On this sunny Saturday early evening, it seemed that this Town Square was THE place to be for Eastern suburban families all enjoying dinners sat on terraces with lots of open space for kids to run around.
Hunter and Barrel looks welcoming and also impressive with it's dark slate grey decor and plenty of light wood. We are early but the shops are closed so we decide to see if our table is ready or if there's a bar to have a drink. We're in luck though as the host lets us know our table is empty and proceed to lead us to a private dining room with a big round table. It's all a bit fancy for a shopping centre restaurant with it's antlers lamp shade, cow hide wall hanging and a row of pegs with furs hung up. We can be fancy though and we settle right in.
The Gathering Feast | Serves 4
Sourdough Bread with cultured butter
Hunters Slow Roasted Beef Rib, Coal Roasted Chicken with lemon and rosemary, Crispy Roasted Pork Belly with chilli sauce, Spiced Wagyu Sausage and Aged Cheddar Kransky with your choice of 4 salads / sides
- Grain Salad with chickpea, freekeh, barley, lemon and rocket
- Coal Roasted Corn with honey and butter
- Cast Iron Butter Mushrooms with garlic butter
- Grilled Cauliflower with garlic sauce & toasted almonds
Jacket Potato with sour cream and chives
We're given a super heavy knife that is placed in the middle of the table along with the first course of bread. We wonder about the knife but it comes in handy later on when the meat arrives! There's not much butter so we ask for more.
Food arrives pretty promptly and it all looks quite appetising. Steve is our knife handler and carves up for us and we pretty much dig in. There's also a small tray of tiny ramekins with mustards, some extra chilli sauce for the pork and then about 5 strands of onion which I assume is the onion chutney for the beef but it works out literally one sliver each!
So what do we think to the food? It's good enough for a shopping centre restaurant. It's not destination dining but there's not much for families out in the suburbs so I can see how and why this is appealing.
Our general thoughts are:
- The mushrooms are pretty tasty but it's simple to cook mushrooms in butter right? Not that garlicky though so more garlic would be better
- The corn is yummy and I like the honey and butter on it
- Grilled cauliflower is a certainly grilled with plenty of caramelisation but it's soggy so it's like it's been blanched and then fried off and I'd have prefered it to be crunchier.
- The garlic sauce is more mustardy than garlicky - not bad but not what it says on the tin!
- Pork belly was pretty fatty and greasy in the mouth
- Salmon was super oily. Yes I know it's an oily fish but this was really oily to the point it made Stef and I feel a little bit uncomfortable.
- Baked potato with sour cream was decent. Ling would have liked butter.
- I liked the roasted chicken as it was juicy and flavoursome.
- The rib of beef was decent too.
- Sausages were good enough - not earthshatteringly amazing but a decent banger
The private dining room is great for us with little Bunty as she can wander round quite safely and there's nothing better than a round table for communal feasting. In spite of being removed from the thick of things, service is attentive enough and our waiter pops in at regular intervals to check in on us.
The other comment is that Stef and I ordered the "homemade lemonade" expecting a glass of non sparkling, cloudy traditional lemonade and what we got was a glass of Sprite. It's the same price as a glass of Sprite so no loss there. Maybe it's there version of home made or maybe they got it wrong. Ling ordered a mocktail that was pretty but just tasted like fruit juice. Bunty enjoyed using the martini glass though!
So in summary, it's a good place for families or groups that live locally and the price point is ok. I wouldn't travel especially to come here but I enjoyed the environment and it worked for us. It's less about the food which is acceptable but more about practicality and accessability. The Molton Brown hand soap and lotion in the bathroom was pretty nice too!