My family arranged to eat dinner on Sunday at The Kingston Hotel (Richmond) after my dad won a $50 voucher from triple M. When we arrived we were told that the restaurant (which is down a small flight of stairs) is usually closed on Sundays, but meals can still be served in the bar area and in the small dining area in the next room; we would just have to order everything at the bar. My dad and I had visited The Kingston earlier last week while passing by and enquired about gluten free dishes, I was happy to be met with a confident answer and to be given an extensive gluten free menu. I asked the barman for the gluten free menu once again but was told that he wasn’t able to find it earlier, though he’ll have a look for it again. He suggested which meals should be safest, which is a sure fire way to make a coeliac sufferers’ eating confidence plummet. It’s pretty simple to point out meals without noticeable flour and crumbing, but what about the sauces and seasonings? My mum and I wandered off to have a look at the restaurant area we were missing out on, and were astonished to see how similar it was to the dining area in a resort we stayed at in Thailand (only 10 times smaller). We returned to the table to be told that two of the chefs suffer from coeliac disease, so I should have nothing to be hesitant about. The chefs had marked an ordinary menu with what was gluten free and what wasn’t. My mood was instantly uplifted… though I kept glancing at the nearby fireplace wishing for it to be lit – it was freezing inside!
I ordered the grilled chicken salad with mango, cashews and snow peas in honey mustard sauce($18). Three pieces of chicken about 3oz each were served on a bed of fresh spinach and snow peas. I couldn’t help but think in a salad the chicken should have been sliced and tossed throughout. The chicken was certainly grilled, making the outer layer crispy and was grilled in a hint of butter. The spinach leaves were still attached to the stems and sprouts, making it quite awkward and difficult to eat with a fork. I resorted to cutting up the salad into fork bite size bits. Everything had an adequate dressing of the honey mustard, which was light, instead of creamy and thick. The mango was exceptionally fresh and tasty and the cashews were a very nice touch.
However nothing really came together, it was merely each ingredient on its own in the sauce – if you wanted the flavour of each ingredient you’d need to cut and fork every bit to have each flavour in one mouthful.
Two servings of chicken parmigiana($19) were ordered at our table, the chicken was huge with a good serving of sauce and gooey, melted cheese. Obviously, I can’t comment on the taste. The prices can be a little up there for a pub/hotel, but the $50 voucher took care of half of that. My meal was very nice, but I wouldn’t regularly eat at The Kingston, although the resort-like restaurant and beer garden seem to be calling my name…