The Holdy in Glenelg has been a local favourite of mine for as long as I can remember and over the weekend, they stepped up their coolness factor by introducing a brand new, nautical-inspired menu and an impressive Sailor Jerry themed Garden Bar that will be running every Sunday arvo for the next three months.
Formerly known as the Holdfast Hotel, the revamped Holdy is not one to shy from stepping out of their comfort zone and constantly experimenting with bold, new flavours to bring a sense of zest and life to their beautiful bar and restaurant, which doesn't take long to fill up with happy and satisfied customers, week after week.
The Garden Bar is a brilliant addition, which brings together benches that are painted in white and blue palettes to marry the walls are adorned in ropes, and the bar is decorated in nautical themed accessories (striped paper straws, anyone?), and let's not forget the food and drink that will make you feel right by the beachside in this open, inviting, and spacious little hub.
Designed to provide options of share plates and group-style dining experience, The Holdy aims to provide a relaxed environment, where mates, friends, and family can gather together and take some time from their busy lives to unwind and appreciate the social aspect of life in a wholesome manner.
"Spending time with mates can seem an impossible task with today's busy lifestyle, so here at the Holdy, we've created an easy going ambience where you can forget about your phones and simply enjoy a shared meal, a quiet beer or two, and just relax with good company."Jeffery Owens (owner and hotel manager)
Offering a range of versatile options to cater to anyone and everyone with different dietary requirements, Head Chef Hayley Mass has craftily handpicked options to suit everybody's palates. As part of the launch celebrations, I was invited to sample from the menu, where we were treated with a generous selection of entrées, mains, and dessert.
For entrées, we were treated to the following dishes:
Served in a cocktail glass, the chilled prawn cutlets were drizzled in tartare sauce. The meat from the prawns was medium-firm and provided with a rich and fresh taste. Boasting of a subtle taste of sweetness, the prawns were generous in size and the overall dish impressed in flavour, as it did in the presentation. The only way they could potentially step it up a notch is by adding a sprinkle of garlic (hint hint)!
Next up was the tapas plate, which was a favourite among the entrées. Offering a bite-sized selection of chorizo pieces, pesto risotto balls, and calamari strings (all served over a bed of leafy greens), there's a bit of something for everyone. The chorizo pieces were cooked to present with a firm texture that was coated in a sprinkle of just enough chilli and spice to make it stand out appealingly, while the risotto balls presented with a crunchy exterior, nestling a creamy texture of risotto and cheese sauce within. I had never tried calamari that wasn't crumbed or fried, so I was pleasantly surprised by the firm texture that the calamari possessed, whilst still maintaining a subtle layer of tenderness with the first bite.
Super soft with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, the blue cheese soufflé was a surprise to my taste buds, as it is not something that is regularly exposed to them. It's safe to say that this might be the first dish with blue cheese that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Served with a side of salad, the softness from the blue cheese soufflé complemented the crunchiness of the fresh greens and olives beautifully.
The "nothing but a chicken thang" pizza was a great option for those who may not have an inkling for seafood. The pizza dough was light, fluffy, while the chicken had a smoky taste and a slightly roasted texture, hiding juicy meat underneath.
The Kraken BBQ chicken came up next and buoy or buoy! The chicken meat was supple and broke off into smaller pieces without too much effort. Coupled with roast potatoes, the chicken had that intoxicating chargrilled / BBQ flavour and was laced in just the right (read: not overpowering) amount of BBQ sauce.
Another fantastic addition to the menu for non-seafood lovers is the Bedrock pork ribs. The slow-braised meat was so tender that it melted off the bone and being coated in a glaze added to that beautiful sultry, smoky flavour that was well-loved to the last bite.
A vegan-friendly dish, the feel good salad was packed with quinoa, roasted pumpkin, beetroot, baby spinach, and leafy greens. Sprinkled with crumbled feta and drizzled with a beetroot glaze that was handmade over a period of four days, this dish was high up on the favourites list, as the glaze soaked into the quinoa and veggies, thereby giving it the 'wow' factor by how simple yet scrumptious a salad could be!
Forever a lover of pasta, the fettuccine marinara was one of those rare times where I attempted to eat a seafood-based pasta. This was a very hearty dish and didn't have an overpowering fishy taste - it was soft, it was subtle, and it was satisfying!
Last, but certainly not the least, the seafood platter was a theatrical presentation that had the best of the best from the coast - oysters, prawns, crab meat, salmon, and octopus. Are you drooling yet? Because, we couldn't get our eyes off it and we almost had to catch a breath, after looking at how much was packed onto a single plate! Every single morsel screamed of freshness and knowing that we were eating produce that was locally sourced made it all the sweeter and gastronomically pleasing! If there is just one dish that you want to try and you are a lover of seafood, let it be this dish, because I cannot recommend it highly enough.
For dessert, we were treated to an impressive sampler of three beautiful items - the coconut panna cotta, the Baileys mousse, and the chocolate fudge cake with meringue sticks on top! Each dessert presented with a jaw-dropping sensation of flavours with the first bite and practically melted in our mouths effortlessly. The pannacotta demonstrated the perfect consistency with just the right amount of jiggle to make its way to a very satisfied tummy! The Baileys mousse was super creamy with a subtle taste of the well-liked alcohol. And finally, the chocolate fudge cake was moist, which worked well against the crunchy meringue sticks, and while too dreamy to look at, was devoured in less than 5 minutes!
Dessert tasting platter (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
For drinks, there is a designated cocktail menu that uses Sailor Jerry as the signature ingredient, to commemorate the new Sailor Jerry Garden Bar that will be running every Sunday. Served in cleverly crafted and decorated soup cans that have been repurposed with nautical designs and the Sailor Jerry logo, there is a range of cocktails to choose from.
The drink that caught my attention instantly was the Cherry Sailor Jerry. Combining the flavours of pineapple juice and grenadine, this drink was not only pleasing to the eye but also ticked all the boxes for the perfect refreshing drink on a hot summer day! I was pleasantly surprised by how the flavours complemented each other, as I was initially a bit unsure about pineapple juice and rum getting along together - but got along together like good mates they did!
The Cherry Sailor Jerry (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
I also tried the Sailor Jerry Bloody Mary. While I was not hungover when I had this drink, I could see how it would be pretty appealing as a 'recovery drink' for those who may have had a few too many the night prior (and wanted to low-key keep going)! Bringing together the flavours of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, this drink was a delight to many at our table for the strong tastes embedded in this drink. Definitely leaves you with a punch in the taste buds for all the right reasons!
Sailor Jerry Bloody Mary (photo by Fatema Sitabkhan)
In addition to these drinks, there's also a Mojito and an Ol' Fashioned, which are a great rum-laced twist on the classic cocktails and perfect to enjoy on a sunny Sunday arvo!
If you're not ready to say goodbye to the weekend just yet and are a big fan of coastal / beachside vibes, why not drop your anchor at the Holdy on Sundays, grab a couple of mateys together, and let the cheeky staff take care of a nautically enticing feast for all? With a fun range of cocktails with Sailor Jerry to go around the table, excellent live music by some of the most talented local musicians, and a selection of food that caters to different dietary requirements (vegan-friendly, celiac-friendly, and gluten-free to name a few), there couldn't be a more brilliant watering hole by the Bay.