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Well, I was going to start my reviews with some charming small artisan bakery or perhaps a darling little winery tucked away in a hidden valley, but then my husband sent me a text yesterday at 5pm (death zone for parents) suggesting we blow our savings on a meal out and well, frankly once I’d taken a look in the fridge (barren) and a look at the children (fighting) I swiftly brushed my hair, slapped on some lippy (Magenta Moon from Three Birds, Stirling – the world single best lipstick, but I digress), shouted a lot jollied the children into putting their socks and shoes back on and we were off. Shooting up the road at approx 90ks (joking traffic police) to get to the Stirling Hotel.

Now I love the Stirling Hotel, it’s a great big monster of a pub, but it does great food, it’s reasonably child friendly, and well, frankly it serves wine. Oh and beer. Which makes it some kind of paradise for a tired, lazy parent on a midweek evening.

As I dashed in trailing children clutching Scooby Doo cards and a tattered copy of the BFG (see it’s not that kid friendly – you do have to bring your own fun), I was cheered and heartened to see two other school mums downing Shiraz as if their lives depended on it whilst their children lunged greedily at plates of Schnitzel and chips.

My dining companions and I decided to try the new Pizza Bar – see blurry picture above. It’s a recent addition to the Stirling Hotel, and I’ve been mad keen to try it for what seems like ages but is actually probably only about a week. Our trusty, adventurous offspring spurned the Duck Ham and lardons pizzas and chose an old favourite chicken nuggets and chips which arrived to their horror with a garnish of green leaves artfully tossed in a frankly mad vinaigrette (Vinaigrette! Has the chef met any children?). The little champions successfully managed to eat everything with zero nutritional value and left the leaves lying limply on the edge of their plates.

Being actual grown ups and having long grown out of nursery food husband and I swiftly chose the Thrice cooked belly of pork pizza and the Mushroom and Truffle pizza (not sure they were the exact ingredients but I had had a glass of wine by this point). The place was heaving and our meals did take a while to arrive but once they did we seized upon them like our crazed Beagle seizing on the Christmas Ham (true story). They were utterly delicious, the bases thin and crispy and a bit puffy round the edges, the toppings were scrumptious, the mushrooms nice and mushroomy and garlicky the pork, um, porky. I was well down my second glass of Reisling by this point and to be honest had ceased to be very attentive.

Here’s a picture in case you’ve forgotten what pizza looks likeĀ  . . .

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The bill came to about $100 for the four of us, so it’s not a cheap eat, but it is good and I do love the Stirling, it’s a big buzzy pub and according to the children do the “best chips mummeee”. One teeny weeny criticism would be that at busy times it would be great if they had more than one person at the counter so you could order before your clothes went out of style – ooh ooh, on that note, I saw two women wearing those Olivia Newton John in Grease shiney black pants (trousers for my English readers). TWO! One would be remarkable but TWO!

Happy days.

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