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Lunch at Gundaroo

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.


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45 Responses to Lunch at Gundaroo
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kittycat kittycat 12:05 am 01 Feb 08

Yay!!! grazing on packet chipS!!!!

kittycat kittycat 11:49 pm 31 Jan 08

Dont complain….i recently had come to Gundaroo one Wednesday……nothing was freaking open!!! We had a lovely wine tasting at Clonakilla then a bag of dorittos at the 7/11 in Gundaroo. Sad, we so wanted to do a Pub Lunch somewhere???

ant ant 5:22 pm 27 Jan 08

For pizza, woodfired ovens are all very well, but what makes it pop is the way the dough’s made, and then the stuff they put on top. Dough is all, however.
I’m looking forward to being in the Gundaroo region soon so’s to try their pizzas.

sepi sepi 5:11 pm 27 Jan 08

Grazing is great. They are aiming for simple, quality meals with high quality local meats and vegetables.

The pizza place is also great, in a more cheap and cheerful kind of way. (Although the pizzas are woodfired, with feta and mussels etc, not ‘supreme’)

A quick look at the menu and the prices should have been enough to work out if Grazing is your type of venue or not. Also – every time I’ve ever been there the carpark is filled with beamers and mercs – a bit of a giveaway that it is not a cheap pub lunch on offer.

qwerky qwerky 3:45 pm 27 Jan 08

Sorry to hear about your experience with Grazing, a restaurant I had considered trying sometime. I strongly recommend Cork Street pizza place next time you’re at Gundaroo. Ian’s been making top pizzas for years and does it really well. You can sit outside under the umbrellas and enjoy a very reasonably priced, non-entree sized meal!

hingo hingo 7:46 pm 26 Jan 08

Thanks for the reply Grazing. Although your response, to me, appears to be more of an advertisement thinly disguised as an apology, I’ll let that slide. I understand you probably aim for a market that I’m in no way part of, so I admit that this article probably shouldn’t have been posted as it is more subjective to the diner. As I said earlier, I had no problem with your staff and found them to be pleasant. The missing drinks was an honest mistake. I hope you take into consideration maybe some kind of lunch menu. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Anyway, the fact that you read this and took notice deserves credit. Thanks!

astrojax astrojax 9:20 pm 25 Jan 08

cool, good on yas, grazing dudes… still rekkun the pizza place is better tucker and better value, but i, for one, applaud use of local produce. noice. (will be back some time – i thought it was good food, though even more inventivenes would be welcome)

howdy howdy 9:24 am 25 Jan 08

Nice to see they support local and organic produce : )

la mente torbida la mente torbida 9:14 am 25 Jan 08

Response from Grazing…’nuff said

ant ant 10:33 pm 24 Jan 08

I’ve heard the pizza place is one of the best in the ACT region (and that’s not difficult, it’s a pizza wasteland), you prolly should’ve got a couple of pizzas, and then camped out on the kerb with a couple of takeaways from the “pub”.

Grazing Grazing 10:14 pm 24 Jan 08

Dear Hingo,

In response to your posting,let us express how sorry we are that you had a bad experience at our restaurant recently.
You are right that the beers should have arrived shortly after you ordered them.

We are also sorry that you felt that your calamari was not up to standard.

The thing we are most sorry for is the fact that you did not give us a chance to rectify your experience on the day.

We are a popular dining and functions destination in beautiful Gundaroo.We pride ourselves on using local and organic produce wherever possible (hence the lack of seafood on our menu). We feel that we offer competitive prices for such quality. We also pride ourselves on supporting local vineyards by featuring a regonal wine list which highlights some of Canberra’s best wines and beers .

Grazing Restaurant has never claimed to be a pub nor offer pub style counter meals.

For more information on our prices, functions and menus please take a look at our website http://www.grazing.com.au and perhaps you might subscribe to our monthly e-news letter (on the website) so that you can read about our latest recipes and events happening at our beautiful restaurant. You can also catch our Executive Chef soon at cooking coordinates (Belconnen Markets)teaching a “Grazing” cooking class, and also on the Lifestyle Food Network (foxtel), on the 7th Feb, @ 9pm, which showcases 3 of the A.C.T.’s top chefs cooking their signature dishes.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers and supporters. It’s nice to know that our hard work doesn’t go unappreciated.

The Grazing Team, Gundaroo

P.S.- At Grazing, we do not have a dress code, so please feel free to look as good as you want!!

astrojax astrojax 9:11 pm 24 Jan 08

and i second the votes for the cork st cafe pizza place – yum!!! (and usually a fab selction of cakes, so save room for dessert and coffee!!

howdy howdy 6:00 pm 24 Jan 08

Oh yeah and it was called ‘Grazing’. Big warning about meal sizes there : P

howdy howdy 5:59 pm 24 Jan 08

I guess one way to guess at how ‘pub-ish’ a place is (before you enter) is to look at the amount of money they seem to put into the ‘little things’ like tablecloths, restricted seating, a fancy restaurant name hanging up, quality of furniture etc.

Given that, there are also cheap places that look very well presented – but judging a place by how much money they put into it is often a gamble in the best direction (maybe this place looks dodgy though, I’ve never been).

Buy the beer first I reckon, then take some time to asses your enemy! : )

hingo hingo 5:53 pm 24 Jan 08

Yeah I saw the pizza place. I have heard it is great. I’ll be sure to go there next time.

sepi sepi 5:46 pm 24 Jan 08

Grazing is aiming to be more gourmet than pub lunch. And I too would steer far clear of seafood at a small town far inland.

You could have got a counter meal at the ‘wine bar’ at gundaroo I think. And the pizza shop is fantastic – try that next time.

howdy howdy 5:44 pm 24 Jan 08

Yeah well, you thought it was a pub, easy mistake to make. All these pubs that try to be ‘cool’. That’s not the Australian way! : P

(Joke joke – I still love the variety in our country : )

hingo hingo 5:41 pm 24 Jan 08

Yeah I know. I need all the support I can get with this one believe me, its appreciated 🙂

howdy howdy 5:38 pm 24 Jan 08

“That’s why we like them : )”
You will also see me at the Lakes stuffin me face!

BTW – I was kinda stickin up for you 😛

hingo hingo 5:33 pm 24 Jan 08

If it looks like a pub and has something like “Royal Hotel” written on the front of it, then I hope I am excused for thinking it was a pub. After all, I am still relatively new to ACT.

Howdy, there is nothing wrong with pub meals, you know the next time you sink some piss you’ll be back eating there again 🙂 Followed by a kebab later in the night of course.

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