Last week, Dad and I ventured out to Nelson, which is just over an hour away, to do some shopping, and we decided on going to the Hume Hotel's General Store Restaurant for lunch. We went a few months ago, but they were in the midst of renovating their kitchen and all that was on offer was a buffet, which was OK (did make a curry pasta dish based on something I had there, posted about here), but I wanted to try out their regular menu.
The Hume Hotel is a very old building with a lot of history. As you can see from the picture, the building has gone through a lot of change when you look at its current form pictured on the web site. My family has been eating hear for many a year, and when I was very young we took relatives visiting from the UK there for dinner. I distinctly remember having the French onion soup - and thinking it was the most glorious thing that had ever passed over my five-year-old tongue. It was so rich, and I found out later that it was made with beer. On one sad occasion, I sat with my family during the lunch break of my parents' divorce trial that was going on in the courthouse across the street. I have no recollection of what I ate at that time.
On our most recent visit to The General Store Restaurant, located on the main floor of the hotel, upon being seated, my dad said to the waitress, "Is the French onion soup as good as the one you served 20 years ago?" The waitress was probably 20-ish, and said she couldn't really compare the soups, but said that the current incarnation was very good, and the menu said that it was made with sherry. Dad was delighted to see that they had a nice salad bar, so he didn't even really look at the menu. I had a tougher choice because the menu, though not overly imaginative, looked really good: burgers, sandwiches, pastas, fish & chips, etc. In the end, I opted for my old standby: the Clubhouse. The soup of the day was roasted garlic, potato and dill, which really appealed to me, so I had that.
My Club was excellent, and I was surprised to see it served the old-fashioned way, cut up into quarters; no one does that anymore - at least where I've had Club's recently. I guess it's not in vogue anymore. My Club also had real roast turkey on it, which was another pleasant surprise. The soup was excellent, and I may try to emulate it here at home. When Dad's soup came, it smelled so good, and he said it tasted really good, too. It wasn't quite the French onion of old, but it was still excellent.
They have a wonderful dessert menu, and the pie special for the day was huckleberry, but both Dad and I were full so we left it at that. My meal was $9.99. Dad's salad bar was $8.99 and normally comes with the soup of the day, but they substituted the French onion soup for $3.00. I thought it was a great lunch, and I'd definitely like to make this a regular haunt for future Nelson trips.