Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Manor Grill, North Hobart

I’m in a restaurant in North Hobart. There is parking galore outside the front door. The dining room is elegant. The staff unbelievably friendly, courteous and helpful. The food is absolutely faultless, of the highest quality possible, and sourced locally. The atmosphere unhurried, calm and restful – as opposed to noisy, hurried and stressful! Music is playing in the background but not blasting your ears out, meaning you can actually hear what the person with you is saying instead of relying on lip-reading!

Where is this place, I hear you ask? What North Hobart restaurant answers all the above criteria? Ponder no more, fair reader – the answer is The Manor Grill at Rydges. I know what you’re thinking! Why the hell would I venture into the dining room of Rydges? Answer: because I recommend you do before you critcise me and my judgement call!

To compare it to a similarly niched establishment, you could look at Alexanders Restaurant at Lenna, although I can’t testify as to the food quality at Alexanders because I haven’t eaten there for a good few years. Manor Grill is a variety of stately home type of environment complete with the beautiful cotton napery, gleaming stemmed wine glasses, sparkling silverware and glowing candles. In other words, an ideal spot for that special night out as well.

Marj and I ate our fill of the following:
*Manor baked fresh mini loaf and house butter $6
*Crispy squid salad, sumac spices, aioli, baby lettuce salad, blood orange dressing $18
*Eye fillet from Duck River (Tas) with green peppercorn sauce (served separately in a small jug) and a side of hand cut Bruny Island pink eye wedges with the steak topped with scallops in wine cream sauce. $35 for steak + sauce + sides, plus additional $10 for scallop topping (which was a special for last night)
*Caesar salad containing all the standard Caesar ingredients $15
*Crème caramel $10

They do Daily Specials as well. See attached link to each day of the weeks special:
$20 on a Tuesday night for a chicken parmy and glass of house wine sounds perfect to me! Ditto for the Sunday roast at $18 with red wine jus and all the trimmings.

They also do a fabulous High Tea every day from 2.00, but reservations are essential. The cost for that is $25 per head and everything presented is made in-house.

Head Chef there is Drew Van der Woude – another of the stable of talented young chefs to have emerged from Drysdale over past years and worked at Moorilla. Drew is a housemate of Roaring Grill’s Head Chef Jon Gangell so I would love the chance to share the house with them and participate in some of the off-duty meals there! Think of the parade of fine foods that would find its way to the table!

It was Jon’s recommendation a few weeks ago that I try Rydges restaurant. He said the food standard was very high and I was missing out by not going along there! I love a hot tip, so having had the carrot dangled in front of me, I was SO there! I didn’t realize at the time though that he and Drew lived together!

We walked in and were immediately met by waitress Kirsty who introduced herself, showed us to our table and told us she would be looking after us tonight. She wasn’t repeating, parrot-like, a pre-rehearsed line that she was told to tell everyone who arrived for a booking. She said it in a friendly and natural manner. And she kept her word. She looked after us better than anyone I can think of recently.

She explained the specials for the evening, made sure we were happy with drinks, topped up ice cold water continually, described dishes as we enquired and checked each course was to our liking, answered my probing questions about the chef and his menu, and did some very nifty upselling at the same time, managing to slip into the conversation about the existence of the Rydges Priority Guests Rewards scheme, which is free to join and allows you all sorts of great benefits, both accommodation-wise and meal-wise down the track, if you join up. It sounded so fabulous I signed up on the spot!

Mostly catering to functions and house guests staying in the hotel, Rydges menus are reasonably standard, and don’t push the envelope too far. Having said that, everything is done to such a high standard that I don’t think anyone would be too concerned about there being no accompanying quinoa flavoured with caramelized watercress and blue gum crème fraiche, or other wanky concoctions to go with the steaks!

I won’t do a mouthful by mouthful description of each plate of food we had. They are what they are. As previously stated, it was all of such a high standard that I deem that small descriptive detail unnecessary and insulting to you and your imagination!

In short – get along there as soon as possible, and try to prove me wrong! I guarantee you won’t be able to!

Rydges Hotel
Cnr Argyle and Lewis Streets
North Hobart
Ph: 6231 1588

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Medieval Times at Buena Park Castle!

