|View from the eastern side of St. Bernards, towards the Gold Coast...alfresco dining offers this view|
|Alfresco Dining...St. Bernards Hotel, Tamborine Mountain|
What did you expect?
Monday, couple of weeks ago, I was escorted...not from the building...but out to lunch by two exes of mine. My ex-husband and his brother...my ex-brother-in-law...were my two gentlemen escorts.
Off to the legendary St. Bernards Hotel up here on the mountain for lunch we went. The lads swung by in my ex-brother-in-law’s four-wheel drive (SUV) to pick me up...almost literally, too. The damn thing was so high climb into, (and out of...and then back into and out of again on the return trip)! With my stubborn hips, I made quite a spectacle of myself! It gives me pleasure to give others pleasure...what a hilarious sight I must have made! Who cares...not me!
The hotel is the home of two magnificent St. Bernard dogs who deign, lazily, to open an eye or two as patrons enter the establishment - before promptly ignoring the intruders...and then, succumbing to slumber. Peacocks, too, at times, are seen roaming around the grounds.
The excuse for our get-together was a birthday celebration ...of all our birthdays. Combined, they add up to an excessive number! Any excuse is better than none is one of my many mantras.
It had been a while since the three of us had sat down together and exchanged stories.
I was exceedingly glad I followed the fellows’ lead, and did as they did, choose a cold beer.
It was the first time I’d tried a Great Northern, brewed by the Great Northern Brewing Co., our neighbours, down off the mountain, at Yatala.
I’m way behind the times, but don’t spread it around. I’d not heard of Great Northern beer until that special Monday. I like to think I’m up to date and “with it” - obviously I am not.
Upon taking my first sip of the cold, golden lager a gasp of pure delight issued forth from my grateful, parched palate. Great Northern is what we Aussies call – “a good drop”.
To extol Great Northern lager...it excels. If only beer always tasted like that first mouthful...pure bliss!
My head is lowered in shame as I express the following...
During any given year the only time I visit St. Bernards Hotel, which is situated only 2kms away - thereabouts - from where I live, is on the eve of Melbourne Cup Day to place a bet or two...and then, as has been my good fortune, or genius selecting, not in mourning, I return the following morning to collect my winnings.
I realised the other day the last time I lunched and enjoyed a drink at the grand old pub was around 15 years ago! Coincidentally, on that occasion, I lunched with my ex-husband, Randall. 15 years between drinks and a good feed at St. Bernards is certainly too long a time. No wonder I was thirsty and hungry. I need an extra rap over the knuckles! Ouch!
It is with sincere praise I write. The meal I dined on the other day was mouth-watering delicious, as were those placed before my two chaperones. My ex, Randall dined on tempura-battered barramundi, salad and chips/fries; Howard, his brother, salt and pepper squid, and I...tempura-battered prawns with two very tasty side dipping sauces. The batter was the lightest, most crisp tempura batter I've ever had the pleasure of eating - and enjoying!
For many years I worked in the hospitality industry. I’ve a clear idea between good, mediocre and bad meals. The meals the chef prepared for us for lunch that day were...in a word...excellent; worthy of any acclaimed city restaurant.
St. Bernards’ chef can hold his head high in the knowledge he is presenting first-rate fare to diners. It appears to me others have already cottoned-on to the fact because the place, inside and outside, was busy the day we were there. The number of “bums on seats” is a distinct indication someone is doing something right.
Clearly, the chef is. Good on him!
Having spent long, hectic hours in hot commercial kitchens, I know, by personal experience, the pressures on kitchen staff; particularly on chefs.
As we left the premises - again, I wasn't escorted off the premises (I only had two lagers!) - I detoured via the kitchen to express my thanks to the chef, who appears to be a most pleasant young bloke – and a talented one.
He deserves accolades for the work he is doing; for the delectable food he is presenting. I don’t envy him the heat of the kitchen...I hope he can stand it. From the broad smile on his expressive face when I spoke with him, the chef was standing it that day.
Lunch at St. Bernards was an exceptionally exhilarating, excellent interlude in every way.
Mushroom Lemon Herb Salad: Dressing: Combine 1/4c x-virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 2 finely chopped red chillies; season. Add 250g sliced button mushroom 4 sliced mini cucumbers and 1 bunch roughly chopped Italian parsley to bowl; top with dressing; gently mix to combine.
Blueberry Cos Salad: Whisk 1/3c white vinegar, 1/4c sugar, 1tbs chopped red onion, 2tsp poppy seeds, 1tsp ground mustard, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp pepper and dash of Worcestershire sauce; gradually whisk in 1 cup x-virgin olive oil. Place in bowl, cos lettuce leave, 1c unsalted cashews, 1c shredded Swiss cheese and 1c fresh blueberries. Pour dressing over salad; toss.
Chopped Salad: Dressing; combine 1c loosely packed coriander, stems removed, ½c Greek yoghurt, 1 crushed garlic clove, juice of 1 lime and pinch of salt in processor. With the motor running, add 1/4c olive oil and 2tbs apple cider vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified. Place 5c chopped cos lettuce leaves in bowl; add 1/2c halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2c drain canned corn kernels, 1/2c canned rinsed, drained black beans and 2tbs chopped coriander. Pour over dressing; gently toss; gently stir 1 diced avocado. Garnish with 1/4c tortilla strips.
Quinoa Fruit Salad: Whisk together 1/4c olive oil, 1/4c cider vinegar, zest of 1 lemon, 2tbs lemon juice and 1tbs sugar; set aside. Combine 2c cooked quinoa (get someone else to cook it!), 1 peeled, diced mango, 1c quartered strawberries, 1/2c blueberries and 2tbs pine nuts; gently stir in the lemon vinaigrette.
Watermelon Sorbet: Cut half seedless watermelon into 1-inch chunks; freeze overnight. Place frozen chunks and 1 tbsp lemon juice into blender; blend until smooth; add more lemon juice as needed.
Robert Muir built St Bernards House in 1881 on the site of the present Council Quarry on Kaiser Road, as an accommodation house for its managers and staff. He bought almost 2000 acres of heavy scrubland at the top of the southern end of the mountain intending to grow sugar cane when the land was cleared. Mr. Muir was drowned in the flooded Logan River at Yatala in 1887.
Following owners started a village settlement and moved St Bernards to its present site in 1898. During its history, St Bernards has had many varied roles including Post Office receiving centre, in 1915 it became a licensed property, the 1920’s saw St Bernards as a convalescent Private Hotel and an accommodation House for up to 100 guests. The tariff was three pound fifteen shillings per week.
The main part of the hotel (the lounge and public bar) was built by John Siganto in 1912–1914 and its hotel licence was required then.
Today, St Bernards prides itself on its country home-style atmosphere, with great food, good people and the warm ambience typical of a country pub. Summer allows you to escape the heat enjoying wonderful alfresco dining with fabulous views, whilst winter provides a cosy ambience with fireplaces.
St Bernards is the largest and most famous Hotel on the Mountain, located in heart of Gold Coast Hinterland