Thursday, March 10, 2011


My wife was determined on a Thursday lunch so we decided it would be fun to visit a bistro we had frequented thirty years ago at the Warradale Hotel when we were very young.

First impressions were that the furniture was the same as it was 30 or more years ago. There was a rather tired dull look about the place and apart from the bar, was probably more like an old fashioned works cafeteria than a Bistro. The staff were friendly and efficient but the all black uniforms seemed to add to the dullness of the place, and there seemed rather a lot of them. Three in the bistro, three in the kitchen and at least one junior kitchen assistant. Someone had set a junior staff member to work scrubbing the walls and upper areas of the kitchen, including over the doors. Nice to see some attention to hygiene, but I had to wonder why they were carrying open plates of food UNDER where she was mopping the area over the kitchen door.

I was quite horrified at the prices. Having eaten around a lot recently I was not expecting the prices for a Bistro to be quite so high. Perhaps the number of staff forced the prices high so the Hotel could afford them all.

My wife loves a good roast dinner so she ordered the lunchtime special and I settled for fish and chips because everything else seemed overpriced for the premises. These meals were both offered as at a lunch time special price, but were in my opinion, still too expensive when compared to other premises we have visited recently.

Meanwhile we were able to visit the salad bar. I'm not sure if the plates provided came from a child's tea set, but they sure were tiny. In fact all the plates were small and looked old enough to have been there when we last visited a few decades ago. The range of salad's was impressive and well laid out. It included some curried eggs, pasta, steamed cucumber, cherry tomatoes and other items.

Seated back at the table I felt sorry for the quite tasteless curried eggs as they seemed desperately in search of some flavour that I tried to add with salt and pepper, but it was a lost cause. The yellowness of the sauce covering them said curried egg, the absence of any flavour said otherwise. The curly pasta was similarly bland, with a pinkness suggesting something that was not confirmed by taste, but the other salads were crisp, fresh and tasty.

My fish and chips serve arrived quite promptly as did the roast of the day my wife ordered. Hers was quite a large serve visually, but if one was not an aficionado of glazed carrots, the serve was smaller than it looked. Indeed there were so many carrots that my wife wondered if perhaps the chef had recently engaged in a mass buy. The roast had all the right taste and the gravy was good but the meat was somewhat tough. All in all a quite reasonable meal for a lunchtime special, even if rather expensive to rate as such.

My serve was disgraceful. The fish came displayed in a propped up position to make it look good, with the chips in a separate bowl. It was pretty obvious that some larger fillets of fish had been sliced length ways to create the impression of more. I had three of these creations and although very tasty, with an excellent crispy batter, nothing could disguise how little fish one had in so much batter. I estimated I had a total of what would have been served as a single fillet in most other places.

The bowl of chips that accompanied it was even more astonishing. They were admittedly long chips, but there were only nine. Yes nine. Honest! I counted them all. Probably less than a third of the minimum chips serve from ones local fish and chip shop. They were however cooked crisp and firm but strangely lacked taste. How one can make a potato chip taste bland escapes me, but these were quite so.

The meal thus took only a short time to consume and having paid our bill we departed feeling quite disappointed at the price and quality. Certainly compared to our experience at the Hub the previous week it was a pretty poor show.

How so many items could be made to lack taste quite escapes me, so the Warradale Hotel is unlikely to get another visit from us in this lifetime.

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