Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whistle Stop at Goolwa

Somewhat smarting at our experience at Hector’s on the Wharf I decided to go with the advice of my older brother, so we headed off to try the restaurant of his recommendation and previous good experience.
Whistlestop is a small but well presented restaurant on the south side of the main road from Victor Harbour, just after you enter Goolwa.  We  entered and looked about to see if there was a table where the three of us could be comfortable. A charming lady host appeared and invited us to sit where ever we wished. She invited us to sit at a table set for four and certainly had no qualms about there being only three of us.
The menu was quite exciting.  Usually my wife and I choose something different, but after several false starts we both decided we had to go for the same dish a Lamb Burger with a very juicy description. My brother chose a fresh fish dish.  However the menu was so interesting that I kept looking at the daily specials and others displayed on the wall and at the front door. Salt and Pepper Prawns with a light Thai dressing on fresh salad kept beckoning to me, but my mind was no sooner settled that it would be the dish to try next time, than something else grabbed my attention, especially the description of the steak dishes. Heck, I could have happily eaten any of the offerings shown.
Having ordered we were then able to sit back and relax. As the driver I settled for a soft drink, but as the others were absolved of the responsibility of that duty, decided on a glass of wine each. A nice White wine recommended by the hostess for my wife; and red for my brother. One often finds a house wine, to be a pretty cheap drop, but in this case both declared the wine to be very good indeed and the price quite reasonable too.
In addition to the Hostess there appeared to be two other staff who were nicely dressed in appropriate Chef gear, looking neat and clean. Some other diners had just left and we late arrivals were the only customers, so I was a little surprised that the meal was moderately slow in coming. Not terribly so, but longer than I would expect, especially as I could see the kitchen staff and they certainly didn’t look over worked.
The meals were delivered and immediately impressed us all. The Lamb Burgers were huge. Freshly toasted long buns that had crunch to them yet were easy to eat. The bread bun was tasty and quite light, but felt like it would be quite filling. The bun was crammed full of crunchy fresh salad, caramelized onions and a huge minted lamb Pattie all topped with a very nice pickled sauce. The combination was cleverly thought out and a delight to the palate. Perhaps the only thing I would suggest would be to make the Pattie a bit longer and narrower so as to match the size of the bun. It would make it slightly easier to eat, but it was really a very minor issue. As it was the Lamb was cooked to perfection, was juicy, had a good texture and was the perfect match for the other ingredients.
The main dish was surrounded with a whole heap of chips. So many I didn’t feel the need to count them as in some of my other reviews and can happily report that they were numerous. Not just chips either. These were crispy potato chips of very high standard. I know in other reviews I have praised some chips as probably the best you can get, but there is no doubt that the ones we were offered at ‘Whistle Stop’ easily beat them all. It’s a long drive, but I think I would drive all that way just to get more of the crisp tasty chips. They were very impressive indeed. If there was a blue ribbon for potato chips I would expect to see it hanging on the wall of that restaurant. I checked with my brother, who seemed to have similarly enjoyed his fish meal. He declared it very good quality, fresh and tasty, with the chips also getting top marks.
My wife was obviously enjoying her serve of the same dish and appreciated that the wine recommended by the hostess seemed to go with it very nicely. That is an important part of the dining experience, so with a comfortable table, nice wine, good food, plenty of elbow room and an attentive hostess, the meal was pleasing for us both and we were able to chat happily.
This was a restaurant, not a shopping centre eating place, so you would expect to pay a little more for the surroundings and service. The external layout was obviously designed to attract those who did want to make a quick stop as indeed the name of the place itself implied. However the prices were not at all as high as I might have expected. Of the many places we have visited recently, this one certainly sits very high on the list of places to recommend to friends, family and readers of this Blog.
So if you are planning a scenic drive down to the bottom of the Fleurieu Peninsular the enjoyment of the day can be further enhanced with a visit to WHISTLE STOP.

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