Bangalow is not an ordinary country town. The Bangalow Dining Rooms in the pub have not only an excellent restaurant dining menu, but also a ‘pub dining’ menu that is a good cut above the rest of the state.
In fact the SMH Pub Food Guide 2014 visited more than 500 pubs this year and the Bangalow Dining Rooms’ ‘two schooners’ award places its food in the top 40 in NSW.
The balcony of Bangalow Dining on a beautifully balmy Friday evening is busy enough to warrant a booking. There are plenty of locals enjoying a family meal after work (the restaurant has a convenient 5.30pm opening time) and it’s also a popular place for groups celebrating birthdays. Quieter evenings during the week provide an opportunity for intimate dinners and unexpected get-togethers.
When we visited for lunch during the week recently, we were able to sit in style overlooking the hustle and bustle of daily life in Bangalow, ordering wine by the glass; you can sit outside under the stars on the large open verandah or in the intimate dining room. As you’d expect at a pub, you can purchase wine and drinks from the bar from a good well-priced selection.
Owners Adam Thornton and Jo Maiden are supported by manager Clare Kirkman, chefs Justin Mitchel, Jeremie Messager and their professional staff. They say the trick is to cater for many people without compromising quality and integrity. The service is friendly and professional and the team are focused on creating the sort of inviting atmosphere that brings the locals back regularly.
There’s also quite a range of food available: customers can enjoy the beer-battered barrumundi, salt and pepper squid or a (gourmet) burger such as the lamb and pinenut burger with mint labna, pickled cucumber, rocket and chips ($18).
Or, from the restaurant menu, you can ‘lush it up’ with the full three-course experience such as sumac-spiced king prawns, almond gazpacho, rocket and pink grapefruit salad ($20) followed by the chargrilled eye fillet with potato rosti, horseradish butter, beetroot puree, green beans ($34).
The eye fillet is sourced from the Casino region and the chefs, where possible, source local products and showcase the quality of the local produce in their dishes.
The menu changes regularly with the season and the new autumn menu will be available next week. Highlights from the current menu include the spiced eggplant and chickpea tagine with almond cous cous, yoghurt, green chilli harissa ($30) and grilled scallops with a pickled beetroot and watercress salad.
Jo Maiden says that the new menu will see, ‘the return of a few stalwarts that are loved by locals from previous menus, such as: a special house-made terrine, crafted from an old recipe handed down through generations from chef to chef; locally caught fish supplied daily by Freckle at Bay Seafood; and the popular rolled pork belly filled with apples and prunes. The fresh tuna linguine with tomato, chilli, garlic, rocket, parmesan, lemon and olive oil will also be making a return to the menu.’
Highlights from the dessert menu include Drambuie parfait with black cherry compote and almond biscotti ($14) or flourless pineapple and coconut cake with lime syrup and a lime and palm sugar sorbet ($14). For those who like to finish with a coffee and dessert, why not combine the two by ordering a Pedro Ximenez affogato, vanilla bean ice-cream and espresso coffee ($11). It’s really not an ordinary pub.
Large groups are welcome, and can be catered for with a fixed or a-la-carte menu. The Dining Rooms also have a well-established off-site catering service with an excellent canapé menu.
Bangalow Dining Rooms at the Bangalow Hotel
Open 7 days a week, 12–3pm and 5.30–9pm
Bistro meals all day in the pub from 12
Ph 6687 1144