Cardinia Park Hotel, Beaconsfield

Australians can have a very “pub-ish” culture when it comes to eating out. When you’re not really looking for anything too fancy, but fancy enough to dress better than just a T-shirt and shorts, not too expensive, but more pricey than your average takeaway, and the most important element… if you are HUNGRY and looking for a hearty meal with reasonably large portions, eating out at a pub is the way to go. A lot of decent restaurants these days started off as a pub. Then they slowly develop into a more classy “bistro” and eventually the meals tend to get more and more creative than your average Chicken Parma and then they start calling themselves a restaurant.
The Cardinia Park Hotel aka “The Cardi” is one of those pubs I would frequently drive past but never actually stopped to try them out. Thankfully over the weekend, we did! After our Alpha Weekend Away camp in Emerald on Sunday, we stopped at The Cardi for lunch.

To my pleasant surprise, The Cardi has quite a wide selection of meals! Even an Asian Laksa was listed as one of the mains in the “Daily Specials” menu. We’ve decided to go for some entrees – Nachos and Garlic Bread (sorry not pictured, I forgot!) and I had some Salt and Pepper Calamari. The calamari had more salt than pepper so the balance in taste wasn’t quite there. Texture wise though, it was delicious and I LOVED the salad that came with it. Sun dried tomatoes in salads are awesome!

Mr J had the Chicken Satay skewers which looked absolutely amazing. I love how generous they were with the chicken as well as the satay sauce. I might order this the next time I go there!

I ordered the Kangaroo fillet with Red Wine Jus and Chips and Salad. The trick with kangaroo meat is that you MUST NOT overcook nor undercook the meat, or else it will be too tough or too chewy. If you can cook it perfectly, the kangaroo meat can be the tastiest most divine meat you have ever tasted. It is also a very healthy meat because there’s barely any fat in it. Unfortunately, The Cardi seems to have overcooked my kangaroo and I think it is mostly because they’ve decided to use small fillets instead of one big chunk which made it too easy to overcook. Oh well, the sauce was amazing though!

Hubby ordered the Seafood Basket – generous portion much? Came with battered fish, scallops, mussels, salt and pepper calamari, king prawn and oyster served with chips and salad. The salad was nothing special, the chips were good quality crispy salty pub chips but again, I found the seafood was just that little bit overcooked. The batter got too brown in my opinion and as a result most of the seafood tasted pretty dry.

And then there were a few other meals that weren’t ours so I can’t comment on what it tasted like. Hopefully these photos below would help you decide on what you would maybe like to order if you are ever visiting The Cardi. My personal favorite is the “Chicken Mignon” it LOOKS delicious.. you know how you can just tell by its looks that it would TASTE delicious? The Chicken Mignon looks amazing.. how can you go wrong with chicken wrapped in bacon poured with garlic cream sauce with mushrooms?? Don’t know how I overlooked that on the menu!

Classic Chicken Parma with Chips and Veggies
Super HUGE Chicken Kiev with Chips and Veggies
AMAZING looking Chicken Mignon.. I am salivating just looking at it!

So there you have it, just some examples of classic pub meals you can probably find in any decent pubs in Australia. I love Aussie pubs and its pub meals. Don’t go out often enough to have these meals (hubby does, he goes out once a week and has a pub meal with the boys before poker on Wednesdays!) but when we do, we always walk away full and satisfied 🙂

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