I'm a writer/blogger living in Adelaide, check my blog out at passthegeek.com
Published May 13th 2012
Looking for an affordable family night out? Well, The Walkers Arms Hotel might just have what you're looking for. The hotel itself received 7 AHA awards last year and Head Chef, Florentino Caballaro, offers up his international culinary expertise with the hotel's buffet.
Now I'll admit when my boyfriend and I were invited to join his family at The Walkers Arms for a $35 buffet, I was just a tiny bit sceptical - after all, with prices being the way they are, I just couldn't picture the food being all that amazing for $35, especially when it was all you could eat.
The parking at the hotel though, well, that definitely could have been a lot better and whoever designed it should get a swift kick up the behind. We drove around the cramped parking lot for a few minutes before finding what we thought was underground parking and I suppose in a way it was, though it was tiny and cramped just like the above parking. We did eventually find a spot and I will say that while the parking is terrible I wouldn't let it deter you from trying the buffet.
Once inside, the hotel is pretty impressive, unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the inside, but it's very modern and I'm sure you've heard that The Walkers Arms has one of the best beer gardens in Adelaide - it was busy even at the early hour that we get there. The buffet area has the same modern chic look that the rest of the hotel has, but with large marble tables and very comfy chairs, unfortunately I found it really overcrowded. There were far too many tables for the area and I personally was knocked in the back by at least two waitresses during the evening.
Let me get onto the part that everyone wants to know about though, the food. Now I was absolutely famished by the time we got there and the moment everyone had arrived I was up and out of my seat. The choices are phenomenal, Caballaro gives you sushi, beef, lamb, potato bake, potato salad, seafood, pasta, butter chicken, roast vegetables and even tofu. You definitely get a buffet that gives you the choice of anything. I personally had two plates of mains and a dessert plate as well as a coffee and a bowl of ice cream, so I definitely got a taste of the foods that I enjoy.
I started with the beef casserole, roast pumpkin, potato bake and corn. The casserole was amazing, the beef was soft and tender, basically cooked to perfection and the vegetables were pretty close as well,, however I did feel the pumpkin was a little bit dry, but that's just me. After I devoured that plate, I did go for some lighter options and I can happily say they did have a lovely salad and I was impressed to see kalamata olives but this was where I was first really disappointed. The salad was great, perfect dressing, perfect arrangement - but the tomatoes were a little firm, but that being said, I like mine soft and juicy, and when it comes to the olives, well I've helped make kalamata olives from scratch so maybe I'm just being picky but they were far too bitter, definitely not left long enough.
So after what I suppose would be my heavy entrée and light main, I had a glass of Coke (refreshing!) and a 5-10 minute break before heading over to the dessert bar. They had a coffee machine, they had lemon tarts, lemon meringue, sticky date pudding, creme caramels, pavlova, brownies, summer pudding, profiteroles and freshly made doughnuts and when I say freshly made, I mean freshly made. You can watch these doughnuts being made - they were that fresh.
I personally had some chocolate cake, a creme caramel and a summer pudding. The chocolate cake was not at all what I thought it would be like - it was dry and tasted as though it had been sitting out all day, I didn't enjoy it one bit. The creme caramel and summer pudding however, were heavenly. After my plate of dessert, I did go and try a little of their soft serve with some chocolate syrup. Let me just say, The Walkers Arms soft serve makes you forget about any other kind of ice cream. It puts all ice cream to shame. It's sugary sweet and unbelievably creamy and if my pants weren't about to burst, I probably would have had seconds. It was to die for.
Anyway, to sum up my review, as a university student and someone who is on a very tight budget, I will say this one thing, The Walkers Arms Hotel buffet is definitely worth the $35 dollars. I was so impressed and would happily go back again. So if you're looking for a nice affordable place to eat with a large group or even a small group of people and your up that way, definitely check it out.