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.