St Francis Winery

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Potential elegance awaits,
Pretty food wows diners and
The specials boards entices us to eat things we wouldn’t normally….

898718-st-francis-wineryDiners today we made a trip to St Francis Winery which is on Old South Rd at Reynella.
The website says the Winery was established around 1852 and if you’d like to know more about the history of the property I’d encourage you to have a look through their website.

As for us, we were just having lunch today although it is a perfectly picturesque place to have a wedding or other function. In fact, I must mention I remember coming here a few years ago when I was part of a female barberhop quartet and singing at one of those functions!

As you walk into the main dining area you get a feeling that you’re walking into an elegant room. On closer inspection you notice that perhaps it could do with a complete refurbishment. The furniture and carpets look a little dated but what this room does have going for it are the pretty green views from the large windows.

The staff were very courteous and guided us to a table. The menu had some really interesting things on there, including a share plate as part of their “specials” board, that had crocodile on there! Well we just had to try that!

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From left we had Peking Duck shanks, Tempura soft shell crab, Salt and Pepper Crocodile and a Crispy Asian Salad. I guess the salad was under the Tempura soft shell crab.

What I loved about this share plate was that we got to try things we wouldn’t have normally eaten. Now I have had crocodile once before, and that was in Cairns. The crocodile on this dish was a much “chunkier” piece and I got to have a good taste. I remembered what I’d said about it the first time I’d eaten it. It seems to have a taste that’s in between seafood and meat. It’s not a tender meat, but it does have a slight seafood taste. It can be tough and stringy and yet there’s something pleasing about it also – That could have something to do with the way it was cooked and flavours that came with it but I really liked it.
The next thing I tried was the Peking Duck. I’m not sure what the “Peking” part actually means but these were cold slices. They tasted ok and as expected were very similar to chicken. It was just a little strange having a cold meat on a dish that had two other hot meats.
The Tempura soft shell crab was also interesting. I must admit it was a lot “mooshier” on the inside than I was expecting. I have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like, I can only comment on what I ate. It was cooked in a very crispy and tasty batter so I enjoyed it, but I can’t say I got to taste a lot of the crab.
The share plate came presented really nicely and again, I’m glad we ordered this and got to try a few things we normally wouldn’t have.

While we waited for our mains I saw other plates coming out, including a few dishes I’d been tossing up between and they looked really good!!! Everything coming out looked so pretty on the plate! I like that they place a lot of importance on presentation, without skimping on the size of the meal.

For main, hubby ordered from the specials board also. He picked the Beef Brisket.
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I noticed this on the specials board too but couldn’t get past a bad experience we had with Beef Brisket at another establishment….
But look at how good it looks! Those vegetables especially!
I offered to trade one of my potatoes for one of those onions on hubby’s plate but he said no way.
He said the meat was tender and had a nice smoky flavour. The vegetables were a great accompaniment and the mash had a nice, subtle, garlic flavour.
I’d probably be more inclined to have this on a cold Winter’s night than a humid Summer day but still, he enjoyed what he had.

For main I chose the Atlantic Salmon
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This Salmon had the best and most crispiest skin I’ve had since I started reviewing. It was really beautiful to eat. If it had been cooked any longer, the Salmon would have been in danger of being too dry but as it was, it was cooked well and had a beautiful colour and taste to it.
I’m not too sure what was on top of the salad but that was nice and fresh. The vegetables were crispy and gave the dish a nice colour variation!

I really liked the way we were treated by the wait staff too. They were present but not so much that it ruined your dining experience.

The one little negative, probably not worth mentioning but I will, was I tried the wine they recommended, and I can’t say I liked it – That’s kind of disappointing when you’re dining at a Winery however it was a minor thing.

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

Till next we chow…

The Sneaky Pickle

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A hungry ‘cowboy’ enters hungry, empties his pockets, and still leaves hungry…
Dim lighting is used, not for romantic purposes, but so you can’t see how small your serve is and…
Not sure how to deal with a waiter who joins you at your table to explain the menu and take your order.

Diners, you may think I like doing reviews where I write about all the things I didn’t like but in fact I loathe them and yet I would be disingenuous if I wrote anything but what I’m about to write about The Sneaky Pickle.

This place came with a HUGE recommendation from a previously trusted source so hubby and I were quite eager to try it out.

sp1.jpgIt’s location on Goodwood Rd is a little difficult to get to and the frontage is quite unappealing. We didn’t even know if they were open! Hubby tried the door and said it was still locked. We waited in the car for another ten minutes or so when finally I said I’d try the door… I couldn’t believe they’d still be closed when it’s after their advertised opening hours….
Turns out hubby hadn’t turned the handle…. they’d been open..
But honestly you wouldn’t know because it seems like you’re walking into a shop that hasn’t been used in years.
From the outside, we couldn’t hear or see anything going on inside.

When we finally did get inside I felt a little better. It seemed like a pretty cool place – American BBQ is their style. There were lots of decorations on the wall, heavy wood furniture, hipster looking waiters and it was dark. I mean really dark!
There was music playing that ranged from Country and Western to Sixties lounge jazz.


We were sitting right under the watchful eye of that big guy on the right there.

There’s lots of huge wooden benches/booths and hubby and I sat in one. A few minutes later the bearded waiter came and squashed in alongside us so he could explain how the menu works.

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So they’ve got those BBQ meats on the top  of the menu. You pick the meats and quantity you want. That’s what they want you to do, and then you pick your sides. You do have a couple of options for sandwiches but they really want you to pick the meats and sides.
We didn’t have the Chicken thighs or Bourbon wings options on the menu we were given.

I don’t have a picture of the drinks menu but they mainly have American Beers and soda’s here.

So I went and ordered one each of the BBQ meats, a side of Texas Beans (+bacon + chili) and a serve of Bread Rolls. Remember when places would just serve you bread??
The menu says that the BBQ meats come with House pickles and BBQ sauce.

Well my dear diners, here is what we got for $39

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See the pickle and sauce on the left bottom of the tray? That’s what they gave us to go with the BBQ meats. “All BBQ meats come with House pickles and BBQ sauce.”
Sneaky Pickle indeed!!!

Those bread rolls were tiny. One bite and they were gone. I mostly stuck to the beans because I’m usually not a big meat eater and nothing there looked appealing to me. The Brisket was ok but it had huge gobs of fat in it. The pulled pork was ok. Hubby really liked the rib but he wasn’t sure of the value for money seeing as one rib was $7. ONE.
Hubby didn’t like the sausage at all. It had a very smoky taste and seemed a bit gritty as well. I had a little of it but wouldn’t have been able to eat a whole one. I’m not sure what the herb or spice was in there.

I tried to take a few more photos of the food, getting a little closer on some of the meats…

I had to wonder why they kept the room so dark. The windows were furnished with heavy black curtains. Is it so you can pretend to be whisked away to Texas or so that you don’t see how small the serve is you’re getting?
I really didn’t like those camp style plates and trays they were using either. And they brought us that platter of food to share, but no side plates so we could actually eat our food in front of us instead of having to reach for the centre of the table and hope we didn’t drop any.

The food didn’t take long to be gone, not because we loved it, but because there wasn’t much there…. So we left poorer and still hungry…
But it was ok, we stopped in at a Maccas on the way home and filled up with a few little naughty things for a fraction of the money we’d spent at the Sneaky Pickle…

We remembered the quote “Everything is bigger in Texas” but then were reminded that we were actually not in Texas and it all made sense…

This place seems to have a bit of a cult following so please don’t just take my word for it.
If you do go though, be prepared ….

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

Till next we chow…