Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Working Man's Club (Mildura) 04/2017

This club was established in 1895. Although ultimately it had the longest bar in Victoria, about 90 metres, because of a drought, the Murray was so low that, when it opened, no beer was available for almost six months! The club has a long history, intiimately related to Mildura. It has supported the city with donations at times of need and has been a centre of various notable activities. They still have an excellent billiard room. The great Walter Lindrum once played, and won, a competition here!
Their Bistro Cafe must seat well over 100 patrons. At 7.00 pm on Wednesday night it was very full, 
by 9.30 pm it was almost empty. People come, eat and leave, some to go to the adjacent area to 'invest ' in banks of poker machines.
It's run in the same way as many clubs and pubs.
There is an area to queue to order meals and pay, after leaving your table number, 

with a display case of cakes.
and a separate area for self serve salads and bread. 

There is a separate small bar where beverages are purchased. 
We ordered an anti pasti platter ($24.5) which was extremely large.
I would have liked more protein on the dish and both the eggplant and the peppers were very under seasoned.
They have a very large menu with an especially large menu for children. For my main course I chose lamb shanks which I find to be invariably well done in these sort of places.

 It was an excellent choice. A substantial serve with two large shanks and lots of root vegetables and tasty gravy. The shanks had been slow cooked to the point of perfection. If there is a problem with this dish it's that it's big enough for two!
Baked lamb chops with chips was on special.
 Comments: Just what I expect from a club/ bistro cafe
 Score: 13.5/20

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Three Little Pigs (Mildura) 04/2017

This restaurant is attached to the Mercure Hotel. It has street side dining, a substantial rectangular bar 
creating a large U shaped room for diners. Until you sit down tables are white clothed and covered with paper but otherwise bare

until patrons are seated. The venue is hardly decorated at all with a couple of pictures of pigs 
and an odd scene above the bar

Service, provided by a couple of attractive young girls, is quite efficient.
The place is very much meat oriented with some pasta and pizza dishes available.
I tried an entree of a pot of New Zealand green lip mussels drenched in white wine.($18)
They were served with a herb buttered brioche bun and a small salad of carrot and rocket. No problem with opening these mussels, it had all been done for me. This is an odd combination of ingredients which did not match well. The mussels, however, were excellent. the wine was not obvious until I got close to the bottom of the pot so 'drenched in white wine' was a bit of poetic licence.
I also had one of my favourite dishes there - Schweinhaxen ($35) served in the traditional style with sauerkraut and mash. 

It came with some condiments.
Cracked pepper, a herb salt and chili.
I had a bowl of seasonal vegetables too 
Which were excellent. 
The crackling was plentiful and very crisp, perhaps cooked for a little too long the meat was a little dry and not as fatty as i would have expected. This is a huge serve and I was grateful that they are happy for customers to take the uneaten portion home. It easily made two meals.
Their speciality is pork three ways( in a bun,as a slider, pulled pork and pork rib) but for those averse to pork lamb can be substituted.
Six mussels seem a bit over priced but the Schweinhaxen was more than reasonably priced.
Comments: A casual pub style restaurant serving breakfast and dinner.
Score: 13.25/20

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jackies Corner (Mildura) 04/2017

This small, alcohol free, shop front eat in/takeaway Chinese diner is well placed at the start of the main restaurant area in town. They offer a basic menu of Cantonese style dishes, 
which is displayed on their window and in the the restaurant in the style of McDonald's Hungry Jacks and the other fast food outlets.
The kitchen, where chef, assistant, kitchen hand and the person taking orders, presumably Jackie, is open to view.
They have a small very plain area for eat in patrons with four tables and bench seating.
I tried a couple of take away dishes. They were exactly what you would have expected from any suburban Chinese restaurant 40 years ago. The prices are quite high for what you get - $12 upwards for dishes with rice and around $17 for dishes without rice.
Comments: Dull food
Score:13 /20

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trentham Estate (Trentham NSW) 04/2017

This place, as with many vineyard restaurants, has a beautiful setting with pedicured lawns running down to the the banks of the Murray river

and, of course, sustainably farmed Murray Cod is on the menu. 
There is a short drive from the road to the car park before one gets a choice of Cellar door or restaurant.

They have simple, unadorned bare wooden tables, especially suited to some of their youngest clients,
and a wall of windows looking over a patio dining area and the river.

