The Cosmopolitan, Trentham

Trolling in Trentham

The exception proves the rule, actually I’m not sure what this means but given that it is not Thursday but we are eating in a pub, and yes we are talking, but no we are not walking it would seem like an apt saying.

Thelma and I have taken a road trip, not to the Grand Canyon, although that features in the story but to Trentham, to the Cosmopolitan Hotel to be precise for a leisurely Sunday lunch. Why? Well, Thelma and I have a tradition of escaping from the city for a long weekend of talking and forking and not much else every Melbourne Cup. Last year it was the wineries of McLaren Vale, this year was to be Coonawarra but as often happens, life gets in the way; well actually it was Sharon’s 60th birthday in Las Vegas, to be precise. Thelma, after some soul searching and consultation, and not one to miss “An Occasion”, is off to “Vegas Baby” on the very weekend we are to be amongst vineyards of the Terra Rossa. So, anyhow we decided to take ourselves to Sunday Lunch in the country as a bon voyages and commiseration.
Where to go? A couple of months the Age had an article on country pubs to visit (The Age, Epicure May 22 2012, pg 4) and Thelma and I, always ones for an outing and an advisory list, decided we would work our way through the suggestions, including the follow up ones from the readers (The Age, Epicure May 29 2012, pg 8). So it was off to Trentham for lunch at the Cosmopolitan. Trentham is, a small, shady town, it is always cool there not full of undesirable types, (I don’t think), about an hour’s drive up the Calder.The Cosmopolitan is a burnt out shell, having been the victim of a fire several years ago but the ‘pub, bar and meals ’ is running out of the renovated stables, with the meals being supplied by the kitchen on wheels to the side. I have so say that the kitchen is an example of Aussie spirit as they are plying their wares from a mobile kitchen, have to wonder how they will cope in summer, although this is Trentham and I doubt that true heat will be an issue. The cottage style garden separates the pub from the stables and being Spring was showing the promise of things to come , so we chose to sit on the terrace overlooking the garden to enjoy its ambiance, which was greatly enhanced when the waiter turned on the gas heater, have I mentioned that Trentham is somewhat chilly.

When we arrived a woman was chatting to the waiter, she was apparently a bridesmaid from the last nights wedding, she had come to reclaim the bride’s veil and by the look of her “a good time had been had by all”.
What we ate: for starters after discussion with the waiter, we tried the local tasting plate ($28). The waiter explained that the plate consisted of 3 x 60ml glasses of local wine (1 white & 2 red) and several, locally sourced morsels. We decided that this sounded like a good starting point so we would share. What we got, yes 3 generous tastes of wine and the tasting plate consisted of 1 spring roll, fresh ingredients but lacking a dipping sauce, a morsel (squash ball size) of stuffed chicken breast from the main menu and a taste of the braised neck on a spoonful of rice, also from the main menu. Do you get the sense that we were somewhat disappointed and a little miffed – for future reference, perhaps the suggestion that this wasn’t really a sharing plate or perhaps order two, but having said that, I would have been most upset to pay $56 for two serves of these morsel plates!

Given the limited menu, totally understandable given the limited kitchen, and the fact that we had tried two of the for mains on offer in the tasting plate what to have next? Thelma opted for the stuffed chicken breast with asparagus and potato($30). Me, I went for the bar menu and the pumpkin gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce ($20), Ok but the serve was an entre size and I thought $20 for commercial gnocchi with a tomatoe sauce was a bit rich, and not the sauce.

What we drank, on the strong recommendation of the waiter, and having tasted it as part of our starter, we had a glass each of the Harcourt Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and it was delicious. Would have happily had more but at $9.50 a glass and as one of us was driving, not a good idea.

Having had starter and main, and being dissatisfied with both, now what? We were expecting to enjoy a leisurely lunch and as this was our aim, we were disappointed; when you start costing the meal, critiquing the quality and realising that this was not value for money, you know you won’t be back.
We decided to have a troll around the shops, including one set up as an artists collective, where all the money goes to the artist, an idea that we “fellow travellers” wish to support. Sorry, would have liked to support further by putting web link here but can’t find it – if you are in Trentham, it is the shop in the main street, across the road from the pub. The wife man running it was due to have a baby the day we were there, this could be a further clue, just look for a newish pram and tired parents.

Deciding we needed cheering and comfort food we went to Redbeard for coffee and cake. Redbeard is very strong and proud in its principles, they use natural yeast, organic ingredients, are carbon neutral, artisan and the 19th century Scottish oven is fired using plantation hardwood. Naturally there’ s a sign on the coffee machine says” No decaf or skinny milk as we believe in whole foods. Redbeard, with its observation window into the bakery, has the sense of a community hub, with, we assume locals happily reading newspapers and seemingly owning the space, notice board for the community as well as “What’s hot @ Redbeard” where they tempt you to bread making classes. ”. I had rhubarb tea cake, with the compulsory dusting of icing sugar (which is pointless and should be banned) and Thelma had a conker, truffle like ball with glace fruit and coated in coconut, coffees ok but a little tepid, or were we just feeling jaded?

In all and as always, Thelma and I had an enjoyable outing even though it wasn’t the leisurely and luxurious lunch we were hoping for. Now Thelma has winged her way to Vegas, including the compulsory visit to the Grand Canyon, and I am plotting our next country pub outing.

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