King’s Head Hotel

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date visited: Friday 10 Sept 2010

The sole criterion for Friday night’s dinner was that it was on King William Street, as that happened to be on our way to the car. We made it past the smells and bright lights of Gouger Street and were tempted very briefly by La Trattoria (until we saw how packed it was!) before deciding a peek at the King’s Head menu was in order.

The King’s USP is that it’s strictly South Australian. That’s right – all South Australian produce (they bend their own rules a bit for cocktails, so spirits drinkers can relax). Of course, this caused a bit of a problem when one of our first requests was for a James Boags … but things were righted by the arrival of a Coopers Lager. We grabbed a table in The Den, which is the à la carte restaurant, but you can also eat in the bar. We had no reservation and there were seats free, but the restaurant was sufficiently busy to warrant booking for future visits.

The service was incredibly friendly and it was certainly efficient. Perhaps a little too efficient, if you were after a leisurely meal … our main courses arrived as the plate from our entrée was being cleared! However, the efficiency did translate to speedy drinks service – I find nothing more irksome than being seated in a restaurant and waiting an age for a waiter to decide to take your drink order!

We started by sharing the arancini. Four generous balls of roast pumpkin and sage that were just the right temperature for picking up and eating, but hot enough for them not to be stodgy and the cheese to still be melty.

For main course I chose one of the blackboard specials – spaghetti puttanesca. The pasta was perfectly cooked (in that it was still toothsome) and the saltiness of the olives and anchovies offset the potentially sweet tomato sauce perfectly. I did think that the dish itself lacked some essential chilli (I’m confident a puttanesca pasta sauce is meant to have some heat to it!) and also found the mound of dressed rocket on top of it utterly superfluous. Still, it did mean I ate some greens, so it’s not all bad.

Andy ordered the fish and chips, which he was a little underwhelmed by. He passed comment that the batter was excellent but that the chips were under par, apparently being the standard oven type.

It’s interesting to note that The King’s chef is Sam Worrall-Thompson, son of UK celebrity chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson which is reflected in the British gastro-pub style menu. The menu covers pub basics (yes, there’s schnitzel and even pie floaters) as well as more interesting dishes, so most people should be able to find something to eat. And the execution of the dishes, based on our sample size of two, seems more than competent but perhaps a little uneven.

I know I’m not raving here, but the experience was definitely good enough for us to say we’d return. The Den is a comfortable dining space that is definitely a cut above most pub restaurants, the service is sharp and the food represents good value for money. Most main courses hover around the $20. We left having spent around $65 – not bad for the food as well as three drinks.

Interesting, good value pub food

Rating:3.5 stars
***1/2

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7 thoughts on “King’s Head Hotel

  1. Absolutely ATROCIOUS business!! Didn’t even get to eat. We had a voucher purchased online through Scoopon, a website that businesses use to promote their goods and services, but when we went to use it they wouldn’t honour it under the conditions printed on the voucher itself. The owner actually called me a liar and said we were too cheap to purchase a main meal. We had spent $98 getting the vouchers and had intended to spend more as the vouchers were for 4 and we had 6 in our party. A disgusting way to treat customers, particularly because we had already spent our money. A truly heinous individual who should not be in customer service.

    1. That’s a very negative experience indeed! I’ve often wondered about the various group buying deals that are around and how exactly complaints are handled. Have you been in contact with scoopon? Did you just leave?

      I wonder if there are any other King’s Head (or other businesses) experiences like this …

      1. Yes we left, the owner actually stood in the street yelling at us as we left. I’ve emailed Scoopon as they don’t have a phone number but have not heard back as yet. I saw on Urban Spoon that someone else got knocked back on their coupon. It doesn’t say on the coupon or the website that the restaurant limits how many diners can use the coupon or that you need to give the number when booking. A very poor practice considering they are obviously trying to drum up business from the Scoopon website.

        1. As a side note, I’ve bought and used Scoopon, Cudos and Living Social vouchers and coupons both here and in the States on a number of occasions and never had a problem. I think this is purely a syndrome of an arrogant owner who is trying to be dodgy.

  2. You have lost it Nom Nom… the kings is the best pub in Adelaide, 100% SA food, beer and wine…. get around it….

    1. Nom nom’s experience was over a year ago but sites like Urban Spoon are full of people who have very different experiences when dining at venues and using vouchers to those who are not using vouchers … I think that they’re a case of both buyer beware but also restaurateur beware!

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