Eschewing Ormondville toasted sandwiches was one thing, coming up with an alternative was another. We were hungry! We fancied somewhere untried, somewhere with food, lots of it, and not too far away. Our stomachs rumbled as we drove south.
If there’s a debate to be had whether Mangatera ( the hotel is at the northern end of Dannevirke’s main strip) meets our criteria it didn’t take place that afternoon. And if our attire had not met the proprietor’s approval, the matter would have been dealt to, promptly, without argument.
There was plenty of conviviality in the public bar – we could hear it!
The dining room had plenty of sparkling glass displayed on crisp, white linen cloths. One other group was present and they were enjoying themselves, in a quiet way. There may have been others earlier.
Our table looked out into the yard of the hotel – we missed the paddocks of more countryish pubs.
We all fancied the special of the day, stuffed portabello mushrooms. We each anticipated their earthy flavour enhanced by the subtle combination of ingredients and the careful application of heat from a grill.
Four sets of eyebrows went up when these deep fried delights arrived. Some of us added extra salads to that pile. Each and every one of us scoffed the lot.
We have no-one to blame but ourselves for what happened next. The chef was keen to get home. We might have taken the hint and said: no, thanks, we are, in fact, replete. We might have observed that those four previously rumbling stomachs were now quiet. But this was a birthday. We had driven a long way, waited a long time for our pub lunch. When he-who-is-now-one-year-older placed his order the rest of us joined him and two chocolate brownies, with ice-cream, cream, and raspberry coulis, one mars bar cheesecake (yes, you read it correctly), and one slightly more restrained fried banana were delivered to our table by our patient chef. Any notions of sample, share, discuss were forgotten. As for photos – they weren’t remembered until our desserts had been demolished.
How did we rate our likely return?
Keen as (You bet!)
Good idea (Next time, we’ll allow sufficient time for a drink in the public bar. They were having a party in there!)
Could be talked in to it
Not if I’m paying
As for the drive home, there was a lot of groaning; the sort of groaning that occurs when digestive juices threaten to rise up in revolt at the pain and discomfort inflicted by eyes that are much, much bigger than stomachs.
You can find Mangatera Hotel on Facebook
An interesting fact: in the early days Mr Jensen, from Denmark, owned The Crown, in Norsewood, and then the Mangatera Hotel.
Categories: Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa