It was absolutely pouring with rain, but that didn't stop us from going out to eat. Panacea is located on Halifax Street, with parking spaces right in front of the restaurant or in fact all along Halifax Street. We had the Festival of Food voucher, we had to book beforehand of course.
As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we could smell the food. In fact it was rather smokey. I wasn't sure if the exhaust fan was working or not, the restaurant was full house. We were welcomed by a friendly girl who kindly showed us to our table. The restaurant was not very big inside as there was a fish tank at the back and a big tree in the middle which branched out to the roof of the restaurant.
The specials were written on the chalkboards around the restaurant which made it very easy to read. There were a few pictures on the side wall which were quite interesting. They explained the history of certain countries. I cannot not mention the lights that were above our heads. Lucky there was no wind inside, otherwise I could imagine all he dust flying everywhere. We looked up above and saw the big chunks of dust stuck on the straws around the lamps. They surely needed some cleaning.
It was an opened kitchen, and it seemed like there were only two chefs on the night. You could see how the chef cooks if you wanted to. This was when we first arrived into the restaurant, when there was no chef standing at the kitchen. Not long after that, the two chefs were there and every time we looked to see, there were plates of food lined up waiting to be taken to tables. However there was no staff to do so. The food just sat there waiting to get cold.
There were only two waitresses on the floor, and the restaurant was pretty much full house. You could imagine how long before we were served by someone. We had to ask the girl to come over, she gave us the Festival of Food menu and drinks menu. The menu hasn't changed a lot. In fact I remember coming here almost a year ago and what I had on the menu a year ago was still there. Again, it was a long time before she came to take our orders.
I am always a big fan with Sangria, however the Panacea Sangria was a little disappointing, it had a very sweet taste and I could taste cordial more than anything. Let's just say I have had better Sangria else where.
It was a very long time before the entrees were brought to our table. Finally it came on a chopping board. We were starving by then and so gobbled down the entrees quickly. The best one out of all of them would be the croquettas as they were pretty tasty. The other entrees were a little ordinary.
Tasty lamb skewers!!
I loved the thick cut chips with the steak. It was thick slices of potatoes, but went well with the steak. When we ordered the steak to be medium rare, it came out medium. The herb butter was very rich, ate a little bit and you could be full already.
I would always order duck if it's on the menu. Duck confit was my choice for the night, there were plenty of colours on the dish, so the presentation was great. It looked very appertising. The duck smelt very good, the skin was crispy. However I was a little disappointed with the taste of the duck. In fact, I didn't think it was salty enough. The panna cotta was very cold to eat with the duck. It would have been perfect for me if the duck had more taste.
One dish did stand out on the night, it was the lamb skewers. The dish didn't look clean. in fact it looked very messy and was missing some bright colours. However it was delicious to eat. The lamb was marinated so well, and it was so tender, together with the lentils, almonds and everything else, the dish was extremely pleasant to eat.
By the time we finished our main course, there were not very many people left in the restaurant. It still took a long time before someone took our orders for desserts. We couldn't be bothered waiting for another hour for dessert, so we asked for the in house dessert which came with the festival of food. Even that took a long time for four mini churros, the dipping chocolate sauce wasn't that exciting either.
It would be a lot more better if the tables were spaced out a little bit more, perhaps more waiters to improve service efficiency. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I would dine there again.
Festival of Food 2013 Voucher, for $29.50 on Monday to Thursday Lunch or Dinner, entitles you to have: - A set entree - A main course up to the value of $31.50. For the mains above $31.50, just pay the extra price difference. - Choose any side dish from the alacarte menu for $10.00 each. - Choose any dessert @$12.00 each.