Friday, 20 February 2009

The Hilltop at Granton

Deb has well and truly redeemed her credibility with Rita now. In the past she has dragged me kicking and screaming to some spectacularly awful places where I’ve reluctantly paid for the privilege of being fed and watered in a seriously underwhelming manner.

Last night, her threat of dragging me out to the far reaches of the northern suburbs had me fearing the worst.

The venue: The Hilltop at Granton.
The food: excellent.
The service: second to none.
The menu: absolutely standard

You will be hard pressed to find hotel operators who are as friendly, caring, smart and general all-round good guys as the family who own and run this venue. You have Pam and Brian, mum and dad, stage managing operations, ably supported by daughter Erica (front of house) and her partner Anthony (Buzz), a keen budding chef who has taken on a cookery apprenticeship as a mature aged apprentice after they had real issues with securing a chef for their venue.

The other staff were so impressive. Em, our waitperson, who lives next door to the Hilltop, is a young Guilford Young College drama student and is regarded and treated as a family member, as is the rest of the staff. I very much admired the way Pam spoke about everyone there. She is a role model for hospitality business owners, I reckon.

Being situated in the area they are, they have had their share of misfortune, an example of which recently involved a wedding guest hiding on the premises after a large wedding, then making off with the register containing the days takings. This kind of setback might cause one to be reasonably cynical and judgemental but not these people. It’s just a day in their lives, and tomorrow is another day.

The food, produced by Dee and Buzz, was unexpectedly innovative whilst still remaining in the realistic realm for their patrons. We shared one of their Taster Plates ($28) which contained 3 small mini-flowerpot shaped containers of their soup of the day, which yesterday was Asparagus with camembert, and was stunning; spiced chicken pieces; salmon roulade-style nibble; stuffed mushroom and a scallop and bacon kebab, plus some king prawns and seafood sauce.

For mains, Deb had the Lamb Shanks ($20 one shank, $25.50 two shanks) served with crushed oven-roasted root vegetables, seasonal greens and a sticky port & mint jus – absolutely gorgeous. I had my predictable Peppered Eye Fillet ($31) which was good, but after I’d tasted Deb’s shanks, would have preferred that dish. But, I’m female – that’s what we do – change our minds!

The serving sizes were plentiful; the veges not tarted up as anything other than what they were – steamed fresh veges and beautifully roasted and smashed root veges.

I have to admit that I would never in my life have ever selected The Hilltop at Granton as an eating destination, but having been out there now, sitting watching the sun set over the Bridgewater bay, am glad I allowed my mind to be expanded, and my senses to be stimulated by this experience. I recommend this venue as a destination for those amongst us who cherish normalcy in menu and food preparation.

Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Was wondering what the fuss was with that place. Now youve made me curious.You go some funny places rita.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who has been recommending The Hilltop to me for sometime. I always wanted to go, but never did as I thought t was too far out of town for me, however I recently had my first experience at this beautiful venue as our Christmas party was hosted here.

I was so pleasantly surprised to find such brilliant venue for our function. The food was amazing that I have since been back for the delicious Chicken Pocket. Our Christmas party was such a fun night dancing the night away on the large dance floor, and the view is just stunning.

I 100% agree with Rita and would recommend this friendly venue to anyone of my friends. It is worth the drive out of town.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rita,
Following your review on this venue, I decided to book in over the weekend for a meal.
However to my disappointment, they were fully booked on Saturday night - this suggests to me it must be good.

Rita said...

Anon 11.06 - you're correct, I DO go to an assortment of places. I like to try many different types of food and venues, not just stick to the tried and tested. Having said that, I find that it's hard to repeatedly go to my favourites, as there are so many I haven't yet been to.
Hey Steph - glad we seem to be of one accord.
Anon 4.20 - do try again to get in there, then come back here and tell us about your experience. I hope you find it as I reported. I do know they had a function on Sat night though, so that would account for them only having limited dining in their dining room.