We had looked into having dinner at the Verandah Restaurant a year ago however it was booked out. This year when we had secured a reservation we were very disappointed.
We (a group of 8) showed up at 7.30 and were taken to our table outside. It would have been nice to be given the option of eating inside given that it was a very cool night however there was an outdoor heater at one end of the table so we thought this might be enough to keep us warm.
Our waitress came to serve us and asked what we would like to eat. We had to ask her if we could order some wine first but took this as just a mishap on her part.
After looking at the menus we then asked the waiter if they provided a banquet menu given that there were so many of us. We decided on the more expensive banquet menu and also asked for the pork belly.
The first couple of dishes were okay, nothing to rave about but they were quite nice (the standout was the Porcini and Muchroom Arancini, I can't remember what the other dish was it was that good).
The Snapper and Dill Fish cakes had a terrible texture and were extremely fishy in taste.
We had the lamb rack which consisted mostly of fat and the majority of us could not eat it.
The worst was the pork belly. The fat was not rendered down, it was soft and slimey and I can honestly say I have made better at home.
Aside from the poor food, the service was quite possibly the worst part of the evening. Approximately 10 minutes after we had ordered our wine our first course had arrived but still no wine. We had to ask our waitress to bring out the two bottles we had ordered and once she had poured the wine she placed the caps back on them.
We then ordered another round of wine and yet again had to ask for the bottle after not having received it within 15 minutes. Once this bottle was poured the staff took it back to the kitchen with them and we have a suspicion that the wine bottle was not even empty!
Whilst reading this review, please keep in mind that the restaurant was not busy at all and the staff were definetely not run off their feet.
After sitting in the cool for 30 minutes or so we were starting to feel a bit chilly so we asked if another gas heater nearby could be turned on. The response from the staff was "Nah, it's got not gas".
The general attitude of the staff was lazy and unprofessional. The time between courses was also very long and quite an unpleasant wait. We were there to enjoy their restaurant and from the very start it seemed that they were annoyed that they had to be working there that night.
After putting up with the not-brilliant food and the awful attitude of the staff at this restaurant a member from our group text messaged the Chef to let him know of our disappointment. His response was that due to Lovedale Long Lunch most of his normal staff were not working that night and were preparing for the weekend (which was the reason we were in the Hunter to begin with). This is absolutely no excuse and adds to the overall experience we had at this restaurant.
As a result of what we had experienced we all made sure that we told anyone that would listen at the Lovedale Long Lunch to not even bother trying with The Verandah.
A very disappointing dinner unfortunately.
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