I LOVE GROUPON! They give us a chance to explore restaurants we might not normally visit, and at a fairly hefty discount, too! Sure, we’ve found a few restaurant duds along the way. All the advertising and Yelp reviews in the world can’t tell you how much *you* and your personal tastes will enjoy it. But we’ve also found some absolute GEMS! over the years, too, mostly places we probably–for one reason or another–would not have tried otherwise. We, like so many other couples, tend to get tunnelvision periodically, where we eat at the same small handful of known places … without exploring elsewhere … but Groupon has the cure for that affliction
Tonight, we dug into our Groupon barrel (where we’re constantly digging around and saying “we have to use these SOON!” … because we buy a lot of them!), choosing Kangaroo and Kiwi in Seattle’s Ballard Neighborhood for dinner. Their actual address is:
Needless to say, I’ll bet you can guess from the name what sort of cuisine we enjoyed
As you can see from the Google Map image linked above, Kangaroo and Kiwi sits inside what was once the Carnegie Free Public Library. Its a fun and funky place, and they’ve converted it to a great little pub and eatery inside, complete with the traditional “Ladies and Kids Room” off to one side–complete with books and games–where you can come and have dinner with your your kids, too. Their offerings also include a game room for the grownups, featuring pool and more, along with big screens all around featuring “footie” and more.
However, we were there for the food!
One note, just in case you don’t see the signs as you come in — Aussie and Kiwi pubs apparently don’t offer table service, so you’ll need to place your order at the bar. When we were there (on a Tuesday evening at roughly 8:30pm), the place wasn’t that busy … so the solo bartender was able to help us, quick and easy. However, by the time we left (at roughly 9:30pm) the place had started to get busy, and we could tell that her line was starting to back up rather significantly. In other words, bring your patience, and plan to wait your turn … since that’s the #1 complaint I’ve seen online about the place: rude customers who simply elbow their way past the people already waiting to place their order.
We had a $40 Groupon to spend–and their menu prices were pretty reasonable overall–so we started off the evening with a nice cocktail. They didn’t have a printed drink menu, but the bartender suggested we try something she called a “Fruit Fizz.”
I didn’t see everything she put in there, but it included blue curacao, fruit juice (probably orange), and a good splash of something alcoholic. It was pretty light and refreshing (which is what I asked for) but it wasn’t memorable enough–as you can tell–for me to be craving another one anytime soon.
When I asked about the soup of the day, the bartender stuck her head into the kitchen, then came back, saying, “It’s sort of chicken noodle-ish.” Granted, that sounded kinda iffy, but I’m always up for an adventure. Besides, how would you know if you liked ice cream unless you tried it ? So I ordered it, and this is what I got:
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t crazy about it. They’d combined cheese tortellini in a chicken broth, with a few other veggies, some cheese, and what appeared to be either spinach or “rocket”: what the Aussies/Kiwis call arugula. The overall flavor of that combo might be amazing and tasty for some people … but not me. I’m NOT a fan of cooked greens, period, and this soup was thick with it. I ate a couple of spoonfuls, but–if it’s any indication–I liked their grilled bread a lot more, and I only took two bites of that, too.
My entree was better. I ordered their “Loaded Pie” because I’m a huge fan of the Aussie/Kiwi version of “Shepard’s Pie.” In the case of Kangaroo and Kiwi, my pie consisted of a crispy-baked pie crust … almost too crispy, in fact, really hard to cut before it got completely saturated through with the gravy … with a gravy and meat filling, topped with mashed potatoes and bright green peas.
I hate to say it, but my first thought upon tasting it was … Cash & Carry. They’re the local restaurant supply store that a lot of small, local restaurants use for a big section of their foods–both raw and pre-packaged–and after almost 15 years in the Pacific Northwest, and of shopping at Cash & Carry myself, I can spot/taste their food pretty instantly. It’s not that it’s bad, per se. A lot of their food just tastes pre-packaged, which is exactly what the peas, gravy, and instant mashed potatoes tasted like in my Loaded Pie. In other words, it tasted like they’d used all instant foods to make my pie … which I could have easily done at home myself. So, it wasn’t bad … but it wasn’t really anything special either.
My husband found the real gem at Kangaroo and Kiwi! They called it their “Spicy Chook Sandwich” on their in-house menu, but–for some strange reason–that dish is not available on their delivery menu. But when he gave me a bite, I knew INSTANTLY what I wanted to order if we ever go there again!
The spicy “chook” (down-under slang for “chicken”) was a grilled breast ladled with curry sauce, onions and cheese. The chips served on the side came out of a bag–again, more pre-packaged food–but the chook was fresh-cooked and KILLER! It was almost too hot for me to eat (my stomach and spicy-hot food aren’t friends, unfortunately), but I would have loved it nonetheless! I would have just had to eat slow
So, overall, I can see where the Kangaroo and Kiwi could be a fun neighborhood place to hang out, but the food was average–with the exception of the chook, of course. That was definitely worth the price of admission, and it was enough that we decided that–if we found ourselves back in that neighborhood looking for food at some point in the future–i’d love to have the chook next time, and my cute hubby said there were other things on the menu he’d probably enjoy more.
Overall rating: C+