Tasting Bendigo – The National Hotel

When I was in Bendigo earlier, I was worried I wouldn’t have a place to review for the food. We got in late and went with take away for dinner in the end. It was my nan’s celebration the next day, and a room at the National Hotel had been hired. I presumed it was a set meal or something, I didn’t know if would be reviewable at all.

But in the end, it turned out that we had to order our own meals from the counter there, and that’s what we did, which I think left plenty of scope for a review! So without much ado…

The National Hotel is a hotel as most Australian country towns would expect. That means that it has rooms, a bar, a restaurant rooms for hire, I think a few pokie (slot) machines for its patrons’ pleasure. The building is actually a bit non-descript to be honest, it doesn’t jump out at you as you drive past and well, I drove right past it without noticing it because it doesn’t look like a hotel.

I can’t speak for the rooms there, but I did dine there. The room we had was probably a tad small for the number of people that were there, especially as these are still sadly Covid times, and I am not sure if the room is used for general dining when not hired – quite possibly it is though. It had a projector connected to the ceiling and a pull down screen which we wasn’t used for our function. The door to the rest of the dining was kept open.

The service was friendly enough, in such a way that I don’t really remember it, was it good or bad? So it was pretty decent then. Like every place in Bendigo that I went to when I was there (including Autobarn!) the National didn’t accept American Express. We had the choice of an a la Carte menu which was nice, instead of all being served exactly the same thing. I mean, we had to pay but at least we had the choice of a fairly extensive menu. It was full of pub favourite such as risottos, parmigiana and schnitzels. And there were steaks – porterhouse, rump or ribeye, and if you like there is the beef and reef option which is a steak mixed with seafood. I am guessing you get that in other countries but it’s a popular dish in Australia in steak restaurants and the odd pub. My cousin Rob went for that, my wife had garlic prawns and I went for a porterhouse steak, which set me back around $36AUD. The garlic prawns were entrée size (still quite generous) and only $17. The steaks were all 300 gram steaks, which is just heaven frankly for a lover of steak.

Rob and I both checked on how we liked our steaks, and we both agreed medium-rare was the go. Then someone suggested well-done which, you know, was disappointing to hear! I’m not a fan of cooking the steak to death, I like the juices and a little redness.

And so how was the tucker? Sorry for switching to All-Aussie vernacular there, the food? Look I love a good pub meal. My wife will disagree with me, but it the shizzle. No, I don’t think I used that word right. But hey, you know what I mean. Decent priced meals that don’t break the bank, fill you up and taste good. And that’s what we got here, I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the food on our party of fifty or more people.

I had a sort of mushroom gravy which is my go-to with my steaks. And I was really happy. My wife said her garlic prawns were good and Rob seemed very satisfied with his Beef and Reef. There were a few different fish dishes on the menu that went down well as well. But even if the food was poor, we were there to celebrate someone – my grandmother – turning 100 and it wouldn’t have mattered that much all in all.

But it was good food. Not expensive, really impressive range of choices on the menu, and there was just nothing to be unhappy about. And at the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask for, right? So if you’re in Bendigo, I would definitely recommend the National Hotel for a meal. You can’t go wrong! Thanks for popping in today and giving my little blog the ol’ peruse. May the Journey Never End!

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