Lunch is always a big deal, and whenever I am at home for any period of time (i.e as I was for two weeks over Christmas) we go out to lunch nearly every day, or someone (usually me when Dad is at work) spends time making an elaborate feast on which the whole family can munch, sometimes accompanied by wine, often with lots of friends added, but always with lots of great food and laughter. For the times we are sick of cooking- we venture out!
Gunnedah isn't known for the range of places to eat out, but there are a couple of diamonds in the rough. A current family favourite is "The Stuffed Olive" which is based at The Courthouse Hotel. The food is pub food, but it is pretty damn good pub food- always really fresh and tasty, and they really have a great menu for the crowd.
We are regulars and I have tried most things on the menu. Fy favourite is, without a doubt, the crumbed lamb cutlets. They are absolutely everything I wish for in a lamb cutlet. Huge, crumbed with a nice hint of fat on the bone. I don't even really like crumbed lamb cutlets but someone these leave me wanting more even though I am physically not able to consume another morsel. I really never eat absolutely everything on my plate, but this is an exception. The crumbing is the perfect texture without being oily, the red wine gravy is rich, the mash is creamy and cloudlike and the vegetables are al dente. My perfect winter comfort food/ hearty meal that I sometimes also eat in summer when I can't resist. Pretty decent for about $14 which includes three HUGE cutlets.
My second favourite is the mexican wrap ($9ish) which is basically like a burrito but I am also quite fond of the steak. Dad usually has a steak $15-20ish) with mustard, no chips (because his three daughters like to remind him frequently of the dangers of fried food!) and salad. In this instance, the steak was cooked/ barely cooked, but done the way Dad likes. The salad is pretty standard side salad.
On this occasion, I was kicking myself because I didn't order the cutlets, when my barramundi ($17 i think) arrived. It was moist and tender, and well cooked too. A great dish for when you feel like something light and summery but doesn't compare to the kaboom of a dish that the lamb cutlets are.
There are plenty of other options on the menu including Thai beef salad (make sure you ask them to go easy on the dressing), salt and pepper calamari, a variety of wraps and many standard issue pub fare items like lasagne. One of the specialties is the dipping bread with garlic and herbs which is one little bowl filled with potent garlicky, buttery goodness.
Stuffed Olive do have a special night, and you can order ribs and steaks for cheap, but if you want to try out the full menu make sure you don't turn up on the Wednesday night.
If you are ever driving through, or going to Porchetta Day, or coming to visit Gunnedah, or even if you feel like a good hearty pub meal and want to drive 9 hours to get it, I would say it's definitely worth popping into the Stuffed Olive.
The Stuffed Olive