It was Captain Gaz’s Birthday, so Navigator Rosa sent out a Morse code request for myself (Rear Admiral Tom), Cabin Wench Shezza, Dry Dock Wednesday and Winged Keel Pugsley, along with the kids to join in a Birthday Celebration Lunch at the Everton Park Hotel.
The placed was packed, the car park was full and although a top bloke, I was fairly sure they weren’t all there for Gaz. As it turned out, lots of families with young children frequent here as the EP has an excellent secure playground where parents can keep an eye on their children as they play on the swings and slides, while they simultaneously partake of the grape and hops . A very nice touch is the carousal perched adjacent to the Gazebo bar.
And this is where I think the EP has a crisis of identity. In a lot of ways it tries to be everything to everyone and it almost gets there. The hotels website offers the following blurb as to it’s eclectic nature…
The Everton Park Hotel offers amazing facilities including the million dollar Children’s Playcentre, which comes complete with it’s very own Merry-Go-Round. The hotel offers a great value bistro/restaurant, gorgeous function facilities, a lounge bar, Sports bar, state of the art TAB facilities, a magnificent Gaming room and motel-style accommodation.
We ate in the covered outdoor section of the bistro and commenced with 2 mixed entrée platters to share amongst the 6 of us. It took 40 minutes from the time of ordering until it arrived and when it did so was well presented and hot. Clearly, the platters had spent no time sitting in a hot box while waiting for delivery to our table. The selection of Kransky, Barramundi Spring Rolls, Chicken Skewers and Salt and Pepper Calamari was voted by all as resoundingly OK. I suspect that given the uniformity of the pieces served, very little chef intervention took place apart from perhaps opening the packaging and reheating. I swear that I have the same dipping sauces at home in my fridge.
Surprisingly, for a very children focused hotel the kids menu was disappointingly sparse and unimaginative. Pizza was chosen and this did appear to be a good choice as none was left. Kids being kids, if they don’t like it they won’t eat it. So the empty plates were a good sign that they meet their standard.
For my main, I ordered the Sesame Seed and Honey glazed slow roasted Pork Belly which was accompanied by mixed potatoes, green beans, baby carrots and finished with a balsamic glaze. The pork flesh was flavoursome, sweet and tender, but the skin could have been better. Only the edges were crackled, the remainder being tough, chewy and unappetising. The vege however was excellent, well cooked and seasoned. Again an OK dish.
The good captain ordered for himself the Grass Feed 180 g Eye Fillet. He was well pleased with his steak, cooked to medium for his taste and served with creamy mashed potatoes, and a delightful crunchy green side salad.
Both the Navigator and the Winged Keel ordered the Chicken Breast stuffed with 3 different types of cheeses. This was then wrapped in bacon and served on mixed potatoes accompanied by broccolini. Both reported satisfaction with their menu choices.
I declined dessert, but a couple of nameless diners did partake of what I am told was a very acceptable muffin and drinkable tea and coffee.
In summary as a kids friendly place to go to as a family, it’s OK. As a Bistro, serving slightly above average Pub food, it’s OK. Value for Money, it’s OK. Will I return, probably. Think of the EP as a bit like kissing your Grandmother. It’s OK and not offensive as long as you can do it with long breaks in between.