The Plough Inn
I went through as stage when I was really into pub food. No, that's not code for 'jugs of beer', I actually mean big servings, steaks and fried sides. In fact, one of my favorite places to go in the city after uni was The Brewhouse. They had an awesome 1kg of chicken wings on their menu which was great bonding food and two-for-one Tuesday. Although it was a pub, they had some pretty awesome desserts including my favorite, a huge ball of deep fried cookies and cream ice-cream. I'm so devastated that it shut down and even as I'm writing this post, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.
In line with my eating style at the time, I tried quite a few pubs and taverns around the place and had a decent impression of Plough Inn. I decided to give it another go recently.
We went there for dinner and started the meal with some drinks. Strawberry daiquiri for me and something yuck for Charlie. The daiquiri was sharply sweet and left an odd after taste. I couldn't actually drink too much of it because it was so sweet and by the time it had melted a bit, the drink tasted like pure, flavored sugar syrup.
As for food, I remembered the ribs were alright so I ordered a 1/2 rack of ribs with chicken wings. Charlie chose the 400g rump.
The Plough Inn is another one of those places that use the buzzers. I quite like that because it means that if you're going to be having a meal with lots of friends, there's no messy bill splitting. Even though I knew that there'd be no waiter bringing our food plates over, I kept glancing at the kitchen every few seconds out of sheer hunger :D.
When our food was ready, I was quite impressed with the serving size. They were hefty amounts of meat! I mentally ticked off the category of 'appropriate serving size'.
From there, my impression of food at The Plough Inn went down hill. When I first tasted my ribs, I thought that they were very bland. There was a minimal amount of sauce and the actual ribs were dry and bland. I tried to save them by adding a bit of barbecue sauce but frankly, I found the whole thing pretty inedible. Aside from the lack of taste, they weren't tender at all. I like ribs that practically fall off the bone and are infused with flavor (don't we all). With these ones, I could barely hack the ribs apart even with a steak knife. The menu promised 'maximum flavor and tenderness guaranteed'... all I can say is that it was a far cry from that.
As for the chicken wings, I thought they were undercooked. The skin was very rubbery and fatty (rather than crisp) and the meat couldn't actually be torn with a fork - it was still pink and rubbery on the inside. I only ate a bit of 1 wing before deciding I couldn't even stomach them and the portion I did try had no flavor in the meat. It tasted like the barbecue sauce from the ribs.
I was desperately searching for something good to say about my meal. The chips were quite crisp but after a few, I noticed they were way too salty. I could actually see the chicken salt stuck in a layer over the surface. Charlie denied it for a while (he's very polite about his food and doesn't like to be too critical - probably the result of eating my cooking) but finally admitted it was too salty.
The corn cob was alright and the garden salad was at least fresh. I was alright with eating those items.
Charlie didn't have too many complaints about his steak, besides the fact that it was cooked rarer than what he requested. I think in terms of quality, it was no better or worst than any other pub quality steak. I read an interesting newspaper article about steaks, pointing out that you could get a good cut of steak (steak with a marbling grade and dry aging etc) from a reputable restaurant for maybe $36 OR get a steak with no real credentials from a pub that might also set you back $30 (the one from Plough Inn was $29 and was one of the cheapest on their menu). Keeping that in mind, I would choose the former option.
Needless to say, I was disappointed with The Plough Inn. Everything went wrong from my daiquiri to the chips, chicken and actual ribs I ordered. Maybe I was extremely unlucky this time because my first impression of the food wasn't this bad. Either my standards of eating has gone up 10 fold or... well... go figure.
To be fair, The Plough Inn doesn't try to promise gourmet culinary wonders. Rather, it aims to be a casual meeting spot for catching up with friends over a few drinks and I think it does a good job there. The seating area is expansive and open. There's also a nice rooftop area that unfortunately wasn't open when we went but looked pretty good.