Skye on the left, looked after me admirably.
and also took my photo!
I started with tempura prawns as an entree. ($18)

It was a prawn salad with masses of rocket, tomato, avocado and mayo keeping half a dozen nice sized prawns company. The batter was light and no too fatty and the prawns not at all overcooked.
For  a main course I had the Cod. ($35)
It was a nice size fillet served with a slice of lemon on a generous bed of asparagus, at least a dozen spears, with a beaut fennel and orange salad and some decorative strips of cucumber. This is an extremely delicate fish, both in texture and in taste. Cooked well it's superb and this was.
I enjoyed a glass of the Family Vermentino $7 a glass but $16 a bottle at the cellar door
before moving to the adjacent tasting room where I easily spent four times the price
of the meal on a dozen bottles of port and muscat.
This is a family friendly cafe style restaurant serving very good quality meals, simply presented in a gorgeous setting.
Score 14/20

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Botanica Formerly The Rustic Olive (Mildura) 04/2017

Formerly called The Rustic Olive 
this restaurant was taken over by new management; Chef Dag Demarkow and his wife, Michelle, managing at the front of the house. Looking at past reviews it might be a hard act to follow.
I felt very comfortable when I walked into this large multi-columned room with it's well spaced tables.

pleasant lighting and fans spinning from the ceiling.
Seating is very comfortable too, chairs have padded seats and high padded backs.
The red carpet is a bit tired but still adds to the atmosphere.
Paper covered white clothed tables are good size.
I started with an entree of mussels in a tomato sauce with chorizo and basil served up in a Belgian mussel pot.

This was an excellent dish. The sauce was well seasoned, the chorizo not too spicy and the mussels plump. The ingredients melded well. The grilled bread perfect to mop up the last of the sauce. The only downside was that four of the fourteen mussels had not opened and it was a struggle to find some way to get the mussels out of their shells,
My main course was locally farmed Murray cod. A very fine fish.
Served on a bed of perfectly cooked asparagus With little towers of slices of potato, roasted tomato and a delicious lemon butter sauce. Every element was excellent although I felt the tomato had been roasted until it was too dry and hard. Still an excellent dish.
They have a small wine list, most bottles about $36 and by the glass about $8. I had a glass of Cab/sav which was served in an unusually coarse glass, not a pleasure to drink from! 
Service was friendly, well timed and really tried to please. 
This is the new kid on the block. The menu is not the same as The Rustic Olive and there's nothing rustic about it. For my money (it came to $65), after Stefano's which is an entirely different sort of place, it's the best a la carte restaurant in Mildura.
Score: 15/20

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Thai-Riffic (Mildura) 04/2017

Thai-Riffic is another Langtree St. restaurant.  It aims to provide authentic Thai food with a modern twist. Many restaurants provide a small introduction the origin of their names, when they are not self explanatory, to their aims, and occasionally to their history. T-R does that in spades having pages of information about what their food will do for you and lauding some of their dishes and the health benefits of their food.
They have an introduction, a page of 'Important' information, a note about the use of cutlery by Thai people and they promise (with some dubious explanations):
You will have more immune boosting power
Your heart will be happy
You'll look (and feel) years younger
You'll fight off cold and flu viruses
You'll sleep better
Who knows but when I read stuff like this my pragmatic Western biases become overwhelming.
The venue is simple with bare wooden tables and hard wooden seats.

Decor is largely images of Buddha.

Light bulbs are enclosed in large shades, reminiscent of is sea urchins, or hairy lobster pots.
How did they do.

Tom Yum soup.

The plate was round of course! A pretty standard dish. Up to expectation.
Combo 2, A Thai fish cake, Tempura vegetables and Chicken with three sauces.
The tempura batter was full of oil, the fish cake badly overcooked and dry and the satee sauce for the chicken very very mild, as were the other two dipping sauces - one a sweet chii and the other a standard tempura dipping sauce
Tempura Prawn Spring Rolls.

I did not taste this but apparently it was passable but not more than that.
Money bags.
Evidently tasted about as good as it looked.
Moo Krob

Evidently this is so popular that they warn you that it may not be available!
There was plenty of crisp pork belly buried under the salad and it presented well but even with the addition of cracked pepper, chili and herb salt it remained unexciting.
Massaman Curry
According to the menu rated as the tastiest dish in the world. I guess they did not taste this one.
Pad Hokien Pork

A pleasant sweet noodle dish.
Khao Pad Pork

Left me flat.
Comments: Failed to achieve it's aims on this occasion. Very over rated.
Score: 13.25/20