05 September, 2006

Grace Darling

114 Smith St, Collingwood; 03 9416 0055

The Grace Darling is a winner on a Tuesday night - a full-sized, quality pub grub menu with almost everything under $15. We first ventured there weeks ago for the $12 steak: with creamy garlic mash and a decent jus it is extremely good value. After a few too many heavy meals of late I had a craving this time for something Thai, which the Grace also offers from its Thai This menu. I went for the prawn stir fry with spring onion, garlic, chilli and cabbage. SG stuck to the pub mood and went with the steak sandwich.

Since the start of August the Grace has introduced trivia on a Tuesday night as well, and I did wonder how the kitchen would cope - that's a lot of $11 parma to carry upstairs. With a 20 minute or so wait the smells of heartier pub fare - fries, breads and pie pastry - left me a trifle disappointed when my stir fry arrived. I'd been hoping for a Thai taste explosion, but the first few mouthfuls were closer to (well) dressed coleslaw. The rice though was well cooked - not at all dry, and the kernels nicely separating. Despite a visual presence of red chilli I didn't detect any heat in the dish. It was saved, however, by the presence of four, fat king prawns. They had been lightly fried and I perhaps would have preferred them having some more time getting to know the marinade. The use of more delicate spring onion rather than its crunchier cousin saved the dish being over-powered, which made up somewhat for the runny, not-so-flavourful sauce.

Definitely on the plus side though, it filled me up, without a heavy feeling, which left room to polish off the remaining crispy fries on SG's plate.

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