On the Sunday after Christmas, Jac and I went out to lunch with our friend M (remember this delicious vegetarian barbecue?). We went to the Broken Hill Hotel (314 Albany Highway, Victoria Park). It’s a pub Jac’s wanted to check out for some time now – and I’m glad we did.
Jac and M enjoyed a cold Hoegaarden White beer, while I had a lemon, lime and bitters. The beers were served with a wedge of fresh orange in them, a tribute to the dried orange peel that is used in the brewing process. It was M’s first time trying the Hoegaarden, and she loved it.
We ordered a couple of items from the grazing menu to start the meal – first, the parmesan and prosciutto croquettes (AU$8.50, two croquettes per serve).
I enjoyed these very much, but they were missing the very textural qualities I love in croquettes – a super-crunchy crumbed outer coating contrasting with a chewy yet soft centre. These ones didn’t have that real crunch to them, but they were served piping fresh, and their filling was fluffy and delicious. I think my favourite part of this dish was the aioli that was drizzled all over the croquettes.
Jac was keen to try the herb and garlic pizza bread (AU$8.50), and we ordered a serve to share. It arrived with a tantalising aroma and the cheese still bubbling. M and Jac exhibited superhuman restraint while I took a couple of photos.
If you like pizza, garlic and cheese, you must try this. It is fantastic – savoury, fragrant and chewy.
M chose one of the “light meals” – tempura battered emperor fillets (AU$18.00), served with chips and a chunky lemon tartare sauce. She enjoyed this very much, with the highlight being the tartare sauce, which had a pleasingly ‘not-from-a-jar’ taste.
Jac chose the pork rib eye (AU$28.50), served with sweet potato rosti, spinach and mead-spiced apples. She absolutely loved this dish and carved her way through the juicy piece of pork with great pleasure.
I really felt like having something completely different to everything I’d eaten for Christmas, and chose the peri peri spiced chicken (AU$26.50), with orange scented cous cous, roasted sweet potato and yoghurt dressing. The serve included half a chicken, served in two pieces – white meat (breast) and dark meat (thigh and drumstick). The chicken tender and juicy and seasoned well, but it wasn’t particularly spicy. While I prefer food that doesn’t make me sweat or my nose run, I was a little disappointed at the lack of spiciness in the chicken. A little more bite would’ve been welcome; I did have yoghurt to cool it down, after all.
We all enjoyed our meals – M said she’d give her meal at least an 8 out of 10, Jac gave hers an 8.5 and I gave mine an 8. I’m looking forward to our next visit to the Broken Hill Hotel. There are a number of dishes on the menu I’d like try, mostly from the grazing and entree menus – I reckon grilled haloumi, chilli salt calamari, seared scallops with chorizo, and honey BBQ prawns would make a great feast for two hungry people.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about and thought you guys may like to comment on. When Jac ordered the pork rib eye, the waiter asked her how she’d like her pork done (just like you get asked when you order a steak). I thought this was rather interesting – I was raised to only eat pork that was cooked all the way through, though I’ve seen in recent times some TV chefs cooking pork to slightly pink in the centre (definitely not bloody though). I’ve always thought the main reason for making sure the pork was well-cooked was to kill off any bacteria or parasitic worms that the pig may have carried (especially trichinella – from my googling it appears the risk of this has decreased significantly over the years in pork raised in countries like the US and Australia, but it still exists nonetheless). Parasites and bacteria aside, I don’t think rare pork would have a palatable texture anyway, just like the yucky texture of rare/undercooked chicken.
I don’t have a problem eating pork at medium-well (the ‘well’ side of ‘medium-well’, though; not than the ‘medium’ side of ‘medium-well’), but that would be it. I don’t know if that’s wussy. :)
I’m convinced that the waiter wasn’t supposed to ask Jac how she wanted her pork done; I reckon it was an automatic reaction to the phrase ‘rib eye’. In the brief moment that Jac ordered the “pork rib eye”, the waiter’s brain got stuck on the “rib eye” part, her brain thought “steak”, and so she asked the steak question. My workmate J agrees with my theory; her comment was “if the dish had been a “pork chop” the steak question would’ve never been asked” (as you don’t associate “chop” with “steak”). :) I reckon if Jac had asked for her pork to be “rare” (which she didn’t – she asked for “medium-well”), the chef would’ve just ignored that and cooked the pork to whatever temperature he/she was always going to cook it to anyway. He/she cooked it beautifully, whatever the story was.
Any thoughts on the cooking temperature of pork? I’ve googled it (googling ‘is it safe to eat pork rare’ comes up with some interesting reads, and a few icky ones) and am now interested in finding out what you guys think. Personally, I don’t really like the taste/texture of rare meat, and have no desire to eat pork that way, safe or not! And the only time I like meat truly ‘well done’ is when it’s slow-cooked, like slow-roasted pork belly with crispy crackling and buttery fat streaking the juicy meat, or meals cooked in a pot so the meat is tender and falls off the bone (or would fall off the bone, if there was bone), like curries and stews and casseroles, or the savoury, well-seasoned filling in a tasty meat pie. Other than that, I like my pork chops on the ‘well’ side of ‘medium well’, tender, juicy and succulent.
PS. For those of you who’ve asked for the recipe for the seafood cocktail sauce Jac made to go with cold cooked prawns, I’ve updated the leftover prawns post with the recipe.