While we were staying at the Bannisters Lodge Hotel we decided we needed to experience the taste sensations of the ‘Rick Steins at Bannisters’ restaurant. Actually, the main reason we decided to stay at Bannisters was to eat at the restaurant. At first we were going to drive out there for the day but when we had the opportunity to take advantage of the package deal for the accommodation we decided it wouldn’t hurt to stay a few days as well.
For those who may not be aware, Rick Stein is a popular celebrity chef known for his series of cooking adventures around the world. He also owns and runs a restaurant in the Cornish fishing village of Padstow in England.
We weren’t expecting to see Rick Stein as we had heard that he is there more in name only rather than a standing figure. But that didn’t phase use – we were there more to try the cuisine more than anything else.
On the Wednesday we took advantage of the $60 lunch. This includes three courses and a variety of dishes to choose from. If we had come any other day this meal would have cost us around $85.
Lunch is only available on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and runs from 12.30pm. Breakfast is served daily from 7.30am to 10.30am. Dinner is served daily from 6pm.
On arrival we were directed to our table which was close to the window so we had a nice view of the ocean. We found that the tables were quite close to each other. Not enough to be annoying but we could easily hear the conversation from the next table.
Once the waitress seated us and draped our napkins, we were handed the menu and offered drinks. After ordering we were then given a slice of warm crusty bread with butter on the side and were told we could have more if required.
The first course arrived fairly quickly. Paula chose the Stir Fried Salt and Pepper Calamari with a Rocket and Cucumber Salad which she quite liked although she felt that the salt and pepper flavour was just a bit too intense. Paula loves salt and pepper calamari so has become a bit of a connoisseur on the subject.
I chose the Fish and Shellfish Soup with Rouille and Parmesan. This arrived in a tureen with enough to feed four people, although the gentleman at the next table managed to finish the whole lot on his own. I was a little more restrained and found two bowls quite enough. Paula ended up having a bowl as well and there was still enough left for another serve.
It also came with three large croutons on which you spread the rouille and sprinkle with parmesan.
Although it was nice, it was a little disappointing. The soup was flavoursome but not what I was expecting. I was hoping to see chunks of fish, shellfish and squid in my soup but instead I was given a thin soup that looked almost like a simple seafood stock.
The rouille was smooth and delicious and when spread on the croutons with a sprinkle of parmesan this tasty morsel created a bit of substance which made up for that lacking in the soup.
For the mains we both chose the Fillet of Snapper with crisp garlic eschalots and chilli served with bok choy and oyster sauce. It also came with a side of rice sprinkled with dried onion.
The snapper was cooked to perfection and the sauce provided a beautiful flavour. However, we both felt that it was lacking something. We’re not really sure what but we were expecting something more. When it came down to it, it really was just a piece of snapper on a plate with some bok choy in oyster sauce. We were expecting something special and it just didn’t quite hit the mark with us.
We were quite full at this point and both said that we probably couldn’t get through a whole dessert, that is, until it arrived. We both chose the Pavlova with Crème and Passionfruit.
This really was the highlight of the meal. We decided that we could easily come back just for the Pavlova. The meringue was firm on the outside but when you cracked into it the fluffy inside was perfection itself.
The passionfruit topping was sweet but not overly so and complimented the meringue perfectly. And there was just enough to cream to balance it all out.
These were individual servings…in other words not your usual sliced version. It was absolutely divine and we both ate every single bit and we would have licked the plate if we could.
We had no issues with the service. The staff were attentive and friendly and each course was served quite quickly. Mind you, at that point there were only a few of us in the restaurant so there wasn’t any reason for them to not provide adequate service.
Overall we enjoyed the experience but we felt that it didn’t provide the ‘wow’ factor we were expecting. The food was just a little too simple and lacked the richness and flavour we were expecting. We found that we enjoyed the meals at the local clubs just as much and they were a hell of a lot cheaper.