Sophia says: Hi Readers! This week we went on vacation to L.A. On the first night we went to a restaurant called Medieval Times. It is shaped like a castle, and knights sword fight in front of you while you eat dinner. It was amazing!!!!! First, you buy a ticket at the entrance or you can make a reservation ahead of time. After you do that someone gives you a paper crown with a certain color on it. Ours was blue. Then you enter into the bar where you can buy drinks. The knights fight in another room where there is a big arena and you sit in certain sections depending on your crown color. The dinner and show starts at 6:00 so if you get there early, you can shop at the gift shops. Josh and I got a mango slushi at the bar before dinner. When it's time to eat, you sit at the arena and you cheer for your knight. Its awesome! The knights sword fight, joust and do cool tricks with their horses. One part was where a horse was dancing sideways! The dinner is castle bread, tomato soup, chicken, ribs, potatoes and pastry for dessert. Our waiter was super nice and during the end of the show, he gave all of a the girls a carnation. Also you get to eat with your hands! (there were no utensils in the medieval period).  When the show was over we got to meet all of the knights. They were super nice, even the bad guy. One of them even looked like Thor from The Avengers movie. Overall, I had a wonderful time!
P.S Our vacation was great!
                                 7662 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

Josh says: Hi Readers! We had the best dinner ever! We went to Medieval Times and it is awesome. It is a place where you get to watch to people fight on horses and without horses. You also get to eat amazing food, like dragon meat and dragon soup and the dragon soup tastes just like tomato soup and the dragon tastes like chicken. And the most fun part it that you eat with your hands!  And you cheer for a knight that is on your side. We had the blue knight and the blue night did amazing tricks. I think he was better than the other knights. The best part was the blue knight won the battle by fighting a bad guy.  And the bad guy got sent to jail forever. After the show I got a wooden sword and wooden shield. And I got to meet every single knight. It was my favorite dinner and I would definitely come back!

Paul says:  Great surprise in Southern California! A well produced show and true horsemanship skills. The dinner was fantastic, surprisingly delightful.  The young guys who were the knights are really skilled riders, you can tell they love what they do.

Jodie says: We had so much fun and it was such a great night! I had no idea what to expect and everything was wonderful.  We had about an hour before the show to walk around and see the costumes and the beautiful horses before the show.  The service was great and the food, the show, the arena was all put together so well. It was a great experience and I would highly recommend anyone visiting the LA area to give it a try!

Food: *****
Service: *****
Atmosphere: *****
Our highest rating - 5 Ladybugs!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rogers Deli!

Sophia says: Hi Readers! Today for breakfast we went to Rogers Deli. They have donuts, omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, and french toast. I split the blueberry pancakes with my brother which had two big pancakes and eggs. When you order, they give you a number and call it when your food is ready. Ours was #4. This restaurant used to be just like a donut place that my dad and brother and I used to get donuts from, but now it is a restaurant with inside and outside seats.  I also ordered orange juice which is in the drinks display. I liked my food and next time I would come back and try a donut or a cinnamon roll.

295 E. Middlefield Road, Mountain View  650-965-2204

Josh says: Good morning Readers! Today we went to Roger's Deli for breakfast. We got to sit outside because it was such a beautiful day. First we ordered at the counter and I ordered blueberry pancakes. My pancakes tasted delicious! And it also had scrambled eggs and the eggs were good. I would probably come back. 

Paul says: This was a pleasant surprise. The food was excellent and the plates were huge and easy to split. The decor is very basic with more seating outside than inside. I would definitely go back.

Jodie says:  We have driven past Rogers Deli for years and I have never eaten here until today.  It is a very casual restaurant/store set up. We got there at 9:30am and it was already crowded. Paul & I ordered the bacon omelet to share. All of there breakfast plates come with toast and home fries. The portions are huge and it more than enough for 2 people. The counter service is friendly and everything else is self serve. The inside was very crowded but there were plenty of open tables outside. The prices were also very reasonable. I'm glad we had a chance to try it out and I would like to go back sometime for lunch.

Food: ***1/2
Service: ***
Atmosphere: ***
Overall:                             3 1/2 Ladybugs!