As per my previous post I don’t get out to dinner that often – reason being we have 2 year old twins. Dining options on the Coast are limited at 5pm, especially when you would also like play equipment and a kids menu (fussy much?). So I was delighted when The Wattle Hotel offered to shout us dinner to show off their newly renovated venue.Coomera is actually way out of my ‘hood but the offer of somewhere the kids and us would be happy to eat was very enticing. The Wattle Hotel has been refurbished and it shows. Yes it’s a pub with a gaming facility but it’s a clean, modern space with a great playground.
We arrived pretty early (5:30pm is the dinner start time but we arranged to be there a bit earlier) to let the boys experience the play area. Which was great actually as they had it pretty much to themselves. There are two sections – one for toddlers and the other for older kids. Naturally my children decided the area for older kids was for them. Cue one of them getting freaked out at the very top of the structure (it’s pretty impressive!) and Daddy climbing through the play structure to rescue them, only to have them slide down the slide looking like nothing was wrong. Result: my hubby slowly inching himself down the slide with no kid in sight. Very funny. Like I said, lucky there weren’t many kids there….
We were seated in the room adjoining the play equipment which is a great option if you have older kids as there is a big screen with cameras on the play equipment. This pretty much means you may have time to have a quiet drink or talk while the kids play… wow! Also this would make a great place for a party as the room is separate to the main dining area.
Sime and I decided to place our order while the kids were still playing – another great idea as I reckon it’s about 20 minutes post food that the twins lose interest and want to start exploring / playing with ice / crockery / cutlery / salt and pepper. It also gave us a chance to grab high chairs – there are lots of clean high chairs available which is great.
Like most pubs (hotels?) you need to order at the counter, despite years of hospitality experience I missed the fact our table number was in fact displayed on the cutlery holder so my tip is to pay attention – although some pointing and a description was enough in this case. So, onto the food…
As an entree Sime ordered the Soft Shell Crab ($24) – tempura battered crab with a salad of lychees, mint, coriander, pickled cucumber & a lime eschalot dressing. The salad was amazing, so fresh, light and a perfect balance of sweet and sour with watercress which we love. Also the mayonnaise served with the dish was divine, creamy lime flavoured dipping sauce which was lovely with the crab. The crab itself was unfortunately pretty oily, perhaps cooked in oil that wasn’t hot enough? Still, the other elements of the dish were great.
For my main I had the Eye Fillet ($29) cooked medium rare, served with chips, salad and a red wine jus. The steak was perfectly cooked and well rested, tender and delicious. The side salad was quite nice (I don’t expect much from side salads usually) and chips were hot and fresh. Not sure what was going on with the jus but it tasted more like gravy. Still, it was salty and yummy to dip chips into, just not what I would call a jus.
Sime’s main was the Rib Fillet ($28) cooked medium rare, served with chips, salad and peppercorn sauce. He also had the Surf and Turf option of creamy garlic prawns ($7). Again, steak was perfectly cooked, rested and tender with a delicious topping of garlic prawns. Unfortunately the peppercorn sauce was again more like a gravy with a few peppercorns in the bottom of the ramekin – but as I said above, gravy is always good with chips.
The twins had Chicken Nuggets and Chips ($7), this is pretty standard fare but was done well, they both tucked in with gusto (especially after expending so much energy in the playground). There is an option to purchase bottomless soft drink for $2 which is great for older kids (personal choice but two 2 year olds high on sugar is not my idea of fun).
We both had wines – their wine list is quite impressive and the Zitta Shiraz (Barossa) I had with dinner was great with my steak.
The service is warm and friendly, the staff were very obliging and helpful with the kids. By 5:30pm the venue started filling up with families, with a full play area so it’s clear that The Wattle is popular with locals.
Overall we enjoyed our trip to The Wattle – the kids had a blast playing and the facilities definitely cater for families which made it comfortable for all of us. Also our meals were very good with a couple of small issues – I am always honest on my blog and the other caveat is that we are fussy diners. If The Wattle was closer to us and opened at 5pm we would go back again; there are other items on the menu that sound great, and it’s a great place to meet friends with kids for a meal.
Actually on that (5pm) – a general suggestion for any venue serving families or small children – please start serving food at 5pm. Routine is super important to us, as is the 7pm bed time and small amount of child free quiet time after this each night. At The Wattle we noticed at 5:25pm cars started entering the car park. So we wondered, if they opened at 5pm would this happen earlier? I am aware of a couple of other similar pubs / hotels on the GC that are child friendly, each of which starts serving food at 5:30pm. It’s just a bit too late for us so I wonder if others feel the same.