West Oak Hotel - Welcoming a new menu to the west end

West Oak Hotel - 208 Hindley St, Adelaide SA 5000

With spring weather and relaxed restrictions seeing us emerge out of the house and into sunlit afternoons with friends, I found I’ve been on the lookout for good warm-weather venues. One of the things I (Dani) missed most during lock down were those casual pub catch-ups with friends, where a pint of good beer and a solid schnitzel would see happy conversations meandering into the evening. One establishment I hadn’t ventured to in a while was the West Oak Hotel on Hindley Street. 

Selection of dishes from the new West Oak Hotel menu

It’s been a few years now since the West Oak had the face lift which transformed it from the slightly shabby Worldsend Hotel into a modern, stylish pub, which still retained enough heritage aspects of its original architecture to maintain a quaint character. Its contemporary flourishes of style are tempered by the venue’s worn floorboards and mismatched vintage wall art, creating a warm, approachable space, which is welcoming for both book-weary students and those escaping CBD offices looking for an after-work drink and meal. 

The large venue offers a range of spaces to choose from, such as a spacious bar area, reasonably-intimate dining room and large outdoor beer garden. I’ve dropped past a few times for casual bar-side dinners and quiz nights in their beer garden, but as the evening was still reasonably chill on the night we visited we sat at a table in the gas fire warmed dining area. 

House made Dorito crumbed chicken schnitzel $22 

The West Oak have recently revised their menu and one of the first things that caught my eye was the rather unique Dorito crumbed chicken schnitzel. The house made schnitzel arrived at our table in all its impressively-sized (for perspective, the plate was twice the size of a standard dinner plate), nacho cheese- covered glory and was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The coating itself was extra crunchy, with the tender chicken breast inside of a decent thickness and quality. The Doritos flavour itself was quite strong, bringing back nostalgic recollections of large bowls of chips at house parties and sleepovers. 

The sides were kept to the classics of a garden salad and a pile of golden fries. You can also choose a flavour gravy from the usual selection (i.e. pepper, Diane, plain etc.) and though it went well with the chips, I wasn’t too sure about the combination of gravy and Dorito. I think next visit I will take the option of making the schnitzel a parmi ($4 extra), as the tomato and cheese would have been a better match. Even without a sauce, this was still one of the best schnitzels I’ve tried in Adelaide. 

Bang bang sticky chicken wings $9

I’m admittedly not a massive chicken wing fan, but as they are a favourite for my dining companion we got a dish to share, and I’m very glad we did. These spicy fried chicken wings had a perfect crunch even with a thick coating of the house made hot and tangy chilli sauce. They were covered in an ultra-crisp, yet light and airy, tempura style batter and I much preferred it to the usual heavier batter used on wings. The fresh lime gave the dish a nice zesty element, which helped balance out the oils and the chicken flesh practically fell off the bones it was so tender. 

Poutine $11

Poutine - a heavenly trifecta of chips, cheese and gravy. This wonderful and delicious concoction is a quintessential Canadian dish and I was very excited to see it on the menu. Though what arrived at the table was still delicious, I must admit I was a little disappointed that the ‘cheese’ element of the dish was a goat cheese sauce, rather than the classic curds of cheese which are usually used in the dish. The result was still satisfyingly indulgent, but I think I prefer the classic version as the combination of both the thick sauce and gravy made the dish a little soggy after a while.

 
Classic beef Reuben sando $19

Keeping with cultural classics, the West Oak’s Reuben Sando is served to us on a potato chip strewn board in all its meaty glory. Packed full of warm, fall-apart corned beef, melting Swiss cheese, sweet Russian sauce and tart sauerkraut. Despite its lavish fillings there is no sogginess to the sandwich, with the rye bread grilled to a toasted crunch. 

Mediterranean style grilled salmon, spiced pearl couscous, fennel & apple slaw $28

A special on the evening but apparently soon to be a feature on the menu, the crispy skinned salmon fillet was served on a bed of pearl couscous flavoured with Mediterranean spices and with a side apple and fennel slaw. The decent sized portion salmon was well cooked and the couscous was still textural under its light, shiny coating of sun dried tomato infused olive oil. The slaw was finely sliced and dressed in a dill-infused mayo which worked well against the richness of the fish. 

If you’re in the West End and looking for a venue that hits that perfect balance between upper class and chill where you can get a quality meal and a pint without blowing your budget then the West Oak is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed their new menu’s range and quality and look forward to returning to relax in their summer-friendly beer garden.



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