Friday, April 1, 2011


Having tried the Old Noarlunga hotel recently we decided it was high time to try the coastal version and have a meal at the PORT NOARLUNGA HOTEL.
Nice surroundings when you walk in and quite modern interior. A sign requires you to report to the bar before being seated which seemed a little superfluous as you have to report to another counter to get served. But it all went smoothly and we were able to pretty much choose our own spot. We placed our orders at the ‘other’ counter in an alcove by the kitchen and were strangely met by the same person we had arranged seating with.

There were some specials on offer, one of which was a fish meal at a special price, so I went for that while my wife decided on the daily roast, which is of course her favourite.

There is a nicely equipped salad bar with hot vegetables as well, so I decided to take advantage of that and returned to the table with a plate of various things, all of which were quite good standard pub food. I had time to consume that sample and go for a second before the food arrived, which was a little surprising as we were early and hardly any orders had been placed. It filled up later, but at the time there were hardly any other people in the whole Bistro.

However in my case it was just as well because had I not had time for two plates of salad I would certainly have starved on the fish meal when it arrived. Of all the reviews of all the places in the south of Adelaide, that was the second poorest serve. Only the Warradale was worse. There were 17 chips (one was more like a fragment so I would say 16.3 chips.) and a very inadequate piece of fish on the plate. Now across the road is the Old Noarlunga fish and chip shop I reviewed previously and I reckon that if I had walked out the door with only half the cash I had paid, I could have come back with a serve of fish and chips that would make the one served up look totally embarrassing. It was pretty well cooked though, brown crispy batter with tasty fish, but it was so small I decided to eat quickly in case a fisheries inspector arrived and wanted to seize my meal for evidence of under size. Compared to the excellent serve at the Blanche Town Hotel, (see review) for exactly the same price, this meal was almost a joke.

My wife on the other hand had a generous serving of roast meat with accompaniments that she found tasty and bordering on more than she could eat. For that reason she made only one trip to the salad bar and was content. But it was kind of a bit one sided with her munching happily away while I had consumed my really small serve in a very short time, so I made another trip to the salad bar. I was determined not to go home hungry and eventually made a fourth trip.
The offerings of the salad and hot vegetables bar was quite wide ranging through crispy salads to three types of pasta salad that were quite nice. Cheesy white sauce coated Broccoli formed a top layer of one container with white cauliflower underneath and it seemed quite popular as the level fell quickly. A bit too popular perhaps because it did not seem to get topped up and was obviously intended to last a lot longer than the diners took to consume it. On return to the table each time I found my wife happily munching away. For a standard pub ‘roast of the day’ she thought it was pretty good. Not bad, not spectacular, just good. Most of the meat was nicely cooked but she had to leave some as it was too tough.

In general it was all very standard. No single item that I could say really stood out for taste or even to catch the eye. It was plentiful and it was edible, but it was all kind of ‘ho hum’. So average as to be a flat line. I would suggest that anyone wanting a nice predictably average meal for a reasonable price would probably find the Port Noarlunga Hotel a good place for the family to meet and it was obvious looking around the Bistro that by the time we left several families were meeting for celebrations. Reasonable price would not however include the fish and chips serve. For that I would suggest you leave the family to eat, and wander across the road for a meal that would at least be filling and half the price.

I don’t want to be too harsh. We’ve been there before and had a standard meal. There is not much wrong with the place and the salad bar is well stocked. But the meal and the menu was so average that I wondered if they had some sort of franchise  going with the Warradale hotel, as their fish offering was certainly similar. So if you want to visit a good pub bistro without any fuss, then the Port Noarlunga Hotel would probably suit you...just don’t order the fish if you are hungry!

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