date of visit: Sunday 2 February 2014
Something like two and a half years since our last visit to the Vic. Or, at least, since my last review of it. I’ve actually had a couple of other meals there but nothing that’s made the Eating Adelaide cut!
With the awful hot weather and an Entertainment Book voucher burning a hole in our pockets it was by far the closest (and no doubt best airconditioned!) way of getting fed in relative comfort. The website says that dining opens at 6pm but some friends had given us a heads up that it was now 5:30pm – and, when I took the precaution of booking, it turned out that this is correct. The bistro has been rebranded as a ‘Graziers Steakhouse’ (I have no idea at what point that happened) and on entering there is a sizeable fridge with cuts of meat at the bar.
Aside from this novelty, the menu is really standard pub fare. There are, of course, schnitzels, salt and pepper squid, a pie, various pasta/risotto/pizza options. The children’s menu is very disappointing. If you are offering prime (or, indeed ‘primal’, as the table-talker says) cuts of meat, starting at 200g for the adults, would it kill you to offer smaller pieces of meat (say, rump) for smaller patrons? I know one three year old who would have loved to tuck into steak, chips and salad … Instead, the children’s menu features the ubiquitous chicken nuggets, followed by panko-crumbed fish (“oh, good!” I thought) … shaped as stars. I know some children are picky eaters and will only eat a limit range of foods, and I guess I have no problem with these things being on children’s menus … but I like my child to eat food that LOOKS like food and I would love venues (especially those billing themselves as family friendly) to offer child friendly portions of at least some of their ‘adult’ menu.
So spaghetti and meatballs it was for the toddler.
Of course, we needed to order with at least half an eye on what the toddler was going to eat from our plates. Salt and pepper squid for me and beef schnitzel with gravy for Andy. Both came with chips and salad. The schnitzel was ludicrously large and the gravy was served on the side. The salt and pepper squid was not quite so generously proportioned, although I found it quite enough (and I had half of my dinner eaten by the toddler). The squid was very finely scored and was very tender, although the batter wasn’t nearly as crispy as it should have been. The salad was, however, fresh and crunchy and not overly drowned in dressing (I say that as someone who prefers no dressing, so I’m overly harsh!). Andy demolished the enormous schnitzel and rated it quite highly.
Service-wise things were a little uneven. The bar staff were a bit unsure of their product (“which beers do you have on draught?” was met with “the board has the beers”) and I suspect that they were understaffed. Our drinks, ordered with our food, took an age to come out and my Riesling was way too warm. I’m just glad I wasn’t there an hour or so later. The flip side was that the kitchen obviously had things well under control. The food came out very sharply indeed – which is just what you need with a little person in tow (“where’s my dinner?” is a feature phrase of his at the moment!).
It’s also worth noting that the Vic now has an indoor children’s play area. However, the way the dining areas are configured, it’s possible to sit and eat your meal totally unaware of its existence. Remember this when you book!
Overall, I would have to say that the food was probably an improvement on the last time we dined in together and I imagine that come winter, we’ll be heading back to try out the pie. However, the Vic is our local. I don’t think I’d drive out of my way to have dinner here – I’m sure your local is pretty much the same thing!
Main South Road
O’Halloran Hill SA 5158
phone: 08 8298 6633