About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We'll Have the Lamb and Duck
How could you explain yourself better?

We picked up a few brochures from the information stand at Ballarat's Eureka Stockade building and amongst them was one for The Glasshouse Restaurant & Lounge Bar, which included their menu.

Things change, so I called the restaurant to see if the smoked lamb rack on a potato hash with a haricot bean cassoulet and the confit of duck legs with red wine poached pear and date chutney were still on the menu. They confirmed they were, so a booking was made.

Here's a tip for restaurateurs - make sure that whoever answers the phone is thoroughly familiar with the menu; it doesn't pay to have customers disappointed before even ordering.

When we arrived we were shown to our table and perused the menu, those two dishes were nowhere to be seen. The poor waitress was left in the firing line as I explained that we had booked our table on the basis of those two dishes. Crestfallen, we decided to soldier on and ordered off the menu. There was an intriguing dish of kangaroo fillet served on mountain pepper mash, along with some bush tucker chutney.

I hesitated, worried the earlier mix-up might indicate that the kitchen might not cook exactly to order, a proposition that could render the delicate kangaroo fillet overcooked and inedible due to the leanness of this meat. It proved to be a well founded concern. The rib-eye steak that was ordered medium-rare, came to the table one short step from well-done, was tough and left largely uneaten.

It was difficult to reconcile the overcooking of the steak with the perfection of the vegetables - the broccolini and asparagus were cooked by someone with good feel - still crunchy but cooked through, whilst retaining vivid colour and the garlic flavoured mash was light, fluffy and with just the right amount of garlic goodness. My wife also loved her duck breast with a gently aromatic cinnamon sauce, but the damage had well and truly been done by this stage and we left for alternative dessert pastures.
  posted at 9:42 am

At 4:12 pm, Blogger Ange said...

Thats such a shame! I know I look forward to going out even more now that I dont do it as often (think 1 year old), I always spend a lot of time thinking about where I want to go & if the food sucks then I am really dissapointed to have wasted an opportunity that could have been better spent elsewhere

At 6:09 pm, Blogger t h e - g o b b l e r said...

One of my pet hates Neil is the website that isn't updated frequently. It shits me no end & is sooo lazy!

At 7:14 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Dang Neil I'm sitting here now 4am with bread rising and all I can think about now is smoked lamb rack on a potato hash with a haricot bean cassoulet - gadfry oh I'd love to try that, even read about you trying it would help.
"Alternative Dessert Pastures" is that a new place in town? :))

At 5:32 am, Blogger katiez said...

Obviously there was no one at the restaurant (other than the veggie chef) who cared. We go out to dinner so rarely that we always try to choose carefully, as well. When we lived in Andorra it was a bit of a crap-shoot... Fortunately, here in France we seem to have a better run of luck (so far). Absolutely nothing can be done about incorrectly cooked food - if you send it back, god knows what will be returned!

At 11:53 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi ange, that pretty much sums us up too, but sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Hi gobbler, that is the gripe of a marketer who is doing the same writing course as me. It's compounded when you do ring to check and they give you incorrect info for whatever reason they may have, whether it's laziness or something else.

Hi tanna, you got me! That was the dish I wanted, looks like I'll have to do it myself.

Hi katiez, I wanted to kiss that veggie chef for an outstanding job. The problem for us was that we were in the country far from any guidebooks. We were just unlucky this time. Funny though, the country pub we ate at twice didn't treat their vegetables as well, but we felt far more comfortable there.


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