Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Treats - Tawonga South

Treats on Urbanspoon

Atmosphere: ****/5
Food: ***/5
Drinks: **/5
Service: **/5

Being impressed with our dinner at Stockpot on the Kiewa Valley Highway the night before, we decided to make our morning walk back towards the restaurant.  Stockpot was closed, however we made our way across the road to the aptly named Bogong Ski Hire and Treats cafe.

A bit of a hidden gem we originally planned to pop our head in and move on to another bruch venue as the exterior is deceiving with the ski hire dominating the view from the highway, we were pleasantly surprised with their windowed counter showing fresh salads, frittata's wraps, focaccia's and breakfast options.

As we had a wedding that day and we did not want to waste the walk I decided to order the big breakfast. I was so impressed.  The breakfast was fresh and light which is such a hard balance to achieve.  There was home made baked beans and potato side which were wonderful and although there was not much service offered when I asked for tomato sauce it was proudly announced that it was home made!

The back of the cafe overlooks a vacant block with windows lining the back and in this season of April the leaves look so stunning at the base of the surrounding rolling mountains.

I would note that if you are used to the strong coffee of the 'big city', this is defiantly a country town and the coffee resembles that with a cup brimming of milk froth which is quaint and reminds you (and so did the waiter) that the mug is the way to order!

Stockpot - Tawonga South

Stockpot on Urbanspoon

Atmosphere: **/5
Food: ***/5
Drinks: ***/5
Service: **/5

Mount Beauty, what an unexpected (however short) culinary tour!  Arriving in the area on a late Friday afternoon and news of a Music Festival in the area we rushed to find and book a restaurant and I am very glad we skipped the pub!

Not much to look at Stockpot is located next to a petrol station along the Kiewa Valley Highway as you enter into Mount Beauty from Bright.  The feeling of the peak winter season is all around you in this restaurant with the cosy interior suited to the cool nights of winter with an outdoor area facing onto the highway encouraging you to utilise the inside.

Being a (recent local) South Australian the first thing I recognised was the wine list.  Although many misses the Rockbare Shiraz for $35 impressed my fellow dinners and suited our diverse meal choices.  Although missing out on hearing about their heavy winter options of the gnocchi ragu with Guinness we decided to order tapas and pizza to share aiming to get the most out of our dining experience.

The spring rolls were a treat with duck providing an interesting twist on a seemingly straightforward entrée, although a little oily.  We also ordered dips with a wonderful pesto infused bread which was fresh and the dips tasted as through they were made on site.  I have had better patatas bravas, however it did not matter that much as the salt and pepper squid, spring rolls and dips were an interesting combination to put together. There is a lack of fluidity in the menu as there is no particular theme, this did not seem to be a problem until we got to our 'main' pizza, which was extremely oily.  Our next door neighbours in the cottage we were staying at who had ordered takeaway from the restaurant had also commented on the oiliness of the pizza.

The desserts here were wonderful! We were extremely disappointed that we missed out on the special sticky date pudding, however, being a country restaurant the waiters did not inform us that there were any specials but the relaxed country air had already washed over us by the time we had hit the restaurant and the waiters were so lovely and spent as much time as we needed with us.  The churros and chocolate pudding were so lovely and moist.  We also ordered a pear tart, however, I think with a majority of the table being females the chocolate dishes were always going to be the first to go and a favourite!

My friend and I were constantly reminded throughout this trip by the locals that Mt. Beauty and Bright are 'small towns' I don't quite know why the local store-holders were insistent that we remembered this but I think it serves a good place in this blog.  Stockpot was wonderful for a 'small town.'  This restaurant does not need to be compared within a big city context, and was wonderful for where it is and what it has to offer.    

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dumplings R Us - Adelaide

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Atmosphere: ***/5
Food: **/5
Drinks: */5
Service: */5

I have come here as an alternative to food court dining in the city with the same price.

Located on Rundle Street, Dumplings R Us provides the diner with a cheap mix of Asian food with a view over the busy street and an option for outdoor seating.  I prefer it to most dumpling places as they have a wide range of non-pork dumplings and the soup options are many.

The days here vary on the quality of the food.  I have been here and walked away feeling good for the rest of the day and others I have had that heavy feeling of eating bad quality food.   I am definitely a fan of the beef and celery dumplings, and will get them whenever I come here.

The soups often contain a lot of noodles and there is no order to how the food is brought out even if you request it.  This is one of those places that you have to take it as it comes.  Sometimes it can take half an hour to receive one meal whilst the other will take 3 minutes to come out.

Order carefully and be in no rush, but the value for money is worth it on most days.

