Sunday, 14 June 2009

Stone Cooking

On Friday I had both lunch and dinner served with hot stone. The Bloke & I had errands in Civic and decided to lunch at a favourite place of mine: Godori. There is not much better for lunch on a cold day than a hot stone bowl of BiBimBab. You can warm your hands by it (don't touch!) and your lunch stays nice and hot all the way through your meal. A cup of lemon and ginger tea was also very welcome - their variety includes some honey-preserved lemon, kind of like marmalade. You get a little sweet nibble at the bottom of the cup.

Dinner was a friend's birthday do at Maddison's way down south in the Tuggeranong Vikings club. This is a big club restaurant, and a big club, too. The club seems like a pretty good thing for people down south: they have a lot of different sporting groups affiliated with them. it's not just football or bowls. We even bumped into another inner-northie friend who was there selling tickets for a bicycle club fundraising raffle.

So, Maddisons - it's big, it's the usual clubby thing. You have to be a member or a guest, but as with most clubs that's easy. There's a big batch of pokies to the left of the entry way, but you can ignore them in the main body. The club has a Zierholtz beer on tap. I'm told there's a nice view of the Brindabellas, but it was dark.

You line up cafeteria style to make your order, but they serve your meals to you at your table. There is a self-serve salad bar stocked with a decent array of fresh salads. The lettuce is iceberg and there's tinned beetroot, but there's also some more modern styled options. I tried some of the chickpea salad, celery salad, and a very good potato salad with skin-on new potatoes.

I had a prawn cocktail ($10.30), which was an off-menu special. A totally retro construction of prawns, iceberg and pink sauce, it was a good one. The prawns were large, fresh and sweet. I had their "hot stone" specialty for a main course. This is a gimmick: you get a hot rock with a slab of raw meat on it - in my case a thick sirloin. A tiny space at the side of the stone houses a small potato and a bowl of gluey cheap pepper sauce. The idea is that you cook the meal to your own satisfaction - and it works more or less. It was also quite handy for reheating the Bloke's cold chips. The main difficulty is that the non-stone space is very small, so getting your steak off when it's done enough is a little tricky.

They do steaks, chicken, kangaroo and seafood options in this hot rock style, as well as other more standard meals. My steak would have been $19.50, but we got a meal deal: for $30 you get a stone grill, coffee or tea and dessert, and a Hoyts movie ticket. You don't have to have the coffee & cake option at the same time as the main, though I did since I'm not planning on returning any time soon. This is not bad value at all. Now we have to pick a movie.

Dessert was a "Murray Mudcake". This was described to me as their gluten-free option - I'm not 100% sure that's true, not that it's relevant to me. It's a chocolate cake base with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate ganache topping. Not the greatest by any means, it was too sweet and not chocolatey enough for me, and the mousse seemed rubbery with too much gelatine. I googled it and find that it was bought in from Albury-Wondonga, probably frozen. They didn't stock any herbal teas, but there was a jasmine green tea, so I had that. It was a Lipton's teabag in a cup of off-boiling water.

So, not a gourmet destination, but it was cheap and cheerful and easy for a large group including kids. We had a good time, and my steak was cooked just right :)

Oh, if you've been wondering what else I've been doing in the last week, the answer is not much. Continuing my slow recovery from the flu, I made up some simple basic meals: a spaghetti bolognese and a keema. I cheated a bit using pre-sliced mushrooms for the spag, and a curry powder for the keema.

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