Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pear Ridge Restaurant, Margate, Tasmania

Such a promising restaurant, just south of Hobart: "Pear Ridge is the beginning of your discovery of what we're all about. It's really terrific ingredients, many grown in our own garden, which our customers can see in progress. Serving local produce in a way that entices you to explore different tastes each time you visit."
MB was delighted to discover this place, which sounds just like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage, and dropped in for lunch on their Huon Valley day trip. Soup du jour was cream of spinach and after enjoying some delightful fresh spinach in the campervan MB was keen to sample some more. MDR ordered lamb cutlets which he pronounced very good. The soup unfortunately was a disaster, it tasted like water thickened with flour, unseasoned with no stock nor herbs, just some unidentifiable green flecks in the "paste" which is all one could describe it as.
MDR had also attempted to order a pear juice but this was another menu item not available.
Not to be completely deterred MB decided to try the French Pudding for dessert as it contained seasonal pears and cherries (pear trees laden with fruit in the garden were in plain view). Unfortunately this dessert wasn't available and the chef recommended the hot raspberry waffle. MB thought this was a safe bet as fresh raspberries are still available. The dish that came out did not resemble a waffle at all. Instead we were served a large ramekin of stodgy bread and butter putting with a half dozen raspberries on top. If one wanted to eat a large stodgy pudding this would have been fine, pity their menu descriptions are completely misleading.
The service was super slow and only a handful of diners were in attendance. After lunch MB & MDR strolled through the garden and were amazed to see ripe apples & quinces falling off trees and rotting on the ground. Masses of large pears were there for the picking and there was also an impressive stand of ruby red rhubarb plus a large stand of fennel - none of these were even on the menu. The garden, whilst large and well laid out, looked very sad and neglected.
One wonders if this place has recently changed hands, the present management do not seem to take any pride nor interest in the concept that they are advertising.

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