Eating Out – Palmer Hotel
Country Cooking at its Best
Nestled in the foothills between Mannum and Birdwood, Palmer is home to a renowned primary school, renovated general store, and a rock that apparently resembles a bear. The main reason to stop, however, is the classic country pub on the corner of the direct road from Murray Bridge.
Built over 150 years ago, the delightful Palmer
Hotel is still pint-sized inside, and features an
extended bar (with, disappointingly, only four beers on tap). Locals congregate for meat-tray raffles, schnitzel nights (Thursdays), and outdoor movies, while out-of-towners are attracted by the beer garden larger than the building itself; regular live music, including an open mic each month; and some of the finest food in the region. And the owners proudly boast an absence of poker machines.
Choices include the usual pub grub, with schnitzels that hang off the plate, as well as more interesting options like ‘pork and whisky sausages with apple bourbon sauce and mash’ and ‘risotto with roasted beetroot, feta, and candied walnuts’. The regularly-changing menu also lists a better-than-expected array of desserts and entrees, and great-value kids’ meals including an ice-cream and drink.
Seafood Sunday is particularly popular and worth booking ahead for, while the enticing $14 lunchtime specials (Tuesday to Saturday) include fish, burgers, and delicious spinach and ricotta ravioli, but I chose the Moroccan chicken. The slice of meat was exquisitely spiced, albeit small, and the selection and presentation of vegetables considerably more impressive than anticipated at such a diminutive rural eatery.
Meals are best enjoyed in the garden dominated by two massive Morton Bay Fig trees. Under these are a fire pit, lawn sizeable enough for kids to run around, and friendly greyhound – but the outdoor furniture needs an update.
With the weather now improving, the Palmer Hotel is certainly worth a visit. Their Facebook page is frequently updated with the latest menus and upcoming events. Open daily except Mondays, and evening meals not available Sundays and Tuesdays.