125-127 Grampians Road, Halls Gap, Australia
(03) 5356 4222
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Kookaburra Hotel Halls Gap Reviews
Kookaburra restaurant rises above pub food Jan 31, 2016
S37°8.527' E142°31.152' this restaurant under the name of a hotel is a 36 years Halls Gap institution. The name is derived from the gregarious bird with a distinct taste in food and a catchy laugh. The reason this restaurant is called "hotel" dates back to the days that licenses only allowed pubs and restaurants to provide alcohol to the traveling public. The presence of a few rooms (which might never be used) gave some impression that the rules were being followed.
The restaurant lies below the road, so its first impression is a bit strange. However, inside, the restaurant looks modern and well designed. Summertime is tourist season and we had trouble getting a table. The restaurant stopped accepting new guests after us. We were lucky.
After a short wait at the bar, we ordered in December 2015 as entrée chicken and leek soup for AUS$12. Lots of chicken in the soup and well prepared. Nice taste. As main dishes, we ordered medium rare kangaroo fillet seared on the grill and served with a caramelised port, cream and seeded mustard sauce AUS$32. The fillet was well prepared, but our first encounter with kangaroo meat left us undecided. Just the taste, nothing to do with the chef.
Without any serious dining option in Halls Gap left, we returned the next day. We ordered a bottle of wine with a woody character but their best option, Best's Great Western Chardonnay 2013 ($44), did not have much character. Disappointed to drink not so great Australian wines in Australia, while abroad Australian wines taste much better. The steak eye fillet 250gr Angus with mushrooms sauce ($37) and the beef cheeks, slowly cooked in red wine with curry onion, star anise and cinnamon and served with garlic mash and steamed vegetables ($31) were both good. Not delicate on the taste buds or gourmet, but taste and texture were good.
The Lonely Planet fames this restaurant for its excellent pub food. Looking at the interior, the service and the presentation, their modern Australian food is much better than the usual pub grub that fills stomachs rather than excites taste buds. If you can place your order sitting at your table and not at the bar, Kookaburra Hotel is a proper restaurant with food that clearly rises above pub food.
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