No darlings, I haven't gone all YWCA on you. When Joan Holloway suggested lunching at the Australia Youth Hotel I did a double take. Because I don't know about you but I like my sheets crisp and toiletries aplenty and slippers fluffy. But I also know that Joan Holloway has good taste and knows my comfort zone very well. And she knows I'm all about food-and hell even if it were in a youth hostel if the food was good I'd visit it (just not stay there overnight).
Parking Purdie the Prius in nearby Broadway Shopping Centre I take the short walk to the Australia Youth Hotel where I bump into Joan H. outside. I follow her through the pub to the restaurant area. There's an inside area and an outdoor courtyard area which is the perfect place for a sunny lunch if the weather is good (and let's ignore this week's downpour). The menu is new and as we are early at 12 o'clock we have a pick of tables. We choose one near the window which faces the main restaurant. And by 12:30pm the crowds descend including the type of people that love courtyards-smokers! The menu has a nice selection of items with charcuterie, terrines, saffron spaghettini and some lovely sounding steaks as well as crowd pleasers for the work crowd who want a quick lunch of burgers, pizzas and sausages at a lower price point.
Entree share plate for two $24
We chose the entree share plate because that meant that we could get to try a few different flavours. There are four items today, the first a basil cured Petuna ocean trout with a microherb topping which has a lovely sumptuous texture.
There is also salt and pepper squid with a spicy seasoning on top. The squid is wonderfully tender without any hint of chewiness at all.
The third item is a duck croquette crunchy on the outside with a potato and duck rillette type of filling inside.
The last item is a lovely smooth duck liver pate with a layer of butter on top and a generous serve of bread.
Char grilled Bangalow pork loin $27
Entrees dispensed with, we go onto the mains. The pork loin dish certainly looked impressive with the large loin, a round of cabbage, bacon and roasted, crushed kipflers. There are also turned apples, a cider jus and a thin baton of crunchy crackling. I did find the loin a bit thick and dry and I do like some fat on the pork to impart a juiciness to it. I did however really like the sides to it and they were well balanced.
Fine tart of eggplant and plum tomato $24
Ms Holloway is not a huge meat eater and so she chooses the eggplant and tomato tart. This is topped with creamy Persian feta, grilled zucchini and drizzlings of basil pesto and comes on a crispy, flakey round of puff pastry. It is full of flavour and although simple, is the pick of the two mains.
Flourless pineapple and coconut cake $15
I almost went back into the kitchen to ask for this recipe. It was lovely and luscious the cake part made up of coconut and pineapple pieces. It was served with a Kahlua and honeycomb ice cream with diced pineapple atop of this. And I could have eaten this all and then ordered a serve to take home with me to Mr NQN...
Chocolate, butterscotch and peanut butter parfait $15
The parfait is best eaten when it has had some time to thaw a little because you can get that moment when you use the fork to spear some cake only to hit a loud clank of the plate. We concentrated on the one side which was slightly more thawed and it was a really good balance of three flavours that could go a bit overboard. There was just the right amount of the chocolate, butterscotch and peanut butter as well as a decorative praline crisp.
I don't think one really needs to worry about the youth of today if they're being fed this...
So tell me Dear Reader, what sort of food do you like? High end? Budget? Or anything as long as it is good?
Australian Youth Hotel
63 Bay Street, Glebe, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9692 0414
Lunch: 12-3pm, Dinner 6-10pm, Sunday 12-9pm