Gin Long Canteen - North Adelaide

Gin Long Canteen on Urbanspoon

Atmosphere: ****/5
Food: ****/5
Drinks: ***/5
Service: ****/5

Wow.  I can not believe it has taken me this long to find Gin Long.  This Asian street food restaurant with Thai influences blew me out of the water.

Situated on O'Connell Street, North Adelaide, Gin Long brings the big city subculture into our humble town of Adelaide.  As we were a booking over five people we ordered the banquet and, by golly, I recommend you do the same!  Dishes categorised as big and small of Asian fusion were served over two courses and not a heavy greasy meal in sight.

The 'make your own' Cold Rolls were an excellent entrée, fire starting lively conversations as debates about rolling techniques and our favourite flavours made for a wonderful start to the night.  The cold rolls were so light and there was plenty of pork and beautifully crispy prawn, fresh food and sauces to accommodate for everyone.  Other finger foods such as Satay Chicken and the best Thai Beef Salad I have ever had accompanied the Cold Roll entrée.        

By the time the mains arrived we were already full,but keen to push through.  After the entrées we did not want to miss a flavour!  The presentation of the foods was wonderful with the fish presented as a whole with fish sticks surrounding.  The duck was served with lychees and pineapple which is one I would have never chosen myself, however, the flavours worked together perfectly and the duck fell away from itself.  The vegetarian stir-fry is one of the heaviest and favourite stir fry I have had!  There are a couple of us that will be experimenting in our own kitchens after some of the meals we had tired!

The hipster subculture of South American and Mexican food and tapa's style dining has taken over the dining world.  Some of it, quite unmemorable, especially paying $10 for a plate that does not fill you up.  However, the value for money here is refreshing.  Compared to banquets in China Town this meal focused on the delicate flavours rather than filling you up.  Between the five of us there was only a small bowl of rice which suited us just fine.

The atmosphere is super trendy, we sat at a large bench, I would definitely book if you are coming here.  There is bar seating in which does not lean towards the most romantic of settings.   I think they played most of my favourite songs while I was there too with trendy house beats and the wine list encouraging you to stay there well past the last bite has been taken!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bar 9 - Rundle Mall

The baby of the Glen Osmond Road Favourite. Bar 9 in the David Jones building, brings a fresh, hipster addition to the stagnant, stuffy, underground food court.

Visually this place has so much to absorb, the contrast between the fluorescent lights blasting over the surrounding fast food venues and the coffee shop vibe at Bar 9 could not be any different.  It will be interesting to see how this affects the bar, as it is such a contrast from the surrounding venues and sitting outside of Bar 9's internal allocated area, you almost feel awkward and detached from what the eatery has to offer.  

The cute children's books as menus always amuses! The coffee here is strong and well made, I would say the best in Rundle Mall.  With a long day of sales ahead of me it sat perfectly!

 The food was a bit of a let down.  My beetroot salad was gritty, a suggestion from the table next to us was that they had not washed the salad properly.  I do not know if the texture had put me off the salad as a whole but the flavours did not sit well with me!

My dining partner had the mushroom burger which was small and simple which lent itself to be a little bit of let down as well.  It seems the best meal and the one that has been spoken about here is the pulled pork, which I could not order.  

There wasn't much service to speak of and I don't think that there should be!  Its an 'order at the counter' sort of place.  Water, cutlery and odds and sods you pick up yourself.

I suggest a walk by to see if you can get a good table, if so, try the coffee.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Milano Cucina - Adelaide

Atmosphere: ***/5
Food: */5
Drinks: ***/5
Service: */5

Located on the ground floor of the Channel Ten building Milano Cucina marks the start of the eatery hotspot within the well known Hutt Street precinct.  I was quite hesitant about writing about this place because I feel like it is so far away from what it should, or I otherwise hope, would, like to be and I am constantly hoping that it will be better then next time I go.

The menu boasts Northern Italian food which ranges over pasta, pizza, focaccia, steaks and fish.  I found that the menu is very similar to the Italian restaurants located along the Parade in Norwood.

My last visit here I ordered a Linguine ai Frutti di Mare (Marinara) and I was so disappointed.  This may have been exasperated by the fact that I am trying to reduce the amount of high GI I eat due to the coming summer months and ordering pasta was a special treat.

The mussel's were quite dry and the shells were cracked.  Out of all the clams I was given only one was opened, and after a good crack of pepper from the waitress I had to go back for more, by the end of my meal I had also found that without realising I had eaten nearly half  of a bowl of parmesan with my meal as there was such a lack of flavour.  

