This is the second last post on all, well, most, food we consumed when we went for a road trip to the Red Centre. Yay! Almost done. I have been eating some totally fantastic food in Melbourne and want to get on writing about them!
(I’m into taking pictures of table setting right now, bear with me)
<Start Non-food Babble>
So we were now in Alice Springs at the very centre of Australia. I liked Alice Springs for its touristy-ness. I booked ahead for a two-bedroom cabin at a caravan park near the Gap as I was hoping for a place as nice as the one we had in Adelaide. No such luck. We got there at about 8pm, only to be told that they only had us booked down for one (tomorrow’s) night instead of two! I was so annoyed so I asked that they cancelled the booking for the day after that.
As it was peak season in Alice Springs, I had to ring around before I ended up with accommodation at the Swagman’s Rest. I was a bit hesitant at first because the rate we were quoted was much lower than any other place I have tried ringing (but they were all fully booked) especially for self-contained units (i.e. with fully equipped kitchen). But it didn’t seem like we had a choice. But once we got there, everything really exceeded our expectations. The room was clean (though Mum disliked their choice of air freshener) and the kitchen was well equipped.
<End Non-food Babble>
So that night, after accommodation drama was over, we decided to hit the town for some dinner. Last time I was in Alice Springs (being my single, out-going party girl self), I desperately wanted to hit the Bojangles Saloon and see what was there as I didn’t have the chance last time.
(Inside the dining room)
But noooo. I had my mother and husband who completely vetoed the plan! Somehow we ended up a ‘traditional English pub’, the Firkin and Hound in Alice Springs CBD. It was a typical pub with the dining room at the back. I guess I have been living in Melbourne/Singapore for too long. I was completely thrown off guard when we walked in through the pub and discovered that people were still allowed to smoke there! The smoke kept wafting to our dining table and we had to move. Ewwww.
(garlic pita bread – $5.00)
The menu was actually your regular English pub menu. Mum wanted some garlic bread but they only had pita bread available which you could either have with garlic, cheese and something else.
When it was served, I thought they had brought us cheese instead because it was rather cheesy. I then later noted a tiny hint of garlic. They seemed a bit hesitant with their garlic here, I guess. It was rather good though. The bread was fresh and warm. The cheesy topping was quite good, despite being not-so-garlicky.
(soup of the day: cream of broccoli – $6.00)
It was a cold winter night and I wanted some soup. I asked the waiter (‘serving wench’) whether if it was possible to finish a soup and a main. She hesitated and said ‘for most people, probably not.’ My husband, being a helpful soul, replied ‘Her appetite isn’t exactly normal!’ Err.. thanks, mate.
So I ordered soup of the day, which was Cream of Broccoli. Despite being $5, it was huge! I was expecting a dinner roll with the soup (because the waiter came and asked whether I wanted a roll or pita bread with the soup) but I got a whole baguette! The soup was just slightly salty and rich but it was absolutely perfect with the hot crusty bread roll, baked to perfection.
(rack of lamb, served with mash, steamed veggies and rosemary gravy – $18.90)
For main, Mum decided on the 400 g. scotch fillet. Josh went for the rack of lamb. And I, who has a personally rule that when in a typical pub, order a meat dish because the vego or carb options are generally not their forte, went for mixed grill. After the soup though, we were beginning to feel a bit of tripidation due to the meal sizing here.
(steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower with mashed potatoes)
Let’s just say I’m rarely wrong about food, the mains were friggin’ HUGE. If I were the waiter, I would have said ‘there is NO WAY you could finish the soup AND a main’ in no uncertain terms! Haha. But who am I to blame? I did really want the soup. Josh’s rack of lamb was quite nice and I rather liked the gravy, which was very rosemary-ish.
(400 g. scotch fillet – $27.00)
Mum had learned her lesson this time and asked for the steak to be cooked rare and according to my fail-safe rule of steak ordering, a perfectly medium rare steak was delivered.
Mum rather thought while the steak was all right, the scotch fillet that we bought at the supermarket and cooked ourselves was better. I didn’t like the way they piled the chips on, plonked the steak on top and covered it with gravy, resulting in some very soggy chips.
Her steak also came with salad, which was very pretty and tasty. So did my mixed grill.
My mixed grill. What can I say about my mixed-grill? Once I got over the shock at home big it was (it consisted of a fried egg, four middle rashers of bacon, one big lamb chop, one big piece of steak and a rather large sausage), I began to notice how horridly cooked everything was. It seemed like everything was cooked on some filthy public barbecue that hadn’t been cleaned in a century.
(mixed grill – $17.90)
I did ask for my steak to be cooked rare as well. I got a touch piece of hide, basically. It was so well done it was like chewing on an old boot. I guess my rule just failed here! The lamb chop was pretty much the same. It wasn’t really edible. Honestly, it seemed like someone had ordered a plate of mixed grill, sent it back and they regrilled everything and served it back to me. That was pretty bad.
Despite the amount of food served, they wouldn’t allow leftovers to be packed away (Mum’s steak would have been nice in a steak sandwich the next day). If you’re after a really big and cheap meal in Alice Springs, here it is. Just don’t order the mixed grill!
The Firkin and Hound, 21 Hartley St., Alice Springs NT