tomato and basil. Such a heavenly combination! The sticky balsamic added a nice touch too. If I’m being picky I’d say I’d prefer my bread to be a little more toasted but hubby said he liked it just the way it was so that just comes down to personal preference.

Unfortunately it was finished just as quick as it came out and now our hunger, rather than being partially satiated, was enraged! We had been warned that hubby’s chicken was going to take at least thirty minutes before it was ready however it did seem like it came out sooner than that. Still, I like when you get that warning because then you’re not left wondering if they’ve forgotten your order.

Hubby was a little disappointed when he saw his dish. Only because to him, it looked small. I’ve taken pictures from both sides so you can get a better idea of what came out.
I thought it looked ok on the plate but probably could have done with a bigger salad so that the meat didn’t look so lonesome and maybe could have done with some fries on there too. I mean when you compare it to what mine was, this is like an itty bitty serve and yet cost quite a bit more than mine. I know that’s not how things are priced but when you have a hunger….
There was nothing wrong with the taste of it. Hubby said it was good. Nice flavours throughout but he couldn’t get past the size of it. Not that he should have complained really because he ended up eating half of mine!

Again I couldn’t choose what picture to post so I’ve shown you a couple from different angles. This beef parmi was HUGE! And they were so generous with that cheese!!
The meat was good, tender, the tomato sauce was ok and the cheese was gooey as it should be. All good. No complaints.
I’m not sure why we weren’t “wowed” as there was nothing wrong with anything either of us ate and everyone was lovely to us. Most of the things we saw on the menu I thought were reasonably priced or at least, comparable to other pubs/bistro’s.

If you’re a local or simply looking for a good bistro I would recommend The Woodville. The food is good, the prices are reasonable, the staff is friendly and from what I see, there’s usually quite a few people about!

Have you been to the Woodville?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…