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White Dove

November 27, 2012

1 Saltfleet Street
Port Noarlunga SA 5167
(08) 8382 1251
Open for Lunch Sat-Sun and Dinner everyday except Tuesday
(Bring your Entertainment Book voucher or Law Society card!)

This is it! Over two long years in the making and it comes to a well deserved rest. We’ve had our ups and downs and I’ve even upgraded my phone twice since starting this epic journey to take my food photos! The White Dove has been a Port Noarlunga icon way back since at least the early 80’s and has been a popular place for all beach and non-beach lovers. This is the final scoring review, so let’s hope it’s worth the two-year wait!

Final Score: 2.625/10
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Chilli Prawns

First of all, thanks to everyone who have come with me on this journey so far, both in person and those who have electronically followed my (hopefully) entertaining amateur type-ups. By the time we finish with the upcoming ‘Grand Finale’ (where we visit the overall winning restaurant for one last hoo-rah!) I would have organised 47 dinner bookings with over 50 unique guests attending over the period!

Anyway … back to the review. The White Dove has been in good hands since it opened as a friend (who is a chef at a cafe down there) tells me. This place was once run by a Thai-Chinese couple for many years, until handing it over to their children (or at least one of them). From what I’ve heard it used to be fabulous, but now not so much … and as soon as you approach the place you can kind of tell things have slipped a bit. The once inviting outdoor wooden tables are now weathered by the harsh beach conditions and the surrounding untidy garden areas. The interior is, at a glance, not so bad when entering into the dining area, however we noticed that underneath the paper “table cloths” are what appeared to be lightly soiled cotton linen. As we entered, there was dead silence … not another patron in sight, and for a Friday night with plenty of people eating at the Surf-club cafe across the road, it made me a little uneasy (or maybe that was my stomach). This place was reminds me of either a house or small motel from decades ago that hasn’t been much looked after. If you decide to try this place out, the visual state of the toilets just sums it all up. This is also the first place to serve us napkins of a quality worse than McDonald’s … the thinnest most “use-once-only” napkins I’ve ever seen.

So usually with your local Asian restaurant, if one thing is bad then something else must be really good such as fabulous food or at least offering basement-bottom prices. Service here was OK however the waitress was very young and seemed like she was a little new at this. Ordering food was not a problem but after some coaxing (and much giggling) I had to just get the Chef to surprise me with a “best dish” for me to review, but good efforts in trying I guess. My only gripe (and it’s a big one) is with the manager/owner … who was loudly coughing and spluttering whilst wearing a grubby unclean outfit. I even caught her coughing on someone’s takeaway … geez Louise, standards much? Whilst writing this review I decided to jump onto some other reviews people had written and lo and behold, someone reported the exact same dilemmas … let’s hope the food is 100% magical (and hygienic).

So, I like chilli (it’s like a party in your mouth!) and prawns are pretty awesome, so put them together and you usually get something combining a metaphorical house and fire. I guess I have to give it to the owner for the heads-up who told me after serving me this dish that the chilli hotness was “hotness for Australians” and giving me an option to make it hotter (I assume that, since I already had the dish, means that I could ask for additional chilli). Kind of funny in that humorous sense of “we’re both Asian, so let’s joke about white people not being able to eat hot food”, but honestly there was no chilli in here at all … the green curry was much hotter than this. It was just a stir fry with vegetables and prawns. Medium serving size, variety of vegetables as to be expected in a stir fry, flavours were OK ( however dominated by something like oyster sauce) and prawns cooked pretty well. Best dish? Maybe they thought I said “what’s your safest dish?”.

Unfortunately for me, it’s not only the final review I’m scoring but also a bit of a downer. I actually didn’t have too high hopes as I vaguely remember something about failing a food inspection check or something similar, and upon some crafty searching I found a publication from 2009 by the Office of Liquor and Gambling Commissioner that “the licensee of the White Dove Restaurant allowed the premises to remain in a poorly maintained condition, despite repeated warnings from an OLGC inspector” … need I say more. As always, I just tell it how it is, kinda like Clarke Kent (if he spent any time actually being a reporter) and I hope you’ve had a much better experience than me but judging from tonight’s saga … well, I think you get the picture already.

Thanks again to all you followers out there … Stay tuned for the Grand Finale!

  • Service [2.0/10] : Points for good efforts from the friendly waitress, but minuses for unclean appearance and lack of hygiene respect from the manager… bleh.
  • Quality [6.0/10] : Ho-hum stir fry yet again… prawns well cooked though.
  • Venue [1.5/10] : I think fish & chips on the beach would have beat this venue on a night like this.
  • Value [1.0/10] : What the …over $30 with rice at a place like this. Poor wallet, I feel your pain…

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