Seacliff Beach Hotel

slightly anaemic salt and pepper squid

date of visit: Sunday 9 February 2013

I know we’ve visited the Seacliff Beach Hotel before – but that was way back in 2010 so I think our latest visit merits a few words.

This time we were booked in for Sunday lunch: a booking for 5 plus a highchair. When we arrived, there was someone at the bar and we were seated quickly. No high chair (sigh) but that did arrive quickly and we were soon set up and ready to go.

The menu at the Seacliff is one of those very standardised pub menus and you’ll find carbon copies (or near enough) of it at various pub venues around the country. There’s nothing to challenge you here and even the pricing is comfortable with most dishes (bar the steaks) under $20. In our group, we had fish and chips, salt and pepper squid (that was me), the chicken and bacon burger, and a bruschetta.

The salt and pepper squid was unexciting. It was tender, but flavour wise there was not a lot going on at all. The batter was reasonably light and it wasn’t soggy or oily. The squid was served atop some chips, a couple of very sad looking wilted salad leaves, and with a portion of coleslaw on the side. The coleslaw was ok – totally inoffensive, and totally too much of it. I wonder if any of those bowls of coleslaw return to the kitchen empty …

Of particular note were the chips, which were awful. They were thin, long chips, soggy, nowhere near golden enough – I’m guessing they were a great example of especially cheap frozen bulk chips. There is just no excuse for them being on a plate.

Service wise, things were a little uneven. At one point I went to the bar and it was unattended and the little group of patrons that assembled over time waited quite a while for someone to show up. But our food came out quickly and correctly. There was one guy wandering around who was great and should give all the other staff instruction in customer service. When he saw us settling our toddler into the highchair he came over, unprompted, to let us know where the baby change facilities were, and when he saw our group leaving he made a point of saying good bye and thanking us. These are two tiny things but they make you feel like someone is actually interested in you having a good time.

Of course it was cheap – you can eat for under $20 a head and we used our Entertainment Book voucher for a further 25% off.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather eat somewhere with good chips …

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