date of visit: Sunday 28 August 2011
Writing a review of a pub can be tricky. If the pub fashions itself as trendy or cutting edge, with a more interesting than average menu then the review is relatively easy – either things have worked or they haven’t. But sometimes, a pub is … just a pub.
The Victoria Hotel, at O’Halloran Hill, is one of those pubs. It’s part of the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group – a behemoth owning 286 licensed venues across Australia. And this means, as you’d expect, that the menu is standard pub fare, at standard pub prices. As with so many pubs, you do need to have the right attitude as you walk in the door.
We visited on a Sunday evening, small child in tow. The Vic sits on Main South Road almost directly atop O’Halloran Hill. The dining room makes the most of this, its huge windows looking out across Sturt Gorge towards the foothills. The dining area is also massive: it’s divided into two sections and there’s plenty of space around the tables.
Early on a Sunday evening things in the bistro were quiet. We were able to settle ourselves and the baby in without any hassle (spotlessly clean high chair provided by the pub’s friendly staff). Having been to the Vic once before we didn’t need to spend too much time looking at the menu. As well as the usual pub staples, the Vic also offers wood oven pizzas. As you might have guessed, I ordered a chicken parmi and Andy ordered the Ocean Catch which he’d also ordered on our previous visit. The catch is a collection of seafood goodies – a beer battered fillet of fish, crumbed prawns and salt and pepper squid.
In both our cases, I’m sure our dinners went from freezer to deep fat fryer and to the table. But that’s almost exactly what I’d expect. Service was super fast which is what I want when having a pub schnittie.
And both our dinners were completely adequate. Personally, I’d prefer that the salad dressing be served on the side (so I could avoid it) and I do think that the pub could do a LOT better with its bread rolls (sad, tiny, anaemic, doughy in a bad way), but in terms of meeting expectations the Victoria hit the nail on the head. The schnitzel had a crunchy crumbed exterior without being burnt and the meat was moist. The topping was the usual ham, tomato based sauce and cheese. Absolutely nothing to complain about.
A chicken parmi will set you back $17.90 (plain $15.90, with choice of the usual sauces) which is more or less standard. However, Tuesday night is schnitzel night and then a plain schnitzel is only $10.90.
If you want a pub meal with better than average views then you can do a lot worse than the Vic.