Kim Knight’s review in Canvas, 9 Feb 2019, contained several errors, so I thought it would be nice to set the record straight.
We have been to the Tavern twice now, once for casual drinks and a snack and once for brunch. It is fairly standard pub fare, but the food is mostly pretty good and the hit job Knight is trying to pull on the kitchen is not deserved.
Where the problems lie is in the front of house experience. Like a lot of outlets in this Morningside precinct, the tavern is relying on foreign, mostly white people on the travels who apparently lack hospitality experience, or who were sick on the day they did the customer care training. Things take a while to get to the tables – like cloths and trays for cleaning up after previous guests, or water, which is an essential out in the front garden, as it is a north facing death trap and this has been one heck of a summer.
The wine list is ok – pretty good, in fact, though I am not sure of the wisdom of offering pours in small, standard, or super sized (does Homer Simpson like fine wine?) Though the wine is priced to the max – you will get better value wine by the glass at Soul Bar (with actual service, too.)*
And the changing beers on tap is a neat idea too. Basically, major brands are represented, Lion and DB (not sure how they managed both, but good for them) with guest taps, including Goose IPA when we first visited. Goose IPA sponsor my favourite podcast, Sound Opinions, and comes all the way from Chicago, so of course we had to have that, even though it was pricey. Problem though, this keg had seen better days and I cannot remember a more oxidised tap beer in my short craft beer life.
The fries come in either regular (pricey) and super sized, except they seem like they have been sitting around for a while, they definitely come out of a packet, probably the same kind that you get from Countdown and serve mainly as a sponge for the alcohol, rather than an appetising food.
But the fries are the weak link here – the rest of the food is pretty good, sorry Kim.
Her complaint that the burgers are too large is nonsense. These burgers are the same size as those served at Galbraiths, the Dominion, Doolan’s, in other words, all their similar compatriots. Yes, a brioche bun, but so what. I do not normally like cheese on my burger, nor is bacon really necessary, but both worked really well, and I was hungry. This was an excellent way to brunch, well done.
As for the eggplant parma, it is NOT over cheesed, far from it. Knight has got this dish all wrong too. The onion in the accompanying Greek salad is NOT raw, it has been blanched. Yes, there is lots of onion, but this is pretty moreish stuff. Sure could have used feta, but this is a really good main.
Do not believe everything you read in the papers, I guess.