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Lunch at Gundaroo

By H1NG0 - 24 January 2008 45

Last weekend, my partner and I decided to take a trip out to Gundaroo since we had heard good things but had never been. While we visited this pretty little town, we decided we could probably “Grab some lunch at the pub”. For those who don’t know (and me at the time), the Royal Hotel is home of the award winning restaurant, ‘Grazing’.

As we walked in, I thought the place looked nice and rustic, similar to other restaurants I have been to in other country towns. We walked up to the bar and told the staff that we would like a table for lunch. I was looking forward to maybe getting an open hamburger, some calamari or a nice fish. The staffs were pleasant and took us to a table and served us water.

As I opened the menu, I was immediately disappointed. The mains were more suited to dinner, and there was little in the way of lunch food. All I wanted was some kind of seafood. What is wrong with maybe a grilled fish and chips or salad? Calamari was listed as an entrée, I decided just to go with that and have one of their home brewed beers. My partner did the same but ordered Ravioli and a side of beer battered chips.

As the entrées were just shy of the $20 mark each, I figured they would probably make a good light lunch and the beer battered chips would fill the gap. We ordered our meals and beers and waited patiently. The place was quite busy and it appeared most of their customers came straight from David Jones.

After about 15 or 20 minutes our meals came out, before our drinks I might add. Now I may be being old fashioned here, but I don’t think 12 strands of herbs and literally 3 pieces of calamari classifies as even an entrée, especially at the $16 mark. My “polenta crusted calamari with a salad of green mango, kaffir lime, chilli, young coconut and pickled cucumber topped with roast peanuts and coriander” sounded appetising on the menu but was without a doubt one of the worst things I have ever tasted. I think it was pulled from the ocean in an old boot and left to dry in the sun for a few days. It was so bad, I stopped eating it half way through in the fear of gagging. I expected something advertised as having a salad with it as being something substantial. This salad was barely identifiable.

My partner said that her Ravioli was good and it was at least a little closer to being a meal. After finishing our meals, our beers still had not arrived. I was puzzled as to why it took so long to pour two beers. By this time I was feeling uncomfortable and awkward enough to forget the beers and get out of there. We paid for a meal, minus the beers that never arrived and headed home.

It would have to be the most bizarre dining experiences of my life. Admittedly, we were a bit deceived by the down to earth exterior. I also felt like a bit of an idiot not knowing how ridiculously small these entrées were before I ordered them. Most restaurants I have been to have meal sized entrées and I assumed this place was no different. I guess I should have studied this place a bit better before going inside. On the other hand, it would have been nice to be notified that I was ordering the equivalent of half a spring roll and that “with salad” actually means sweet f*** all.

I have been to several classy restaurants in my time, that is not the point, it is the fact that they forgot our order and the meals were not only tiny, they were barely edible. In fact, the Alto restaurant at Black Mountain Tower in my opinion is more accommodating and better value for money, and I have heard plenty of bad reviews about that place. I’m not one to usually complain, but I don’t think I have ever left an eatery feeling disappointed. It may be a nice place to go for dinner or for a wedding reception, but if you are looking for a nice lunch, forget it.

To put it into perspective, that night we had Indian and ordered two dishes, some rice and two garlic naan breads and it still ended up cheaper than our lunch that day.

What’s Your opinion?


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45 Responses to
Lunch at Gundaroo
Danman 2:57 pm 24 Jan 08

You don’t have to assume I’m some bogan from the suburbs just because I went to a pub and wanted lunch.

I purposely used fictional characters to prove my point in a neutral capacity.
Obviously I made a mistake and guessed you and your wifes name..

What are the chances of that ?

If you are offended by this then so be it, but it was no tmy intention.

wishuwell 2:42 pm 24 Jan 08

Try the Bushranger at Collector. Real pub, real people, counter lunch.

Ingeegoodbee 2:33 pm 24 Jan 08

If I’m thinking of the right place, it’s not a “pub” but rather a restaurant in a building that was once (some time ago) a pub. there’s a diference.

la mente torbida 2:17 pm 24 Jan 08

We three went there on the weekend: wonderful lunch, great beer, good service … no complaints. Maybe you were just unlucky.

BTW: we had just come from Myers…not DJs…I’ll leave it at that

hingo 2:15 pm 24 Jan 08

You are right Skidbladnir, most of those things could have been resolved without posting this here. I figured an unbiased freelance ACT blog would be open to restaurant reviews regardless if I took it up with management or not. Do real food critics notify the manager before they post a negative review?

