Before starting out on our trip around Australia we made a list of must-do activities and things to see in the Aussie Outback. One of these was to try the famous feral tasting plates at The Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, South Australia.
My brother had recently been there and shown us photos of a plate piled high with smoked kangaroo, emu pate, salt bush/lemon myrtle aioli and crispy camel mettwurst – all traditionally bush food ingredients but cooked in a whole new way (a little fancier than the traditional ‘chuck it over the fire’ mindset).
We always kept the photo in mind and intended to visit the hotel when we got near. But after a few months on the road and a couple of weeks camping out of range around Uluru and along the Oodnadatta Track, we had completely forgotten the name of the small town where to find the hotel (I don’t think we can be blamed with a name like Parachilna and a total population of two people, it didn’t appear on many of our maps)!
Thankfully, just ater finishing the Oodnadatta Track we needed to refill our fuel tank from our jerry can – we found the closest ‘town’ and stopped there to fill up and go to the toilet. The only permanent building was a charming stone hotel built in the 1800s – we couldn’t resist checking out the inside and so, thankfully, stumbled upon the Prairie Hotel.
Once we realised where we were we instantly decided to have lunch and ordered the Feral Mixed Grill (a camel mettwurst, emu filet mignon and kangaroo steak with red wine pepper leaf jus and smashed potatoes) and some chicken strips served with lemon pepperberry aioli to share among three.
Some people get squeamish when they hear the words ‘bush tucker’ (perhaps images of wriggling bugs come to mind) but the native Australian food cooked up at the Prairie Hotel in the South Australian outback is on a whole new level.
It was rather cold outside (temperatures ranging from 4 to 16 degrees) so we decided on this hot option rather than the famous Feral Antipasto and were pleasantly surprised. The mettwurst had a crispy, caramelised skin and a rich flavour that was not gamey at all. The kangaroo, although quite rare was gobbled up by Alex and the emu filet mignon was everyone’s favourite – the smokey flavour from the bacon infused into the tender emu meat and complemented it perfectly.
After days of being out of civilisation we really enjoyed the cosy environment and eclectic furnishings – quality aboriginal artworks are displayed on all the walls and tea/coffee is served on an antique sideboard. In the bar you’ll find a vintage fridge and some handmade chutneys and quandong jams for sale along with a variety of souvenirs and local books.
The hotel also offers accommodation, catering services, a conference room and scenic flights over Lake Eyre and the Flinders Ranges.
We left feeling deliciously warm, cultured and perfectly full and look back with fondness on the Prairie Hotel in little Parachilna.