Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover....

This was the term my wife used last night while we were sitting at dinner..

It's school holidays here in Australia and every December/January school holidays my children head up to their nanna's in the Clare Valley, they usually go for a week each school holidays however over the big break they head up for two trips...

So as you can imagine, my wife and I tend to eat out alot while their away...

The night before we went to our local Caffe Primo, not bad, it has my loyalty at the moment due to the current Chef's Special BBQ Ribs, slow cooked in honey and BBQ sauce with a dash of apple cider... Just brilliant, almost as good as the massive bench of ribs at Outback Jacks...

My wife mentioned the night before about a local pub called the Albion Hotel, its located in Kilburn, South Australia. For those that don't know, Kilburn is one of those areas which generally you lock your doors when driving through, has a bad reputation and will take many years and alot of redevelopment to finally lose the name...

I was hesitant due to the factors above, and I didn't expect the quality of the food to be big, I had vision's of a dodgy pub in the outback not very clean and stuff..

Probably a bit harsh but unfortunately impressions of the area aren't great, I had heard though of a group who piled a bit of cash into the pub and renovated it so part of me was thinking this might turn out ok...

And I was very pleasantly suprised, we walked into the pub and it was huge, it has its own sports bar and drive through bottle shop but the restuarant section was massive.

Looking at the menu my eyes quickly jumped to the Seafood Platter for one, has to be one as i'm the only one in my family that likes seafood... I was enticed though by the schnitzel's and the mixed grill...

However looking at the Seafood Platter... Salt and Pepper Calamari, Grilled Prawns, Deep Fried Flathead, Kilpatrick Oysters on a bed of fries.

My wife decided on the Chicken Minion so with that I dashed up to the counter.

Might just be me but some things really crack me up, like when standing in a line for a long time while you watch 4 waitresses finding stuff to do whilst one takes orders.. So my impression was still a little ho hum..

Whilst at the counter I noticed a special - "Try our new improved Garlic Bread for $2.90".. Well, $2.90 is worth a punt so I added that to the order.

We decided to get into the salad/vegie bar first, not bad and a good selection.

The garlic bread arrived and I was ecstatic, 3 big pieces of turkish bread slathered in garlic butter... Very very tasty.

Our mains came out not long after which was another good suprise, nothing worse than waiting hours for meals to come out...

The Seafood Platter looked awesome, so did my wife's Chicken Minion... Could have comfortably taken either dish.

Tucking into it the taste buds were dancing for joy as the calamari was perfectly seasoned and cooked just right, oysters were just a delight and the prawns were the highlight of the dish perfectly grilled with a hint of spices added to it for a little extra kick.

The let down for me was the fish, the batter was very dense and doughy.. but, added to their beautiful tartare sauce it wasn't too bad.
Overall though I would definately order again, the Seafood Platter only cost $22 and was value for money!

My wife was very happy with the Chicken Minion, I managed to snare a small morsel and the piece I tried it looked to be a great dish, one my wife thoroughlly enjoyed.

We sat both happy and content overall with the mains, one thing stood out though.... the dessert menu sneaking out of the drinks card, there it stood for all to see, Sticky Date Pudding.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a big weakness for Sticky Date Pudding... We don't usually order desserts at the restuarants, most of the time we're too full to have anything else...

This time we took the plunge, My wife ordered a gluten free chocolate cake and I took the plunge on the sticky date.

From all reports the chocky cake was very very tasty, the sticky date for me was too cakey, very fluffy almost like the banana cake I cook... The sauce was good but a bit weaker than i'm used too. Don't get me wrong it wasn't the worst one i've had, actually i'd get it again, it just didn't have that wow factor.

An example, we dined at Charlies Diner last week, this is an all you can eat restuarant, after gorging myself on an array of spaghetti, chinese, roast, seafood etc. I decided to try the dessert, the sticky date pudding was simply the best I have ever ever had. It reminded me of a chocolate brownie, the way the cake was, it wasn't fluffy and light, it was dense and thick like the brownie, the sauce which came with it was also stunning. Rich, really rich and full of flavour, that one piece of Sticky Date simply had the wow factor.

So, overall, our experience at the Albion Hotel was very good, My wife reminded me afterwards never to judge the book by its cover, or I guess of its surroundings...

I would absolutely recommend the Albion, it had a great atmosphere and the food was really good quality. If your keen to check it out, head to www.albionhotel.com.au. It caters for families well with probably the cheapest kids menu i've seen of only $5.50!