Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!

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The Union

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re Knock, Gnoch, Gnocching on heavens door,
I have Coriander; that wonderful burst of flavour that says “surprise I’m here!”
We experience beef two ways – Tender and/or chewy with a touch of gristle.

union-hotelHello fellow diners, today we were at The Union Hotel – That wonderful little pub on Waymouth Street in Adelaide’s CBD.

It was about 2pm on a Saturday afternoon so I called ahead to make sure they were still serving. We had come here a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday only to find they don’t open on a Sunday! That was a bit of a shock…

After calling I learned they were serving lunch till 3pm so that was good for us! When we got there we found there was only one other table being used.

I thought that was a bit sad because it looked like a really nice place. It was a clean and comfortable dining area and the staff seemed friendly and ready to help.

We sat inside although they do have a nice outdoor eating area too – too bad there’s a carpark that adjoins it though I’m sure it would bring nice shade in Summer.

We decided to start with a bowl of wedges because we like eating wedges!
Unfortunately, although the wedges themselves were crisp and fresh, the amount of chili sauce and sour cream did not match the amount of wedges!

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Hubby and I made it work though by agreeing I wouldn’t have any chili sauce or sour cream.
It’s called compromise – Next time it’s my turn!

For main, hubby ordered Chilli Chorizo Gnocchi- Pan Fried Potato Dumplings, Chorizo, Capsicum, Garlic, Sofrito, Black Olives, Baby Spinach & Aged Parmesan

I was a little shocked but glad he was exploring foods he wouldn’t normally order.

I went for the Beef & Cashew Stir Fry – Asian Vegetables, Garlic, Chilli & Coriander

The food came out relatively quickly. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t come to check how our meals were going, given that they had so few people in the dining room. It did feel a bit lonely out there I have to say! Glad there was music playing….

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Both dishes looked pretty magnificent when they came out.

Hubby’s gnocchi was just so delicious!

I even got to try one!

It was like a little pillow of softness in my mouth.

They were just so tasty.
It’s not always easy to get gnocchi right and these were really cooked well.

Hubby really enjoyed the strong spicy and delicious flavours.

He would have wished to have had a bit of a bigger serve but that’s only because we like to eat big!

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I rushed taking this picture of mine because I just wanted to dig into it!  It smelled so good!

The first bites were just magical. Tender beef with glorious explosions of coriander! I’d forgotten that coriander had been mentioned in the menu description and was pleasantly surprised.

The other thing that was mentioned on the menu were cashew nuts and unfortunately I don’t think there were enough of these but maybe that’s because I really really really love cashews!

The more I ate, the more I realised the meat was a bit hit and miss. Some pieces were juicy tender while others were tough and chewy and a couple even had gristle on them.
It didn’t stop me from enjoying this dish though as the sauces and spices really made for a great taste and it’s not something I usually order.

I’ve been to The Union after work a few times and have always found the staff to be friendly. They have pizza specials through the week and a few times when I’ve been there they’ve even brought out pizza samples to encourage people to order them.
What I ate seemed pretty good and I would probably get one if I found myself there during the week.

All in all I would recommend the Union if you’re wanting a nice casual meal and I’m sure I’ll be back in the not too distant future!

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

Till next we chow…

The Pickled Duck

Today on the Dining Diaries,

The size of the chili and the sour cream provided actually match the amount of wedges given,
The size and layout of the restaurant make our hearts go pitter, patter and
The size of the burger make us wonder if indeed, size does matter?

the-pickled-duck-5.jpgToday the team were at The Pickled Duck.

Ever since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had recommendations to visit The Pickled Duck.
Today, as we found ourselves in the area we thought, why not?

It was a strange time to be eating – 3.30pm. We had both missed lunch and didn’t want to wait three hours or so for dinner but The Pickled Duck have all day dining so that was helpful!

The first thing we noticed as we walked in was how large and clean the restaurant was. High ceilings and heavy wood featured in the decor giving us a relaxed, family style restaurant feeling. Maybe something Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch would have designed.  It made us feel comfortable!
We were given menus and told to come up to the bar when we were ready to order.

The menu itself was simple and easy to understand. They mostly have burgers, pizza’s and a few salads as well. They also had desserts on the menu, including dessert pizzas!

From what I had heard, burgers were the specialty so I was eager to try one. Hubby decided to go for some sliders so that he could get a good idea of what a few different burgers would taste like. I think the slider option is a great one for exactly that reason and on this menu you were able to order as many as you want, starting from just one which is great if you have someone with a small appetite in your party.

The restaurant is next to a bottle shop and they have a joining door which could prove to be handy. They encourage their diners to take advantage of the wine cellar where they showcase a fine collection of Australian and world renowned wines. They also have a unique selection of craft beers from some of the finest South Australian microbreweries.
I did think there were lots of great options on the wine menu and ordered one of my favourites.

I did feel a little disappointed when the meals came out. In retrospect, they were very filling and I’m sure the size would be big enough for the average diner but my first impression was that it was a little small.
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I ordered the Swiss Beef Burger.
Beef, sautéed swiss mushrooms, caramelised onions, rocket, gorgonzola cheese sauce.

It was such a tasty little package!! The meat was just gorgeously seasoned and the caramelised onions.. mmmm is there a more perfect combination? They weren’t stingy on the muchrooms either and together, it was really a delight to eat. Hubby was both amused and horrified as he watched me trying to eat this with sauces dripping down my fingers and smeared on my face. But that’s got to tell you that what you’re eating is good right??

