Restaurant Review: Dinner at The Gov
Shane Berketa writes about his recent meal at The Gov.
Forgive me adelaidetweet readers for I have sinned. It has been at least three years since my last ‘different’ meal at a pub as I have mainly stuck to the ‘holy trinity’ of pub meals: chicken parmigiana, pub burger and pizza.
My reasoning behind this decision was due to a few bad meals (in a row) that I ate three years ago at a few pubs I had visited. In one instance the pub’s curry was watery and had no flavour, in another instance the fish was dry and over-cooked, another’s steak was tough and overdone: need I go on? It was then I came to the realisation that I would stick with what pubs do best (the holy trinity) and vowed never to try a ‘different’ pub meal again. That was until The Gov (Governor Hindmarsh Hotel) came along and I broke my vow… well sort of!
Situated on busy Port Road, The Gov has been a well known institution in Adelaide for 162 years. The pub itself is dimly lit and cosy – stools at the bar, bench seats and a couple of comfy couches nicely spaced apart where you don’t feel crammed in and talking over someone else. It’s not exactly a modern feel, a bit ‘hippy-ish’ you might say, with photos of vintage naked ladies looking down on you as you have a hit at the pool table.
The dining area is surprisingly large, even more spacious than the pub, and behind that is the ticketed entertainment venue. It plays host to a large range of Australian musical acts such as the Hoodoo Gurus, Grinspoon and Xavier Rudd (March 30th 2012). The night I was visiting it was playing a comedy act, Best of the Edinburgh Fest.
With the laminated menu I was given at the bar, admittedly I wasn’t expecting much. I sat with my friend Shona and discussed what would be the best option out of the pub burger or wood fired pizza. She suggested the fish which, of course, led me to exclaim “you never order fish at a pub, you don’t know what you’re going to get!”
I settled on the prosciutto pizza and she was going to order the veggie burger when our eyes were taken with the specials board. ‘Oven baked Barramundi served with tabouli and chilli and lime buree noisette for $16. Sixteen bucks! Shona immediately changed her order to the special and we sat waiting for our meals, whilst drinking the $5.50 pints of Coopers (although advertised on their website as $5).
Our meals arrived and they looked amazing. My pizza was a long oval shape and had a generous amount of goat’s cheese, caramelised onion, spinach and roasted field mushrooms… surprisingly it didn’t have that much prosciutto. With its thin crust and no tomato paste on the base it had a very light taste and was extremely delicious.
Almost sweet in taste, the caramelised onions and goat’s cheese fought a winning battle against the salty prosciutto whilst the mushrooms sat watching from the sideline, adding a bit of bite now and again.
The barramundi smelt like heaven. We were both surprised at the large portion sat on top of a generous helping of tabouli infused with chilli and lime. After her first bite Shona exclaimed “this is fantastic!” I hurriedly negotiated the surrender on one piece of pizza in exchange for one bite of what looked like a perfectly cooked piece of fish. Three bites later and my taste buds were rejoicing, not only for the reason that I had broken the contract and taken two extra bites but the taste of the barramundi and tabouli had sent my mind racing to a different location.
I had gone from sitting in a pub in Adelaide to sitting on the beach in Bali. The fish was fresh, flaky and melted in my mouth. The tabouli gave a perfect amount of heat from the chilli with a nice zesty taste from the lime. It was then and there my vow was broken…maybe I would give ‘different’ meals a try from now on…well, at The Gov anyway.
Being that we mainly ordered from the pub, and were only there for an hour and ahalf, we didn’t have much interaction from the staff. The little interaction we did have was friendly and courteous and the impression they gave was that they actually enjoyed being at work.
The one problem we did have, which we tried to correct, was the music. It was just the normal run of unobtrusive background music (best of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s) UNTIL Crowded House started playing with the song “World Where You Live”. Once it finished the same song started again… and again… and again…I could type ‘and again’ a further FOURTEEN times! We mentioned it to the bar staff at its tenth airing but it kept repeating, by its fourteenth encore we were out the door. It left me wondering how many more times it played throughout the night.
It takes a special pub to change my views on a menu and break a strongly held vow. The Gov has changed my view on pub meals and I am hoping to return there soon to try the ‘different’ aspects of their menu. The place is open and inviting, the food is fantastic, and the service is friendly. Definitely give it a try. Enjoy!