By the time Carl returned from his excursion with the in-laws, we had well and truly over-stayed our welcome at Lilianfels, plus it was time to return to Sydney in time to become organised for the working week. We started heading back down the mountains (because I’m of Kiwi extraction I’m going to have to say they are not like mountains; they’re more like hills), and we wondered where we might stop for a late lunch.
Someone had told Carl that you can get a great lunch at the main pub in Springwood. We drove down the main street and it wasn’t hard to find the main pub. It is a grand old building filled with charm and original period features. It’s named The Oriental Hotel which is quite confusing seeing there is nothing oriental about it. One good thing about these country towns is that there’s always plenty of parking and we were able to pull up right across the road from the hotel. As we walked through the little gate we could see the tables were nearly all full of families and small adult groups which is always a good sign.
Lunch is available from 10am until 5pm seven days a week so the fact we were arriving at 3pm was of no issue. The menu has all the usual suspects like a club sandwich for $14.00 which seemed very good value after noticing that Lilianfels charges $28 for its club sandwich.
You order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. There were tables available inside but we saw a table out in the courtyard that was in the sunshine and even though it wasn’t a hot day, it was still warm enough to enjoy lunch outside.
We started with a drink. There are two bars and one has an extensive wine list and a few on-tap beers and the other bar has a lot of on-tap beers and a minimal wine list. You can guess where I found the blokes! I ended up ordering a drink from each bar. Carl had a Reschs for around $4.00 and I had a glass of Jim Barry Riesling for $8.50.
Club sandwiches aside, I ordered the chilli chicken burger with cheese, tomato, sweet chilli mayo and chips for $14.50 and I paid $2.00 extra for a gluten-free bun. For the price it was a great burger and gluten-free bread can be dire at the best of times but this bun was soft and not crumbly with a pleasant flavour. The chips were okay. I just would have liked them to have been a little more cooked and served with something to dip them in as on their own they were just a bit dry. And the presentation of them was a bit ho-hum.
Carl had the beef burger for $14.50 and he had no complaints.
You’re not going to find anything out of the ordinary on this menu but when traveling it’s a lovely place to stop and relax for a short while. The hotel has plenty of character. It used to provide accommodation on the second storey however the rooms are currently in a state of disrepair and so you can no longer stay overnight. It’s such a shame really as these old pubs were always good at providing well-priced rooms with that great country-escape feel.
Across the road from the pub we found, The Sweetest Thing, an ice creamery and lolly shoppe. Well Carl just felt we needed to call in there and I knew he wouldn’t leave without ordering an ice cream so he had a double scoop of Rosha which is Ferrero Rocher chocolate made into ice cream.
He sat up at the counter to enjoy it and had no complaints about this either. Meanwhile, I was looking at all the lollies I remember from my childhood yet hadn’t seen for quite a while. I ordered some aniseed balls and some double salted licorice to help me survive the journey back to Sydney.
I’ve always thought rushing back home after a weekend away is not the right thing to do; it’s far better to return home gradually and I’m very glad we stopped in Springwood for a relaxing and peaceful lunch where the main street was filled with olde world charm, and there wasn’t a fast food outlet in sight – long may it last.
The Oriental Hotel, Springwood. 112 Macquarie Road, Springwood. Ph: 4751 7788
The Sweetest Thing, Springwood. 1B Raymond Road, Springwood. Ph: 0401 227 193