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Restaurant Critic #3 – The Ponsonby Belgium Beer Cafe

The Ponsonby Belgium Beer Cafe was the venue for the big night out, MrsPdubyah and me, and another couple decided to have a bit of a thing, Not withstanding that we had some bar vouchers that would help us enjoy ourselves. Which meant as our start point anything over  $150 and we were paying our own money on the night.

The Ponsonby Belgium Beer Cafe is an awesome place, the staff are brilliant, the beer list is unmatched, and the atmosphere and ambience is second to none. It’s just a nice place to be, drink and to go to.

On the other side it’s on the expensive end of the drinking value scale.

The pub is such a nice place to be in, but where we were sat it was very cold, but I can gloss over that the dining room was set aside for a private function and that we were sat by the front door, so no marks down for that.

The bar is a wonder to behold, every beer in it’s own glass, and I’ve yet to order a beer that that’s not available. It really does have a high standard of customer satisfaction.

And the staff, well they are brilliant, attentive, courteous, polite, knowledgeable and they make you feel like you are the most important people in the bar.

But…. and there is always a but

It isn’t a cheap night out, and the food is good but not great, outstanding, demanding or different, it’s good pub grub indifferently delivered. Pulling my head in it does show as a Cafe not a restaurant, and the beer is the thing that is it’s thing.

Oh and it was busy, very busy, constantly busy, but not crowded. It is popular.

The big night out then, and we had from their menu for food as Entree:-

  • The Seafood Chowder $15 – possibly the star of the night, served in a loaf that had been scooped out, awesomeness, plenty of the seafood and an amazing thing of beauty
  • The bread and the dips $11.00 – it was bread and dips, I sulked at such a poor choice
  • The House Smoked Salmon $15.00 – the ladies shared this, and some of the bread and dips, it’s very rich and very filling – best value for money.

and as  main:-

  • Thai Beef Salad from the light menu $17.00 – also a best value for money selection, soft and tender beer and a hearty serving, looked good, ate great.
  • Shepherd’s Pie $ 23 – looked like it sounds, nothing to write home about, but was a bit good apparently
  • Belgium Sausage $19 – disappointing based on the expectation of something more textured than a spiced sausage, hardly a thing of joy or excitement if this is a Flemish staple
  • Fish and Chips $25.00 – it looked great and there wasn’t much left

So that was $41 + $81 = $122 of food

And for beer and wine (Boys night out of course… payback comes later…)

  • The Ned Sauvignon blanc – Standard glass of Wine – $10  x 4
  • Leffe Brun – 500ml $ 14.00 x 3
  • Leffe Blonde – 500ml $14 x 1
  • Popperings HommelBeir 330ml $15.00 – this was very yeasty to aroma, but aside from that not as spectacular a choice as some, it was new to me, but not a thing that I’d rush back to, but then there are about a bazillion beers to choose from and so that’s not going to be a problem.
  • Grottenbeir Brune 330ml $15.50

and that means the addition of  $126.50 in beer and wine

Not going to quibble the $251 bill from the bar.

It was a atop night out for the $100 dollars we really had to pay, but if it’d been $250 I’d have wondered why we had chosen that venue as a way to celebrate something.

I’d take you there for the experience, wince at the cost of doing so, but talk about it for many years with deep affection and love. If you ever get the change to go, and someone else is paying, or you’re showing off to a new girlfriend or boyfriend this might be for you.

As a celebration of taste opportunity of beer it’s a winner, as pub grub it’s great. As a premium priced beer venue attached to pub grub it falls into a strange place where you’ve had this fabulous drinking thing going on (if you’re a beer drinker an are prepared to experiment) and where your drink is in a different league to the food. They don’t match, there doesn’t appear to be a logical step from the huge beer selection to the food on offer.

The food on offer does not appear to have anything that would make you empathise or connect to Belgium as a place, there is no back story or reason that item “A” would be on the menu that I could discern.

I’m going back though there is about a bazillion beers less the 3 or 4 that I’ve had to get through, and I won’t rest until that happens 🙂


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This entry was posted on November 3, 2012 by in All about me, Beer, Critic, Food, Friends, Justsaying and tagged , , , , , .

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