The Grill, The Stirling Hotel - The finest grill in town.

The Grill, The Stirling Hotel - 52 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling

Before I begin, I should let you know that the Stirling Hotel is affiliated with the hospitality group I work for; however, I am not contracted to or employed by the owners of the Stirling Hotel. As with all my reviews, my relationship with the Stirling Hotel has not influenced my review.

We were joining five mates at the Stirling for a Friday night dinner and I thought it best to email ahead to book our table in The Grill and ask if the chefs could cater my vegan meal. All systems were go and I was strangely pumped about dining at The Grill - it'd been three or four years since the last time I dined there.

After pre-dinner drinks, the normal chatter from seven people who rarely catch up, we were straight into ordering. Our wait staff let me know the chefs had catered a vegan degustation a few weeks ago and were well versed in what I can eat - relief!

There's a few ways of dining at The Grill; a six course degustation ($80), two courses ($55) or three courses ($70). The two and three course options are chosen from the a la carte menu and served with side dishes, the degustation is the selection of The Grill's most popular menu items (accompanying wines are charged separately). We all opted for the two course option, some had entree and main, some had main and dessert.

Confident the chef knew how to prepare a vegan entree and main, I threw the decision making over to him for both my entree and main. Before our entree was served, spoons of apple and pear crumble were brought to the table and one special pear crumble for me. Not too sweet, this was a great palate opener and all seven of us were thankful of the gesture and enjoyed the crumble.

The Grill, Stirling Hotel - Stirling - Pear crumble
Vegan pear crumble
After the crumble, we were served freshly baked bread. We knew it was freshly baked because our wait staff apologised for the wait on delivering it because it was cooling after being baked - I totally forgot the Stirling Hotel has a patisserie onsite.

My entree of roasted baby vegetables arrived and I was stoked to see baby fennel on top of my baby carrots (also on a bed of crispy kale). I felt like a giant in the Land of the Giants with my big fork holding each vegetable while I cut it up with my big knife. As expected, the vegetables were sweet and full of flavour, the spices and salt they were roasted with brought out big flavours - thankfully, they were drenched in oil.

The Grill, Stirling Hotel - Stirling - Baby roasted vegetables
Baby roasted vegetables
With just enough time to let my entree settle, my main was served. When I was explained what it was, I was all "those flavours don't work together, what the eff are you thinking, chef?" and I was ready to be disappointed. But let me tell you, spiced potato and quinoa salad with fragrant flowers is the bomb! The spice dusting on the potatoes wasn't overpowering at all and balanced the flavours of the flowers really well. If I had to pick on anything, the quinoa was slightly over cooked and didn't pop in my mouth when I ate it but the other items in the salad were crisp and added much needed texture to the dish.

The Grill, Stirling Hotel - Stirling - Quinoa salad
Quinoa salad with spice dusted potatoes
Inside, The Grill reminds me of a ski chalet and luckily, the original charm of the building hasn't been lost in the renovation. The addition of luxurious seating, white table linen and a wall of wine fridges is on par with the feature lighting and matching decor. All of this is amplified by excellent service in a friendly but not familiar style we've come to expect in the Adelaide Hills.

Ambiance - 4.5/5: A feeling of luxury but I'm not a fan of banquet seating 
Service - 4.5/5: Genuinely friendly, the staff are knowledgable and kept a rapport with us all evening
Food: 8/10: My vegan meal was excellent - hopefully a vegan menu will be added soon.

In total, Tom gives The Grill 17/20 chops on The Chopping Board.

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