WHEN thinking of a place for a good meal, a pub is not what usually comes to mind, but Castle Hill Tavern's diverse menu will definitely make you change your mind.
Head chef Julius Fajarsono has put his own spin on a menu that will get anybody's taste buds buzzing.
He says it's the challenge of creating different dishes and the smiles they put on customers faces that really motivates him.
"I like it a lot, that's why I've been here for seven years," he said.
My dining partner and I were spoilt with four delicious dishes, first entrees.
The Thai beef salad ($18) was something I had never tried before but will now have again.
The well-seasoned beef strips lay beautifully on a bed of homemade salad.
We were then presented with a dish of salt and pepper calamari served with chunky-cut chips and a tartar sauce made by Fajarsono.
The calamari ($16) was lightly fried and not oily at all.
Next up was the mains.
First the herb crusted salmon fillet.
I am usually the first to say, "no thanks" to salmon, but this experience has changed me forever.
Served with slices of potato and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, the salmon ($25) was cooked to perfection. And then just when I thought I couldn't fit in anything else, along came the rib-eye steak topped with creamy garlic prawns ($29.90). I was in heaven.
The rib-eye steak is the tavern's new special dish but for a limited time.
The bistro's weekly specials include Monday's $12 steak night and Tuesday's $12 schnitzel night. Wednesday's pub favourite meals are $11 all day.
Tavern assistant manager Johanna Futcher said the most popular item on the menu is the chicken schnitzel; so popular they have seven schnitzel dishes on the menu.
Reporter Michel'le Donnelly and photographer Mike Sea ate courtesy of the Castle Hill Tavern.
¦Castle Hill Tavern
25 Victoria Avenue, Castle Hill
Open seven days a week, 11am-9pm