Sunday, February 03, 2008

McKinnon Hotel - John's Last Day

It was John's last day at work, so as usual there was a going away lunch. Of late, we have been going to the McKinnon Hotel as its one of only two large pub places around. The Boundary Hotel has been tried a few times and that aint so great. But after this last meal at the McKinnon Hotel, I think we can probably drop this place too.

Anyway, back to John. John has been at the company quite a while and one of the first people I got to know when I joined the company. Despite our obvious age differences, I talk to John a lot. We are both fascinated by photography, gadgets, food (particularly chocolate) and just general technology stuff. I'm going to miss talking to John. Hopefully he will come and join us occasionally for Friday lunches.

John's farewell lunch has been one of the biggest, with two whole tables of work mates wishing him well in retirement.

To the actual food at the McKinnon Hotel. The food here is priced slightly high in my opinion, but not as much as the Boundary Hotel. This place does sort of a mix of all types of cuisine, from a Thai Salad to pasta to steaks. However, it doesn't seem to do any of them well. I sometimes think pubs should concentrate on a few dishes and do those well. A good burger can be equally satisfying as some fancy dish.

The first two times I ate here, I tried the Lamb Shanks and the Chicken Risotto. Both dishes were below par. The lamb shanks lacked flavour and was served with some awful vegetables that was served with every other dish. The risotto was all clumpy and again lacked flavour. This time, I went for the Linguine Marinara. I actually felt like a Spaghetti Bolognese but noticed they didn't have that. Or a carbonara. So I had to settle for the marinara, which I usually don't mind. My request to have them omit the mussels (I really don't like mussels) was met with, the marinara is a pre-mix. Oh no, not a good sign already. The waitress told me, "you can pick them out when you get the dish". Which made me think, why can't they pick them out for me before they add the seafood to the pasta.

When my dish came, it didn't look like the marinara I expected. I always thought marinaras had a tomato base. Anyway, I gave it a try. The McKinnon Hotel are definitely consistent. This dish totally lacked flavour. I added a bit of salt and instantly the flavour lifted. But still it was not good. The fish was foul and really smelt. I didn't touch the mussels. The tiny tiny prawns added no flavour whatsoever. The two piece of calamari I ate. I asked everyone else how their meals were going. Mark's Seafood Basket had grilled prawns that were totally overdone and calamari as chewy as tyres. Jessie's fish and chips had such a heavy batter that you couldn't taste the fish. Esther's Ceasar Salad was so soggy that she didn't hardly touch any of the lettuce and left half the salad in the bowl.

The food here is pretty bad. The restaurant is nice and bright, except for where we always get seated, the large table. There, it is very dark and has a terrible feel.

Overall Rating: 10/20, Food not good.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

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