D Central Bistro, Dingley Hotel

The waiter was pleasant enough, but took a bit too long to take our order. It all went downhill from there. There was some delay in receiving our food, for which the manager was good enough to apologise, but then our entrees arrived at the same time as our mains!

My wife’s garlic prawn entree was passable but with not enough garlic. My entree of sugar cured salmon with blood orange and fennel came with ordinary orange pieces. OK, I then remembered that blood oranges are out of season, but they shouldn’t have advertised this dish as a special.

By this stage, of course our main courses were cold. My wife’s chicken parma was average, but the ‘thick cut chips’ were a bit soggy – not very crisp. My fillet steak was medium and dry, rather than medium-rare as I ordered and juicy as I expected. The red wine gravy was unable to rescue the steak because there seemed be very little, if any, red wine in it. It tasted like Gravox out of a packet. The ‘tangy slaw’ was limp rather than crisp, indicating that it had probably been made a few hours ago. The ‘tang’ seemed to come from a slight excess of cheap cleaning vinegar rather than decent white wine vinegar.

The wine list was quite good, and the two shiraz’s we ordered by the glass were fine. But the white wine I ordered didn’t arrive, so when I pointed this out a glass of pinot noir that I hadn’t ordered (and didn’t arrive either) appeared on the bill instead. How lucky that I only received 2 glasses of wine for the night! Otherwise, I might not have noticed these errors on the bill. Other guests seem to have been more fortunate with their drinks delivery, because they were laughing very loudly – it was almost painful to the ear.

Total price of $125.10 for two, including three glasses of wine, without dessert, was not good value for money, in either food or service. We won’t be going back. I suspect their main problem is complacency – a regular clientele with no other nearby pubs to go to.

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