All things considered, if the majority of people here are willing to defend Grazing and if I am wrong then I am happy for you to pull this review. I have seen people give negative reviews of Musica e in Belconnen, a restaurant I quite like, that doesn’t make them wrong. I hope you get my point.

hingo 2:00 pm 24 Jan 08

As I said Danman, I rocked up at this town, and decided to go to the pub for lunch. I didn’t think that I would have to invest time online to see what food they offered. My mistake. I didn’t think a decent lunch was too hard to come by at a pub.

You are right in saying that dining experiences are quite subjective. I like to go to the local takeaway shop and I also like to dine in places where I can dress up and have a romantic night out, nice view, nice wine etc. This didn’t meet my expectations in any of those categories for me. You don’t have to assume I’m some bogan from the suburbs just because I went to a pub and wanted lunch.

Skidbladnir 1:53 pm 24 Jan 08

Hingo, as far as issues go, most of these could have been resolved by having a word with staff or management before going for the posting-an-adverse-review-online method.
If they’re as award winningly good as their online presence seems to indicate, they would have gone out of their way to make up for it.

Danman 1:51 pm 24 Jan 08

Maybe looking on the website would have prooved fruitful for you before your venture as well ?

Danman 1:50 pm 24 Jan 08

Or perhaps they can take on board what you have said and then judge it for themselves upon trying?

Dining experiences are quite subjective. Daz and Shaz may love a good mixed grill nosh up at quangers bowlo – does not mean that everyone thinks its great – same deal on th eopposite side of the scale. Some of my friends think I am an idiot for paying $50 for mains in Bilsons in Sydney – but I say its worth it.

hingo 1:49 pm 24 Jan 08

I might add that most of these tourist type villages have pubs with a lunch menu. I guess that is what I was expecting and got something totally different. I am surprised that Grazing doesn’t do something similar as I’m sure it would be a pretty big market out there.

You asked me why I didn’t take this up with management. It is because I’m not one of those customers that complains to seek a free meal or some kind of refund. I don’t want apologies, I just want what I ordered and for it to taste good. Is that too much to ask for?

hingo 1:39 pm 24 Jan 08

The waitress said that they would get our beers right away, so I believed her. I didn’t ask the staff about the beer because I was driving anyway and if it never arrived then I simply wouldn’t pay for it. I don’t doubt they serve good food, I’m not sure if I had was an isolated incident since I have never been before.

Sammy, you missed my point. I was after a light lunch, not a full dinner sized meal. which is why I ordered the calamari with a side of chips and since the calamari was said to come with a salad, I assumed it would be enough. After seeing their mains come out to other tables, I assumed they were entrees as they weren’t very big.

I’m not posting this to criticize Grazing, but to let people know that if you are going to go there for lunch, you may want to reconsider.

Danman 1:28 pm 24 Jan 08

To Grazings defence I have eaten there several times and found the food to be of a great standard and not scant on your plate. My wife and I have eaten lunch there before 2 ales each and entree main each worked out to be about $120 with entertainment card. Our food (And Drinks) were served in a timely manner and this was even with a table of approx 10 in another room, as well as several couples.

Additionally, straight from Grazings web site

2007 ACT Tourism Award – Restaurants and Catering Services
2006/2007 Entertainment Gold Award
2006 Best Tourism Restaurant (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2006 Best Restaurant Caterer (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2006 ACT Tourism Award – Restaurants and Catering Services
2005/2006 Entertainment Gold Award
2005 SMH Chef’s Hat.
2005 Restaurant of the Year (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2005 Best Wine List (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2005 Best Informal Modern Australian (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2005 Best Tourism Restaurant (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2005 Best 1st Year Apprentice Chef (Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2005 Best Tourism Restaurant (Regional NSW RCA)
2005 ACT Tourism Award Restaurants and Catering Services
2004/2005 Entertainment Gold Award
2004 Best Restaurant Caterer(Southern/ACT Region RCA)
2004 Best Tourism Restaurant(Southern/ACT Region RCA)

Hopefully what you encountered was an isolated incident.

PS If they were taking so long to get your beer – why did you not remind them. Hospitality staff are huimans as well – they are not serve-bots with indelible memory.

Did you take these issues up with management before making it public ?

Sammy 1:26 pm 24 Jan 08

they forgot our order and the meals were not only tiny, they were barely edible

Well thats at least worth complaining about.

Sammy 1:26 pm 24 Jan 08

Most restaurants I have been to have meal sized entrées

Most restaurants I go to have entree-sized entrees. That’s what makes it an entree.

If you want an entree as a main, you request it, and the adjust the size (and price) accordingly.

Sammy 1:24 pm 24 Jan 08

have one of their home brewed beers … After finishing our meals, our beers still had not arrived

It takes a while to brew beer you know.

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