I have been so busy lately training for the City to Surf that I have had no time left to eat out! City to Surf is now over for the year (12km in 1hr 28mins, not too shabby for my first effort) and checking out the Balmoral with my brother and folks was a nice way of spending a Saturday afternoon.
The Balmoral Hotel was first built in 1932 but is much more than just the old local. It has been beautifully renovated in an exposed/rustic way with exposed brick wall features and gorgeous timber flooring. The verandah spaces offer areas to escape the crowds, i'd like to see more of this within the large open space of the restaurant actually as it has a 'large' dominating presence.
Food service and presentation was great. Food portions were large but of somewhat varying quality. I would prefer smaller meal sizes so that I can enjoy perhaps an entree and a main, or a main and a dessert but it seems as though everywhere I eat now serves such large portions for their mains that you don't need to eat for the rest of the day let alone 'view the dessert menu'.
What was ordered:
1. Graziers Pie - 'tender pieces of graziers steak in rich gravy with mash and peas'
2. Balmoral Squid - 'flower cut squid seasoned with sea salt and lemon pepper, deep fried with salad greens, lemon cheek and a tomato, chilli mayo dipping sauce'
3. Chicken and Leek Pie - 'creamy chicken and leek filling with roasted sweet potato'
4. Wagyu Beef Burger - 'mixed leaves, bacon, egg, cheese, red onion, tomato, beetroot and aioli with chips'
All meals looked fantastic (pictures too come). The Balmoral Squid was tender and seasoned well. The Beef Burger was well cooked, juicy, succulent and was certainly all polished off by my brother. The pies were the let down. The Chicken and Leek was by no means a failure, it just didn't hold a lot of flavour. The steak within the Graziers was tough and dry and the peas were uncooked, the saviour of this dish being the deliciously flaky pastry.
Wrap-up: Easy to while away an afternoon here with a cold beer and some people watching. The food is hit and miss and your best bet is to have a look at what other people are eating...or have one too many beers that you really don't care what you shove down your trap.