Lady FWO faced something of a dilemma….she had headed out, alone, for a spot of lunch at one of the nearby eating houses in Guildford, Padburys.
This restaurant is housed in the historic Padbury House at the corner of Terrace Rd and Swan Street, and is a largish space inside and a few tables and chairs on the footpath where customers can also sit and enjoy a meal. The inside dining room is a bit like a warehouse – it was once a general store – and has high ceilings, some exposed brick and is decorated with vintage pieces and various bric-a-brac.
The menu at lunchtime is not large but covers such dishes as bruschetta, lamb shanks, battered fish, salt and chilli prawns and vegetarian gnocchi. In the evening it expands somewhat to include suckling pork belly, eye fillet, duck and barramundi. The meals are good quality, but nothing exceptional or particularly innovative. But still a nice spot for an occasional meal if you want what I guess can best be described as home cooked style food.
The place is licensed – the wine list is small but has a number of Swan Valley wines on it from such producers as Olive Farm, John Kosovich and Talijancich, which is to be applauded. Guilford is the entrance to the Valley and the wines of that region deserve a spot on any local wine list.
We have been a number of times over the years but today was the first time such an issue arose…what was it? Well as I said Lady FWO was alone and had ordered a small serve of calamari as an entrée and a prawn and avocado salad as a main. But they both came out together!
Even stranger was that the waiter didn’t seem to understand the problem. Perhaps the kitchen had been unaware that there was only one person dining and thought what had been ordered were two mains….but the waiter certainly did know that only one person was dining. She just stood there a little confused that there could be any concern.
Somewhat bemused, Lady FWO decided to eat the prawn and avocado salad main and have the calamari and salad packed to take with her which she did (and I got to have a taste of the reheated dish later that evening).
As for the food….the salad consisted of tiger prawns, over a mix of leaves, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, onion, mushrooms and with a chilli citrus dressing drizzled over. The prawns were cooked well, with the sweet flesh still retaining a little al dente mouth feel, and the salad components were fresh and crisp; the dressing complemented but did not over power. It was a satisfactory dish.
The calamari had been cooked with lemon and pepper seasoned flour and served over a salad of cos lettuce, tomatoes, fetta and avocado; this salad had what seemed to be a sweet mustard dressing. Again the dish was satisfactory, although reheating it probably detracted from it somewhat.
After resolution of the dual serving incident, Lady FWO decided to have dessert. She chose a lemon and mango creme brûlée which was served with berry coulis and almond biscotti. This was the highlight of the lunch. It was a well executed dish and confirms the restaurant’s contention that their desserts are of a high order. The toffee was thin and crunchy, the creamy filling bursting with mango and citrus flavours. The almond biscotti was obviously freshly baked and was crisp, tasty and perfect for scooping up the creme. The berry coulis added a sharp contrast to the sweetness of the creamy custard.
So, Padbury’s turns out reasonable, middle of the road fare, uses quality ingredients, has nice ambience, and friendly (if not always astute staff). The food is satisfactory without reaching any great heights. A more innovative menu would boost its attraction I think, but perhaps they know their target clientele. Desserts are possibly their strength.