Experience service at its best at the Crookwell Hotel Motel Bistro.
You'll find quite a crowd seated in the bar of Crookwell Hotel Motel of a weeknight, each of them nursing a beer or Sav Blanc after their long working day. Conversation flows idly; hatches, matches and dispatches are the main topics of discussion, interspersed with the trivial mundanity of everyday life and reality TV. It washes gently around those who are mindfully meditating on their beverage of choice, enjoying the company of a crowd where conversation is not required.
The bistro sits next door to the pub and on a Tuesday night – my visit – it’s one of only two restaurant options in town, the other being Chinese. The menu is extensive but today happens to be schnitzel and parma night. It’s an old piece of wisdom amongst Aussie wanderers that when in a country pub, the only correct meal to order is the parma.
Despite the apparent calm, the smiling waitress dispenses numbers to those who order. “It’s quiet now,” she explains, “but we could be full in 15 minutes – you never know on Tuesdays.”
A wood fire in one corner keeps the bistro comfortably warm, while the stone-faced walls, wooden furniture and polished concrete floors bring to mind the quiet countryside outside the darkened windows. Lining the walls are photographs of that same countryside, along with abstract works in treated metal that further bring to mind the lines of the rolling hills and ancient boulders around Crookwell.
There are plenty of large tables throughout the relatively small restaurant, and it’s clear families and big groups of friends generally occupy them. The vibe is casual and unpretentious, the staff and customers exuding typical country friendliness.
The families occupying the nearby tables linger after their meals are finished, poring over the newspapers and colouring books provided by the bistro. The children are sated, their voices drowsy when they greet friends arriving with their families for a later dinner.
The food is delivered quickly and in typical country pub style is generously proportioned. The plate is occupied by even serves of parma – well covered in bacon and cheese – green salad with a pesto-mayonnaise dressing, and golden chips. The chicken is moist and tender, the salad fresh and flavoursome, and the chips exceptionally crispy – the whole lot giving truth to the Aussie wanderer’s wisdom.
This is pub fare done exceptionally well, nothing on the plate fails to satisfy, and at $13.50 for the parma and $5 for a schooner of dark beer, it also represents exceptional value. Maybe I should have stayed on until Thursday – $12 rump steak all evening and $4 schooners from 5-7pm.
Crookwell Hotel Motel Bistro is located at 101 Goulburn Lane, Crookwell, NSW. Call (02) 4832 1016 for more information.