The service here is lacking.  The waiters range between being not fluent in English, as I can see that the owner has tried, in keeping with the Italian restaurant, which is a wonderful concept however, they have frequently mistaken my orders, this happens quite a lot, especially with the coffee's, I have often found myself drinking something that I did not order because it gets to the point where language becomes a barrier and it is too hard to negotiate a table full of wrongly served coffee.  The other waiters are either very awkward which often comes across to me as uninterested and/or rude and I have also found some quite aggressive.

There are a lovely little range of cakes and treats and the iced coffee is a special treat here on hot days, as they add a lovely selection of ice-cream's which is perfect for a summer.  The coffees are solid, but not something to compare to the barista/hipster made coffees a couple of blocks down on Rundle Street.

Milano's has so much potential and attract's such a vibrant interesting crowd, I will keep on coming here for iced coffees!

Milano Cucina on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hey Jupiter - Adelaide

Atmosphere: ***/5
Food: **.5/5
Drinks: ****/5
Service: */5

Ebenezer Place bringing a little bit of Melbourne into the Adelaide space! With the spring sunshine hitting the outside tables with warmth we threw our other lunch plans in the bin and decided to enjoy the lunch hour in the sun at Hey Jupiter.

This lane-way is the centre of the new breed of Adelaide hipster, with alternative clothing stores, bike shop, hairdressers and new concept café's such as this one this little street is attracting quite a crowd.

The menu at Jupiter's is HUGE which made me quite exited for all the food choices but on closer inspection on the food front it was quite hollow.  There are an abundance of drinks listed on the menu, when my lunch partner asked what the interesting named hot chocolate was the waiter brushed her off for not knowing what it was (it was listed as the brand name).   For lunchtime I could only see sandwiches on the menu, I noticed that two girls had soup at their table but I could not find it on the menu or on the specials on the wall, so if not intimidated by the wait staff I would suggest asking for specials!

If you come here for lunch I would suggest unless you are after a sandwich this cafe is not for you.   The flavours are amazing and so delicate, however, they are quite small and there is not options to order any sides.  I can imagine if I had taken some of my male friends to Jupiter's they would not have been happy to pay $12/$13 dollars for a small sandwich.


My lunch partner and I ordered two vegetarian sandwiches to share, one beetroot and one enchilada.  The ingredients were so well flavoured and fresh.    We couldn't decide which one is better.  I understand that my review thus far may seem partially negative.  For some reason (could you say 'hipster') café's never produce the staff with the kindest or warmest of service, and the food options were slim and the drinks options were extensive, I noticed that they had one of the largest selection of Vermouth I have seen for a cafe that focuses on breakfast/lunchtime.  However, for what Hey Jupiter does, it does it well.  The food was small, but wonderful and the iced tea we had (minus the ice-cream offered) was strong, which I think is good because it defines itself from the pre-packaged milks you can get at your local service station.

There seemed to be a lot of regulars at Jupiter's, particularly from the Royal Adelaide Hospital with the waiter/proprietor being on first name basis with quite a few of the customers, although I don't think that I will get to that point with this place,  I will not be opposed to coming back here for the wonderful sunshine and another flavoursome sandwich.

Hey Jupiter on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 9, 2013

Marrakech - Adelaide

Atmosphere: ***/5
Food: ****/5
Drinks: */5
Service: **/5

With a shop face that hides the elegance within, Marrackech restaurant was definitely a Moroccan surprise!  Located on King William Road this small restaurant offers wonderfully aromatic food with enthusiastic and warm service.

The restaurant is quite small and only holds around forty people. When dining here I would suggest making a booking.   I almost learnt the hard way dining here on a Sunday night, thinking that it would be a reasonably quite night the only tables that were available were outside.

One of the highlights of the night was the hospitality of the owner and chef, Mohammed, who has so much pride for his little restaurant it makes you feel like you are coming into his home, as he comes out and talks to all the customers, he even came out and brought us a taster of a new dish before our meals came out!

We started with the Mezza Platter, the chefs selection of five entrées which seemed like the best bet for a taste of of everything from the dips and the chicken, lamb and beef entrées.  I was originally quite surprised at how expensive the entrées were individually which also helped with my decision to go for the Mezza Platter. After the first course I must say, you get what you pay for, by the time we had finished the first course and the quick tasting I was nearly full!  

We ordered the Meatball Tangine to share (between two people) for the mains and a side of bread and because my dining partner is adamant that cuscus is the devils rice we ordered jasmine rice instead of the traditional Moroccan accompaniment of cuscus!  

