Miss Perez, Stirling

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disclaimer: I was a guest at the Miss Perez launch party.

date of visit: Saturday 23 November 2013

The Hills is somewhere we don’t get often enough. Places like Stirling are almost on our doorstep and yet they are usually overlooked as either being too far away or somewhere we pass through on our way to a winery. So when the invitation for the Miss Perez launch party arrived, I was keen to check it out. Yes, we were hosting a party for five three year olds the following day but really, what would we be doing from 6pm other than sitting on the sofa feeling shell shocked in anticipation?

With bullet proof logic like that, Andy and I headed to the Hills to see what it was all about.

Miss Perez is the baby of Che and Rebecca Zahra. The names may be familiar to Hills locals, as the owners of Jimmies at Crafers. The restaurant is named after Rebecca’s mother, who was famous for her warmth and hospitality. It is this spirit that they hope Miss Perez (the restaurant) embodies.

Che, Rebecca and a gorgeous, curly headed, but very shy, five year old greeted guests on Saturday night and it wasn’t long before drinks and food were heading out of the bar and kitchen in a steady stream. After some bubbles, Andy rated the Cristal (Cuban) beer very highly – served in very funky combination jar/pitcher glasses. Also on offer was Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc and Spanish Tempranillo. In the background, a Mexican mariachi trio provided entertainment.

This drink selection really gives you a good idea of Miss Perez’s theme. In the brief opening speeches, Che noted that the restaurant wasn’t Spanish or South American or Mexican but a fusion of all those Latin flavours. So just as the drinks are eclectic, the canapés worked in a similar vein.

On the deck, a chef braved the cool (it’s hard to believe I’m typing that – it’s not quite 11am today and we’ve already hit 34°C!), putting together a huge seafood paella on a very smart looking dedicated paella barbecue. Inside, we were snacking on delicious aubergine (eggplant) croquettes that had just the right hit of heat to them and they were beautifully crispy too. There were roasted scallops with pea puree and a coconut and chilli sambal, a salsa served in witlof leaves and prawns served with a pineapple chilli chutney. Well, at least that’s what I tried! For me, the scallops and the croquettes were tight contenders for my favourite. With the scallops I loved the play between the very traditional (the pea puree) and the coconut and chilli sambal, but those croquettes were really really good too …

The formalities were very brief with Lady Rose doing the honours. Lady Rose was also in one of the rooms writing love letters, as required and in the Peacock Room, a mind reader and mixologist were both on hand.

We left the party quite early (but hey – we went home and cut out animal masks for the birthday party! It’s all rock and roll) but I’m sure that the remainder of the guests kicked up their heels.

For us, the launch party did its job and we definitely want to head back and check out Miss Perez’s full menu. Perhaps the weather will even be good enough for us to sit on the deck!

Miss Perez Restaurant & Bar
2 Druid Avenue
Stirling SA 5152
phone: (08) 7225 1932

Miss Perez Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

The Stirling Hotel

Stirling Hotel

date of visit: Wednesday 14 December 2011

Time off work as a family is a bit novel in our house but we have visitors from overseas so we’re trying to maximise our opportunities to do stuff. And of course, a fair bit of that ‘stuff’ involves eating. With my initial first choice of lunch venue kyboshed (not that I’m bitter) we headed up to Stirling to check out the Stirling Hotel.

Stirling is pretty small and you can’t really miss the pub – it’s on the main drag (technicall Mt Barker Road). It’s a semi rural setting and it’s a lovely old building so it’s all quite picturesque. One thing I think that spoils it is the decision to have some car parking in front of the outdoor eating area. It would be more pleasant to have that as garden, screening the area from the main road. However, people do drive and do need places to park – and no one forces you to sit outside.

Inside the Bistor it’s all very modern – white and neutral tones, clean lines. The menu is definitely a cut above the pub standard. Yes, it does feature schnitzels (well, goodness me, it wouldn’t be a pub if it didn’t!) but you can eat much more interesting food here than at many other places.

We decided to start by sharing wild mushroom arancini and the duck spring rolls. These are both from the “Shared” part of the mneu which is available all day. The arancini were excellent – mushroomy, not greasy and the rice was properly cooked. The duck spring rolls had a delicious filling but I felt were spoiled a little by having quite a thick (and hence a little doughy) wrapper. Andy disagreed with me and he felt that they were obviously made in house. To be fair, I did only have a tiny taste of the spring roll so we should probably take his word for it.

For main course I had salt and pepper squid which was very good. I particularly liked kipfler potato wedges (far superior to the pub’s standard chip which appeared with the schnitzel) and the garlic aioli was delicious. The squid was tender, not greasy and was tastier than the usual pub standard (and let’s face it, most pubs get their salt and pepper squid straight from the freezer, direct from a food processor – it’s ALWAYS the same).

Andy had the beef schnitzel with gravy which passed his schnitzel test. Also at our table we tried the chicken breast with brie and smoked ham and the char grilled pork cutlet with parsnip mash, broccolini and spiced rhubarb chutney.  These were polished off so they must have passed muster.

As it was lunch and I was driving, I stuck to water and everyone else just had drinks from the bar but we wrapped up with coffees. The only hiccup of our meal was that one coffee cup arrived with lipstick residue still in situ. Now I appreciate that lipstick is a proper pain to clean off glassware and crockery but I’d kind of expect whoever made the coffee to notice. I sent the coffee back and it was collected with appropriate apologies, a fresh coffee was made and the cost of the coffee was refunded. You know what? Sometimes I really like it when something goes a little wrong with a meal because when a complaint is handled well, like this, everyone ends up feeling warm and fuzzy.

Overall I was really impressed with everything about our lunch at the Stirling and I’d definitely go back. The pub also has a restaurant (The Grill) for a more formal dining experience and now I’d like to give that a go too!

Bistro, Stirling Hotel on Urbanspoon