I've enjoyed the Lansdowne Hotel's live music, lounge chairs and liquid offerings – but until a few weeks ago had never made the journey to the first floor and dined in. A friend's birthday celebration provided the perfect excuse to trek into town and see what the bistro had on offer.
The atmosphere of this pub is great. It's no fuss culture means that you'll see all sorts of fashion, which is sometimes pleasantly refreshing and other times disturbing. However, it means there is room to be comfortable and relax. It's a place I feel comfortable just to sit and chat with friends.
What I really want to share with you, though, is our group's experience with the food. We weren't expecting anything flash or fancy. Prices were fairly reasonable, ranging from $6 to $12 for an average meal. Some meals were fantastic and enjoyable to eat. Others should have come with a warning label – one that read "Warning: Avoid". Here are several items off the menu that we tried, rated and are now recommending you try or avoid:
Chicken & Black Bean Burrito Mexican food is generally a safe choice. How can one go wrong with chicken, cheese and a tortilla wrap? Somehow the Lansdown got this one horribly wrong. The chicken was limp and tasteless, the beans dominated with their awfully bland taste, and no amount of cheese could redeem this burrito. This was one meal that didn't even get finished.
I'm not sure what got into us – with so many cuisines on offer in this menu, how could they perfect each and every one? The Lebanese bread was delicious; however the dips were just much too smoky, like eating a chimney. Their version of tabouli was a mix of quinoa, red onion and a hint of parsley. It wasn't completely awful though, and we managed to finish this dish and enjoy most of it. For future reference though, it would be wiser to save the $10, walk up the road and purchase the same dish from an authentic Lebanese restaurant.
A pub classic – this schnitzel wasn't dripping in oil and grease. Golden brown in colour, served on a bed of chips and chicken salt, and a choice of gravy. It was a decent serving size as well. It's just like the saying goes "Winner, winner, chicken dinner".
If you order pizza amongst a group of friends, be prepared to wait twice as long as they do for your food. The Lebanese Mezzo Plate was finished well before our pizza arrived. The wait time was the only downfall however. The Moroccan Lamb Pizza is a simple dish, with lamb, herbs, and plenty of hot and gooey cheese. We recommend this one again.
Thai Beef Salad For $10, would you really order a Thai dish from a pub merely a kilometer away from Newtown, which boasts a plethora of authentic Thai restaurants? No one ordered this, so I can't comment on how it compares. Churros
It's always disappointing when you order an item from a menu that isn't actually served, or in stock, at that restaurant. It's happened quite often to me (am I just unlucky?), and it happened to a friend that evening as we dined. They simply replied with "Oh, it's not available" – which leaves us wondering, had they sold out by 6:30pm or were they ever available at all?
Three of these were ordered at our table, and three were enjoyed. No complaints, all were cooked as asked and all was eaten. The only issue was with the side salad, if you could call it that. A lettuce leaf and half a cherry tomato thrown onto the corner of a plate don't make for a side salad if you're a salad conscious person. The serving of chips is quite generous though, and they're cooked to the point where they are slightly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. This was another winner of the evening, coming a close second to the Chicken Schnitzel.
There's just something about a warm, gooey, sticky date pudding that makes my mouth water. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a fanned strawberry, this made for three winning dishes in an evening.
Although it wasn't an awful experience, my love of cheap and delicious meals means I probably won't be frequenting this pub again. With Newtown up the road, a $10 note can buy you quite a variety of dishes. When I'm in the mood for a steak or a schnitzel, then I'll return to the first floor of the Lansdowne to dine.
Oh no Tara, I wish I'd read this article, before I purchased the all you can eat Mexican voucher at this establishment!!! It sounds like it's going to be a taste disaster...oh well we get a margarita with it, and I don't suppose you can screw that up..??