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He made a really good choice ordering the four sliders.

BEEF SLIDER- smoky BBQ onion jam
PORK SLIDER- asian slaw, baja sauce
DUCK SLIDER- pickled green onion, carrot slaw
CHICKEN SLIDER -smashed avocado, rocket

He started off with the pork slider. He said he found it a little dry but it was still very good and tasty.
The next one he tried was the beef slider and that was such a brilliant explosion of taste in his mouth that he decided to keep that one till last. He loved the bbq sauce – He said it reminded him of bbq ribs.
His third slider was the chicken slider. He said that was delicious also and was smothered in mayonnaise.
Last of all was the duck slider. We had forgotten that was one of the options and as we don’t often eat duck, were interested in how it would taste. Hubby said it was nice but not his favourite. I’m not into pickled onions in my burgers so I don’t think I would have liked this one myself.

FullSizeRender (35)We also ordered some wedges and I’m just mentioning them as surprisingly, we even had a little sour cream and chili left over after the wedges were gone… That never happens!!

I liked that the server came to check on us to make sure everything was as we’d ordered. I had told him that I’d heard good things about this place and he said must have been because of his great service which I thought was a good response!

All in all we had a nice time at The Pickled Duck. The food is definitely above average and you can tell they really care about what they’re going to present you.
Definitely a recommend from me!

Have you eaten at The Pickled Duck?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

The British

FullSizeRender (7).jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

We are given the choice to BBQ our own meat,
We find out if bechemel sauce is a necessary ingredient for Moussaka
and staff sing the praises for another pub across town.

It certainly was a lovely day in Adelaide today and I quite enjoyed the drive to The British hotel that ended up taking us through the city.
I had never been to the British before, though I’d been up and down Melbourne St a million times in my life, I’d never even know of this pub that was around the corner.

It looked nice enough from the outside; quaint even. We walked in and a lovely staff member saw us right away and took us to a table.
I immediately loved the decor in this place. Corrugated iron, chunky wooden slat tables and chairs with wrought iron. Lovely greenery throughout and red pavers on the ground to give you the illusion of being outdoors, even though we were in heated comfort. It felt familiar and comfortable.
Music was playing that was loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that it was a distraction.

I ordered an Annie Lane’s Cabernet Merlot and read through the menu.
I thought it was a nice varied menu and was determined to get something different this time.
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The most interesting thing about the menu, and in fact, the British Hotel, is that for a discounted price, they allow you to cook your own meat.

Hubby and I thought this might be fun to do if you were coming down with a group but honestly, I think I spend enough hours cooking at home and was happy enough to trust a professional to do it in the kitchen.

I think it’s a great novelty though and I’m sure many people have done this in the past.

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Wedges

Being a little boring, we started off with some Wedges to share, served with sweet chili and sour cream.
Hubby can’t go past a good piece of meat these days and ordered the Sirloin. I felt a little more adventurous (for me) and ordered the Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka with asparagus salad and red capsicum sauce.

Always eager to make sure we’ve made a good choice I eagerly watched other dishes coming out. They looked gorgeously grand and seemed to be quite generous serves. Tick!

I wasn’t disappointed when my lentil moussaka came out.
It looked so colourful and smelt wonderful. I don’t often eat lentils but I do like them so this was a treat for me today.
I’m usually a huge fan of moussaka so I was really curious to see how they were going to make a lentil moussaka

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Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka

The lentils were just divine and there was just enough spice to bring an immediate warmth to your mouth, but not to overpower the taste. I could still taste that delightful eggplant and with all the elements combined it was a party in my mouth! Well done!

FullSizeRender (5)My only criticism is that I wouldn’t have called this dish a Moussaka.
What part of it made it a moussaka? That it had eggplant? Because for me, that’s where it would have ended.
There was no cheese or bechemel sauce in this dish, nothing to indicate to me that it was a moussaka.

I may be wrong in my assumption of what makes a moussaka. Either way, it was delicious anyway and it’s probably sexier to call it a moussaka rather than lentils wrapped in eggplant… So I do get it, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting even if I enjoyed it all the same.

Hubby’s sirloin looked great when it came out too

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Sirloin Steak

If I was to have any criticism, I would just say the dish itself looked a little boring. There were really only two colours on here. Perhaps a little bit of green might have lifted the presentation and made you feel like you were eating something special.

As it was, the meat was really well cooked and beautifully tender. Hubby asked for it FullSizeRender (6)medium rare.

It looks kind of medium to me in this pic, however as he got more into it, parts of it were definitely rare, bordering blue.

Although I normally don’t eat a lot of meat, this is how I love my steaks and hubby wasn’t complaining about it either as he said the flavours were really delicious.
There were a few pieces of sinew in there which kind of spoilt his experience a little but I guess you have to expect that maybe?

Another small criticism is that I wasn’t asked at any point if I wanted more wine and hubby and I weren’t asked how are meals were.
I think it’s really important to make sure the diner is happy with how their steak has been cooked especially. However, this is a minor criticism as we had no complaints.

While we were paying for our meal, I got talking to a staff member and I was telling him how I was really enjoying visiting different places that I normally wouldn’t have gone to and he asked me if I’d been to the Publishers Hotel.
I said in fact yes I have! And that I had been really impressed. He said he’d also heard it was really good and was really looking forward to going there himself.

All in all, a very satisfying experience.

Have you eaten at The British? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…