For this weeks Munch we attended a Pre Easter dinner at The Ballarat Leagues Club in Mair St, Ballarat.
When going to a bistro on a holiday eve with a 2 year old in tow, it's always a good idea to be early, first in first served, and as usual we were the first ones there!
We asked to be seated right next to the Kiddy Korner, a room that's really designed for kids over 5 who want to zombify themselves with computer games, which works splendidly to allow parents some much deserved peace at dinner time. Luckily for our little ankle biter, there was a skill tester machine right next to the computer room that spits out chocolate bars, a blessing or a curse depending on how skilled your child is at securing their sugar stash.
Amongst running up and down the ramp, climbing the banisters and the occasional amble into the pokies, our little Dash was pretty well contained and seemed to have a jolly old time.
At first glance the meals selection appears a bit thin and the mains on offer are a little pricey but if you're a small portion eater unlike our family then there are a few nice entrée sized pastas and risottos that are well priced. And if we were really honest with ourselves, we'd just accept that this is how much a main meal costs these days, $30+ for a steak, it's just so tough to swallow!
All the staff were friendly and helpful, something we've found to be a bit of an enigma in this town when dining out, which went a long way to help that holiday feeling sink in.
Our meals were out in a flash, which was impressive, as by 6:15pm the bistro was quickly filling up. We had the bruschetta to start, which was one of the tastiest we've had in living memory, their spin on it is Bacon and Aioli, which worked well with the yummy crusty bread and fresh tomatoes.
Without realizing it we had stumbled into seafood Thursday at the club, so we couldn't resist taking advantage of this. For the main we shared a seafood platter for one and a chicken tenderloin risotto as we like to mix it up so we both get to enjoy a few different flavors.
The Seafood platter was the perfect combination of battered and um... not battered morsels. There were mussels, whole prawns and oysters Kilpatrick all smiling pleasantly, awaiting their final demise along with some battered fish, salt and pepper squid and chippies. Debra claims that the oysters and mussels were overcooked but I was too busy slurping down the sweet and salty nectar from the oyster shells to notice.
Debra soon meandered over to the risotto after losing interest in the seafood (someone recently reminded us that prawns are the ocean's sewerage system, cleaning up all the crap and storing it in that all too familiar poo line along the tail). She absolutely loved the risotto, which emanated a hint of citrus and was generously buttery and cheesy, with tender loins, as the name suggests! Me being the risotto cooker in our family, thought that it was too oily and that the rice may have been left waiting for a customer too long, but all in all it was damn tasty and well presented.
Dash gorged on the spaghetti bolognaise from the kids menu, which unlike the adults' meals are really well priced. There was enough to feed Dash and our friend's son in one hit, so great value for money and they both absolutely loved it!
Michelle, our dining buddy had the chicken parma, which for $23 I wouldn't say was the optimum choice as the vegies were overcooked and the chicken was too stringy but that classic flavor combination was still enough to ensure she polished off the lot.
We were done and dusted and out the door before 7:30pm. With military precision we had avoided a major tantrum and were more than satisfied with the overall dining experience. Great staff, lots of room to run around for the kids, family atmosphere, well presented food that teeters on the edge of pricey and can leave the palette underwhelmed if you choose unwisely, but also some great flavors and healthy sized portions.
We will definitely be returning to see what else from the menu can hit the spot.