Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Mill and its notorious caesar salad..

I’ve decided to branch out a bit. I’m a general lover of all foods, and as a reformed vegetarian I feel I’ve come to appreciate many more culinary delights over the past year. Some however are not so delightful, but more ‘fascinating’ for the pallet. I will head back to cakes and the like after this post, but I felt this particular culinary experience needed documenting. Enjoy!

I can’t honestly remember the exact amount of people that have recommended I head over to The Mill Hotel for a drink on a Friday night. “It’s the new Oatley Pub” I’m told. Oatley Pub is THE place for young locals to catch up for Friday night drinks and a chance to rub up against one another. Before Oatley Pub it was the Revesby Workers Club.. And now, it’s The Mill Hotel.

The Mill Hotel is located in Milperra and was once upon a time the infamous Viking Tavern where the Milperra Massacre took place in the early 80’s. Up until its transformation into The Mill Hotel, the Viking Tavern was close to deserted on a Friday and Saturday night. This particular Friday night however, and I’m assuming all the rest since the hotel partially opened a few months ago, my father and I find ourselves battling with a huge crowd.

(Some of the 'funky' lighting treatments)

We head straight to the bar for a drink before heading around for a self guided tour. A schooner will set you back around $4, which is the average price for pubs around the area, and we’re surprised to find bar staff battling for customers, and not the other way round. The staff to patron ratio is close to 1:2 which ensures quick and friendly service.

Our self guided tour takes us around to the ‘beer garden’ complete with dance floor, stage and several plasma screens. There are plenty of comfy looking lounges and we find one large section of the outdoor area cordoned off for David’s 30th birthday. The decor is somewhat rustic, with sandstone brick feature walls complete with enclosed fireplaces.

As I mentioned the hotel is only partially open, with the official opening taking place around October. Luckily for us the bistro is open and functioning at full speed! We head to the bistro and at 6.30pm on a Friday night we don’t have to wait long to order. Finding an empty table is a little bit trickier as it seems more than 50 percent of tables are reserved. I am politely shuffled from one table to another by wait staff as they try to prepare another reserved table that they seem to have forgotten about.

(The outdoor bistro area)

Considering that all the tables in the bistro area are occupied, we don’t have to wait much longer than 15 minutes for our food. I’ve ordered a chicken schnitzel parmigiana (a pub classic) while Dad is having the chicken caesar salad. Now, I must admit an ulterior motive for visiting The Mill. It wasn’t because people have told me how trendy and nice the hotel is. It was because of reports about the caesar salad.

(Chicken caesar Salad $13.00)

It is more of an attempt at a work of art than a caesar salad. And tastes like what I image an Andy Warhol piece would taste like. The dressing is bland and in desperate need of some salt, and is used primarily to glue the cos lettuce ‘tubes’ to the plate. Appetizing! The precariously balanced hardboiled egg is less than appealing, and the chicken is stone cold. Call me old fashioned but I enjoy grilled chicken in my caesar salad, adding a bit of warmth to the plate.

(Chicken Schnitzel Parmigiana $16.00)

The chicken schnitzel parmigiana is rather good. The schnitzel is fresh and crispy, topped with a rich napolitana style sauce, similar to what your lil Italian Nona would make! And best of all it is topped with a generous serve of good quality mozzarella. It is served with chips and a side salad, which is a tad bit limp, and the portion size is generous but not over the top like some other pubs in the area serve up.

Even though I am quiet full after my meal (Dad however picks at my leftovers – the caesar salad is served on a plate that’s size is more suited to a bread roll!) I am tempted to try the tim tam brulee ($9.50). Unfortunately the bistro line is now 30 deep, and regardless of the amount of astute staff I can’t help but worry about my chances of getting desert before a reasonable hour.

The Mill Hotel
189 Beaconsfield Street, Milperra NSW
Phone: 9771 2722

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