Marion Hotel, Marion, SA

Half chicken parmi with chips and salad

date of visit: 26 Jan 2020

Something of a hiatus between posts but let’s see if some belated new year enthusiasm has some steam.

The Marion Hotel has had a ton of publicity of late, with its revamp being much vaunted. It’s a pub I’ve driven past many times and for some reason we’ve never got around to going. A friend and I discussed going late last year but the calendar gods didn’t line up until this last weekend.

Being a weekend (Sunday) AND a public holiday we did the sensible thing and booked for our group of 6, even though we did our usual early dinner of 5:30. Turns out that this was a good thing because the Dining Room was busy (if not full) by the time we left shortly before 7:30pm.

So … how was it? Décor wise it’s obviously all very new and fresh and the use of some green is a bit more interesting than the 99% of all-neutral colour schemes that seem to be terribly du jour. The menu isn’t quite as modern … There is a selection of Yoder smoked mains and entrées and what feels like a strangely out of whack selection of ‘bowls’ (all vegetarian or vegan but you can add chicken, smoked salmon or halloumi). But then we’re into very comfortable pub-grub territory (schnitties, fish & chips, pasta, burger … you get the idea). If there are daily or chef’s specials – we weren’t told about them.

One big plus is that the schnitzels do come in half or full portions – which was the clincher for me to choose the (half) chicken parmi. It was still generous in size, moist and served with a small side salad that, mercifully, wasn’t drowned in dressing. The chips? Must try harder.

Unfortunately, the children’s meals didn’t come with salads (seriously … the picky child will never eat anything green if he/she isn’t presented with it and some of our children actually love salads and veggies – either do a salad bar or do a salad on the children’s plates!) so that’s a bit of minus.

The noticeable weak point of the evening was definitely the service. I don’t know if the pub was understaffed (even though most of the tables looked like they’d been booked, people still call in sick and things go wrong) or whether there were just too many new staff. But from a muddled drinks order, to delays in food, plate clearing, and (that old chestnut) getting the bill everything felt a bit slow and unpolished.

Would I go again? Yeah, but it wouldn’t be my first preference.

Marion Hotel, 849 Marion Road, Mitchell Park 5043


Upper Cup in action – don’t be deceived by the winter sun!

disclaimer: I was sent an Upper Cup to review

I’m pretty sure everyone is now aware that the bazillion take away coffee cups that we power through every day aren’t actually recyclable and generally just add to land fill. This, of course, is a bad thing and bringing your own cup is now de rigueur

I work part time at a university and, on the days I work, I always stop by a coffee van on campus and buy a coffee before hitting the office. Until recently, it was because this was the only way of getting a decent coffee (we now have a proper coffee machine in our kitchen area) – but I continue to do so because the coffee van has friendly staff and awesome cakes. I’ve been taking a tatty old free (promo) cup so I was quite pleased to be offered something new and a little more permanent. 

The Upper Cup is an Australian made, BPA free cup by 321Water and GoLusty – and it’s been designed by baristas – with a concave bottom (apparently this is important for the pour).

As a long black drinker the most common issue I have is hot fingers. It also means that when I buy a takeaway coffee I’m twice as bad for the environment, as the baristas always ‘double bag’ the cups. Many reusable coffee cups have some kind of band around their middle for exactly this reason. The Upper Cup doesn’t … which was a bit worrying – but it has an insulate wall design – meaning no burnt fingers. You can’t even tell you’re holding a hot drink. It also means that the cup does a great job of keeping your drink warm (particularly if you put the lid on).

As I have maybe 200m to walk from the coffee to my desk, I don’t actually bother putting the lid on and I certainly don’t drink from it using the lid.  The lid is a very snug fit, so it’s worth practising with it a few times before using it with a cup full of hot coffee – particularly if you are going to take it off to drink!

Naturally, the cup is dishwashable and your favourite barista can write on it directly. The writing does come off easily but will survive a gentle handwash (and partially survive a dishwash).

There are a limited number of stockists in South Australia but you can also buy the cups online. I have a ‘small’ and this is the perfect size if you drink what is usually called a regular sized coffee. Although the size of a coffee when you head out is far from regular … 😀

Thank you to Upper Cup for sending a sample cup through. My finger tips are happy!

RECIPE: Very Easy Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and potato soup

A very long time between posts and plenty of new content planned but I thought I’d start with something quick and easy. Both to cook and for me to write up while I get my blogging mojo back into gear.

Here in Adelaide we’re in the depths of winter. After a couple of deceptively sunny days, Mother Nature has spent this week throwing everything at us. Not only has it been cold but it’s been wet too. Great for the garden, not quite enough rain for those involved in agricultural pursuits …

My go-to winter food is soup. I love it. Unfortunately, Andy isn’t such a fan so we don’t eat quite as much of it as I’d like … but fortunately the need to very quickly dream up a meal meant that leek and potato soup, topped with tons of bacon and chives was on the menu. It’s also fortuitous that I’ve just completed a bread making course, thanks to Le Cordon Bleu (details on that to follow) so we had some potato and rosemary sourdough bread ready to go – the perfect accompaniment!

I’ve written about soups before – and this is in the same vein. It’s hardly a recipe – it’s more about the flavour combinations. If you like your soup thicker, use more potato and less water/stock. If you like it thinner … use more water/stock. I think that a good rule of thumb is to cook the soup with the water just covering the ingredients and then let it down if you want to, after you’ve blitzed.

Serve with fresh bread, or toasted bread, thickly spread with butter!

RECIPE: Very Easy Leek and Potato Soup


  • olive oil
  • ½ brown onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped finely
  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • bacon
  • chives


  1. Warm the olive oil in a big pan and add the chopped onion and leek. Sweat them down until they're relatively soft, but avoid the temptation to crank up the heat, as you don't want them to pick up too much colour.
  2. Add the chopped potato and the stock so that the vegetables are just covered and boil (covered, otherwise you'll evaporate off the liquid!) until the potatoes are cooked. The smaller you cut the potatoes, the less time this will take. Keep an eye on it as it cooks, as even with the lid on you may need to add a bit more liquid.
  3. As the soup is cooking, cut the bacon up into small pieces (lardons, if you like) and fry them off in a separate pan. We like them nice and crispy.
  4. Once the potatoes are soft, turn off the heat and blitz the soup until it's nice and smooth. At this point, add more stock or water if it's looking too thick for your taste. Adjust the seasoning too.
  5. When you're ready to serve, ensure everything is hot, then ladle the soup into bowls, topping with bacon and chopped chives.