The main courses average around thirty dollars a dish which seemed quite expensive, however, as the meals come out in the wonderfully traditional Tangine dishes and are therefore quite large I would suggest that you would need no more than one order between two people, we also had leftovers to take home!

The service here is quite muddled, there is no specific wait staff for tables which meant that we found ourselves being forgotten and going up to the counter to remind and ask the wait staff for things.  This was quickly forgotten as the apologies flowed in and when we did have service it was warm.  On a note for the drinks the gin and tonic I was served was horrible, I am quite sure the tonic was flat and there was no garnish to go with it which was disappointing.

Due to the heaviness of the meals I could not fit dessert in, but the Moroccan coffee was so aromatic I would defiantly suggest you have a try!  There are little things that can be done here to make the dining experience the best but for now, I will still be going back!

Marrakech on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Zen Kitchen - Adelaide

Atmosphere: **/5
Food: ***/5
Drink: */5
Service: */5

Located within the Mansions Food court, Zen Kitchen offers a little luxury within the bustling cheap Asian eateries, with its own four walls and even a little 'outdoor/indoor' sunny spot.  Often packed though Monday until Friday. Lunchtime at Zen Kitchen is popular, as University students and workers pour in for there lunch breaks.

The service here is based upon food court etiquette with a little bit extra and I wouldn't expect any more for the price of the food.  Ordering is done at the counter, and there is often a line up, but the food is brought out to you.   Due to the popularity of Zen Kitchen sometimes finding a table is quite hard.  However, the food comes out quickly regardless of how many people have ordered before you, my favorite here is the Beef Pho, Number Three (on the left).

The food here has always been consistently good, no matter how quickly it comes out or how many people order here.  The Vietnamese Rolls here are a popular takeaway item and the cold rolls here are so fresh and light.  The last time my friend and I were here we also tried the Tom-Yum which I was told could use a bit more seafood but for the price was consistent and ordering it without noodles the chefs added extra vegetables. 

This place is a regular haunt for my meat eating girlfriends and I to catch up on the weeks events and gossip in our lunch breaks.  I have yet been able to convince my vegetarian friends to come here as the majority of the meals (especially the favourites) are meat based meals.

I suggest you give this place a try, its not somewhere I would take for a formal luncheon, there is no views and the atmosphere is still very much that of the food court, but they are slowly doing the place up with new funky pictures on the wall and vintage quirky Vietnamese hangings. Its the first Vietnamese restaurant that I tried pho in and I am hooked, I am even putting more and more chilli sauce in! If you have not tried pho before or like your beef cooked rather than raw, give this place a go!

Zen Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Art Gallery Food + Wine - Adelaide

Atmosphere: ****/5
Food: ***/5
Drink: ***/5
Service: ****/5

The Art Gallery cafe is my absolute favorite place for coffee in the city and if you can afford it, lunch.
To make it a little cheaper, with an Art Gallery membership card you receive fifteen percent off your food and drink!  Situated at the back of the Art Gallery the Cafe looks onto Adelaide Uni and a lovely green space which, in summer is used as a cafe area, with deckchairs and coffee tables.

The cafe itself is bright and very warm.  The service  here is wonderful, I have often come here for a hard-core gossip session and the waiter/esses have understood and served us quickly and quietly. On the flip side of that, due to the age of many of the customers here (60+) you can natter on for as long as you want to them and they will explain the menu and move slowly around you if you require.  

The barista here is amazing, drawing pictures in the coffees is a speciality, and when I  have come here with my best friend he has drawn the two of us together!  The wine list here is diverse, ranging from Pol Roger, Shaw & Smith and Vasse Felix for special treats or for the student on a budget they offer house wines, including sparkling that can make a special day surrounded by a wonderful atmosphere and easy on a budget.   I came here for my graduation celebrations and it was a great place for friends and family to enjoy the afternoon sun with a bottle of champagne.

Coloured chairsThe food here is very delicately prepared, when I last ate here we had the DIY pancakes with shredded roasted duck leg with cucumber spring onion and omelette style pancakes and a spicy plum sauce, which was a lovely 'build it yourself' entrée with fresh vegetables and for the mains the pumpkin, mascarpone with crispy sage leaves risotto was, very light and flavoursome with the sage leaves breaking up the softness of pumpkin and risotto with a wonderful crispness and flavour.

For people with large appetites this may not be the place for you.  I have found that the meals here focus more on quality and flavour rather than size.  Although the fries here are pretty good for a fill up!

The cafe is so versatile and sometimes, especially on the weekend you might find a wedding or a function taking place, so often your best bet in through the week.  I defiantly recommend you give this little cafe tucked away from the façade of the old North Terrace buildings and give this little retreat a go.

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