Friday, January 27, 2006

Country Fare - The Townhouse bistro

Since yesterday was Australia Day, I thought I'd do a post on good ol' country fare. Outside pictures to come later. This is a picture of a typical bistro attached to a motel. Yes thats Richard trying to hide and become part of the furniture. The menu is basically written on the blackboard in some of these establishments and there was a large selection at this one, the Townhouse.

As I mentioned previously, country business change hands a lot. This particular motel/pub has changed hands 3 times and been refurbished twice in the 4 years that I've lived here. So meals have ranged from good to pretty ordinary. Its extremely hard to pick if a place will be good or bad in this town (with the exception of Neila, a gourmet restaurant in a class of its own, which has consistently won many awards yearly and has put Cowra on the map in the dining scene. You need to keep your ear to the ground and hear what friends recommend is the 'in' bistro at the moment and you in turn give feedback to them. Most of the dining with the exception of 2 chinese restaurants and a roast chicken and salad shop is in the pub bistros. Motels here are called "hotels" when they have a license to sell liquor. (It only took me 11 years of living here and a bachelor's degree to find this out.) Don't expect the Ritz Carlton by any means, most of these are your average 2-3 star motels. The pub area ranges from seedy and 60s looking to the slightly modern.

We had these first two dishes for dinner 3 weeks ago. This is the "fillet mignon"($19.95) dish listed under the steaks section. It is a large eye fillet topped with bacon, musroom and onion suace, served with a choice of vegetables or chips and salad. It was a large steak, done medium rare quite nicely and quite tender. The sauce was a bit rich for my liking and the veggies were a bit overdone. We had come here before the change of ownership a few months ago and the food was a bit less tired looking.

Richard had this dish, the "tropicana chicken" ($17.95) which was a chicken schnitzel topped with pineapple, bacon and cheese. He chose the option of chips and salad. The pineapple was actually quite burnt and the taste carried through to the cheese and bacon. Again the salad is better than your average lettuce and tomato salad but also a bit tired and dry.

Wanting to give our old favourite place another chance, we came back for lunch a few days later. We both had caesar salads, Richard's was chicken ($11.95)
Mine was calamari ($12.95). It was interesting having something else with a caesar salad other than prawn or chicken. However, the sauce was quite sweet and rich and hence the fried calamari rings only added to the heavyness. Richard described the chicken as "like a whole chicken chopped up, cartilage, bones and all." Sadly, unless someone tells us otherwise, we probably won't be back again here (since we're moving and all).

So here in a nutshell is basic, everyday country fare, mostly steaks and schintzel sometimes pasta with a variation of different sauces , some topped with seafood. Mostly meat and potatoes! I might do another post at another place if I get the chance, probably on a cafe since that is the standard lunchtime food. Stay tuned ...

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14 Comments:

At 1:41 AM, Blogger Shauny said...

oh dear, oh dear... you really did describe it perfectly when you said "tired", hehe :)

I'm not sure if you've tried The Naked Lady (opposite woolies)... I had a lovely chicken burger, and the chips had a great chicken salt on them (no chicken salt in Scotland! sob!).

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S. said...

thank you for your gustatory commentary ;-) now i really want a cheeseburger!

how long are you going to be in cowra and where are you going to move? you should come to canada, it is a commonwealth country!

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Shauna, any chance of buying some from here back to Scotland? You could also make your own from chicken stock powder and salt. When were you last visitng cowra?

Naked lady is nice with great atmosphere, alas we had to wait an hour for our foccacias when we were there last hence we tend to avoid it unless we have ample time to kill and it is a nice day.

Hi Doc Mommy ! I will be moving to a town 106 kms east of here called Bathurst which is where my husband works. He has had to commute daily the last 2 years and it is getting to him. Bathurst is a bit more lively, being a small university town. It has about 3 times the population of Cowra. When we visited vancouver last July, I was besotted with the grass there... it is certainly very much greener than the grass here (no its not just because its on the other side of the fence :) I am a bit scared of the taxes though ! I thought Australia was high but it seems the tax in canada is much higher.

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Rachel,

The sanwhiches looks pretty interesting. I have never seen onion rings in a salad before. Although my thought was that you were here in the US and in the south. *wink* :) I am sorry the salads were dry. More and more it seems that I am not to happy with restuarant salads.

 
At 10:53 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Milly, those are calamari rings ... you know like squid? They are crumbed and fried here in Australia. Its a very popular thing in seafood baskets which are battered prawns, fish and calamari rings and fries. Before coming here I had never had them before and I also thought they were onion rings until I bit into one. When fresh they are really yummy especially when dipped in tartare sauce. Hehe I won't blame you for thinking it is similar to soutern fare. But lacking the biscuits and southern fried chicken and gravy :D

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Shauny said...

hiya rachel! i was last there in october. an hour is a bloody long time to wait! hope you have better luck in bathurst, hehe :)

my sister recently found chicken salt in the Australia Shop in Covent Garden in London, so looks like we'll be sorted! They also have Cherry Ripes for £1.50 and Chicken Crimpy biscuits for about £4 a box... can you believe that?!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - "Tired looking" is quite an apt description based on your photos. I think it can be rather tough to find "your footing" when a restaurant's onwership changes every year or so.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Rachel,

Ahhh Calamari rings..Wow I haven't seened them breaded quite that way before. Usually the ones here are very lightly battered or Oh wait DH has reminded me that a Korean restuarant has the same type looking batter but not cut into rings. Hmmm Deep frid squid. I am so hungry!

Yeah the dishes are missing the biscuits, and we wont get into the the southern fried chicken, but I could go for some great country gravy and fresh hot biscuits about now. ;)

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Those are really black market prices Shauna! Someone could probably mail you some from Aus and it would be much cheaper! I"m sure there will be other thigns there that hit the spot... like nutella *wink*

Kirk what you said is so true! I'm sure your glad not to have to deal with that too often.

Milly, so they crumb and fry the whole tube of squid? Thats pretty interesting!

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger Flatfeet said...

Rach: So you are moving to Bathurst!I recently met a pod student from that town but she is currently studying in Aubury/Albury( forgot the actual spelling) with Charles Stuart University.She and her sister are actually adopted children. The pod student I met is from Korea and apparently her parents are teachers. Anyway, good luck with the move (moving is such a pain in the a**).How's da steamboat yesterday?
I lovvvvve calamari rings.*burp*

Oh i just came back from manly beach...more like a cooked lobster for now.

 
At 5:17 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Rachel,

Nope, although I think that would be interesting. They cut the rings until they are long strips of squid and batter them that way or they cut them into 3 inch finger like pieces and batter them up that way. But I don't think anyone here has done them in ring form like that.

 
At 5:18 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Rachel,

Nope, although I think that would be interesting. They cut the rings until they are long strips of squid and batter them that way or they cut them into 3 inch finger like pieces and batter them up that way. But I don't think anyone here has done them in ring form like that.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger milgwimper said...

ack sorry about the double post! I don't know how that happened but I am terrible sorry.

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Ok Milly thats it! I will never speak to you again :P Hehe double posts happen all the time... who knows what silly puters and the web do sometimes?

Hmm long battered strips might have to try that sometime :)

 

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