#WeHeartNTfoodies at Hotel Darwin
• By Brioche of Tarth
Hotel where now?!
Yeah you read that right, Hotel Darwin.
To be honest, I have never spared as much thought to Hotel Darwin and always walked past it thinking it was an old dingy little place with grimy floors and maybe pirates lurking in the background.
It was our chance to investigate the place when lucky us got an invite for the first ever NT Foodies meet up and feast, kindly hosted by Hotel Darwin.
Side track note: if the dress code is 'Territory Rig' and you haven't got a clue like us, you can check out this Wiki
I was pleasantly surprised when my foot crossed the threshold. It's been around since the 40's (egad!) and it's a true blue Aussie special pub with a recent facelift so there was a good mix of old and new decor and no, there were no pirates lurking in the depths.
We settled down on long farmhouse bar tables after some welcome drinks. Following suit was a gusto welcome by Amy, then short speeches by Penny and the Chef, and as Chef rolled out the menu for the night my stomach basically shifted gears, ready to make more room for the impending deliciousness.
It's a three platter entree, guys.
The squid was cooked to perfected curly tenderness and the Cajun seasoning was quite thick and spicy. First of the season mangoes and blanched lobster is a combo that never fails. I made sure to eat all the mango cubes on my table, hah! I somehow missed out on the bruschetta, but it sure looked yummy with that drizzle of house made pesto.
Last part of the entree required us to wear bibs. I was getting pretty damn excited putting the bib on because messy often equals a very satisfying time.
I give thee, Miss Most Instagrammed Dish Of The Dinner, Miss WA Crayfish With Herb And Garlic Drizzle and Miss Singapore Crab With Butter Rice.
Everyone fell head over heels for this platter. Even though there was no cracking of the shells and messy drippy sauces like I had imagined, I really appreciated the dish. The crab was ever so painstakingly shredded and removed from the shell for us and popped into a mould that rested perfectly on a bed of rice. The sauce would definitely do any Singaporean chef proud, it was had the great tomato tang and peppers crunch, although I wished there was more sauce and maybe fried pieces of bread like they serve it in Singapore. I may or may not have eaten the whole serve of crab on my table. Mmmm!
The crayfish was also perfectly grilled, and with the subtle butter herb sauce drizzle. A dish worth having again and again. Many of the foodies from that night are still raving about the crayfish!
Tour around Hotel Darwin
While our mains were cooking, Penny took our half of the table for the official tour of the place.
There's the main pub area and leads to the games room, lined with pool tables and happy patrons with drinks in hand.
Mental note: there are pool tables in the city, HECK yeah.
There's a beer garden in the back, which is open for events. It'll be nice for birthdays or mini celebrations! Have a rain party maybe?
After the amazing entrees I was pretty stuffed and wasn't sure if I could eat any more. There were three choices for mains: steak, barramundi or vego.
I had the grilled barramundi and I must say it was a little dry and slightly overcooked, and the chips were pretty ordinary, but I wasn't too fussed. Others commented that the steak was not bad, and the sauce was yummy. The one vegetarian in attendance gave the all thumbs up for the roasted vegetables and grilled halloumi.
The accompanying salads were really good. The pear, cheese and cashew salad was my favourite with the fresh crunch of alfalfa. I was still pecking away at the salad bits even though my guts were ready to explode.
As you would expect, we were all on the same page: photo first, post next, eat last. I must confess it was pretty liberating not to have my partner telling me to hurry up.
It was also fantastic to catch up with Instagram profiles I've known and befriended over the internets and matching it to a friendly face - as you can tell some of them are real characters :D
After that great night time experience, I've been sneaking back to Darwin Hotel during the day time.
Pubs are an exceptional place to get some work done. It's a cool shelter from the ridiculous heat, and quiet when the sun's out. There are even powerpoints along the Darwin Hotel walls ready for you to charge the life force of your trusty mobile beings. Definitely be back there again for lunch and dinner in the near future.
With that, I must go and cook what is now a measly dinner compared to WA crayfish.
Here's to the first of many more awesome foodie fun times! *clink*