date of visit: Thursday 6 October 2011
As soon as I knew I was off to the Sapporo launch I started thinking about where we were going to eat our dinner. We would need something quick and light and close to the Robin Hood. After a little head scratching, it was decided that by far the easiest thing to do was to eat at the pub itself. Why I even had to think about that, I don’t know.
I met Andy in the bar but we headed to the dining room (sorry, bistro) to eat. The dining room is at the back of the pub and away from the bars, but looks into the beer garden through floor to ceiling windows so you get the pub atmosphere (and some natural light!) without the noise. We had a table at the window and set about reading the menu and making drinks decisions.
The original plan (“quick and light”) meant that initially we were focussed on things like the tapas and bar plates or on just ordering an entrée, but Andy had spotted sausages and mash on the specials board and I was torn between the entrée of lambs brain with mash, a crispy pepper rabbit salad and a main course of salt and pepper baby squid with lime aioli. As sausages and mash is definitely not light, I ended up opting for the squid.
This is correct: I was in a pub and I didn’t order a schnitzel. Which is not to say that the Robin Hood doesn’t offer them. A chicken or beef parmi will set you back $18.50. If the rest of the food is anything to go by then this is likely to represent pretty good value for money.
Andy’s sole criticism of his sausages and mash is that there wasn’t enough gravy. It looked like there was ample gravy to me so it may be that only gravy aficionados feel a little short changed. My plate of food was generous. The squid was tender and it was only once I headed towards the end of the plate that things started to feel a little greasy: the squid had obviously been cooked in hot, clean oil. I did think that both the ‘salt and pepper’ part of the squid and the aioli could have done with a slightly more intense flavour. Salt and pepper squid (or anything) I think is always better when done with szechuan pepper – it makes it more spicy and aromatic. The aioli definitely needed a hefty shot of lime in it. Overall it was a competent dish but could have been a more exciting and it was really let down by pretty average chips that were positively drowining in chicken salt. Next time I’m at the Robin Hood I’ll be ordering something else.
That all probably sounds more negative than it should. This was a better than average pub meal but it was a shame that just a few simple tweaks could have made it better than average full stop.
The Robin Hood is to be commended on a generous wine list with a very wide range of wines offered by the glass (although, with such a big by the glass list I hope they are taking care to store the opened wines properly). Service was also very good. It was prompt and friendly and the waiting staff obviously work with a degree of flexibility. I noticed our waiter dealing with a very large group adjacent to us and, at the start of their meal, they worked out exactly how the billing would work. It was good to see a practical approach to this rather than a blind adherence to venue policy.
Overall, the Robin Hood gets a big tick – definitely an above average pub dining experience.
Robin Hood Hotel
315 Portrush Rd
Norwood SA 5067
+61 8 8333 0088