18 May 2011

Eat: Fish Out Of Water

During the past five years, on my numerous short trips back home to Adelaide, I would always try to fit in at least one lunch stop at Fish Out Of Water. I’ve been gradually making my way through the menu and am yet to be disappointed. I view this as both a positive and negative. Yes, everything is amazing but it makes it so damn hard to decide!
The menu is extensive covering standard fish and seafood options, battered nibbles and standard burgers. Then into more gourmet territory with pitta wraps, the infamous vicious burgers, over a dozen salads as well as perfect-for-sharing gourmet packs.
On this occasion, I couldn’t tempt any of my fellow lunchmates to split a gourmet pack, so we all chose individual items off the menu. Plus some chips to share.

Laura’s pitta wrap - Deep fried calamari legs with salad and tzatziki.
Tim’s vicious burger - Grilled chicken breast, bocconcini, eggplant, chargrilled capsicum, sundried tomatoes, olives, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce.
Uncle Johnny’s vicious burger - Grilled chicken breast, jarlsberg cheese, eggplant, chargrilled capsicum, sundried tomatoes, olives, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce.
My cevapcici vicious burger - Spicy sausage, bocconcini, eggplant, chargrilled capsicum, sundried tomatoes, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce.
Chips in a box, not a soggy specimen in sight!
Prices are above average for a suburban fish and chip local, and that’s because this place is definitely above average in my opinion. The quality is great and everything is cooked to order. Be prepared to wait while staff make up your meal with care and a little bit of love.

I’m already thinking about what to order on my next visit..
Fish Out of Water on Urbanspoon

17 May 2011

Eat: What's the biggest pizza you've ever seen?

Saturday night, making new friends and reacquainting with old, celebrating for celebration’s sake. It’s cold outside so what better way than to warm up with wine and storytelling? The CCs are good, the Grain Waves even better. But suddenly you want something more. The crowd pleaser is pizza and your hosts know a good place.

Viva Pizzeria is your typically surburanesque local pizza joint. They’ve got all bases covered (pun intended) with standard favourites The Lot, Capricciosa, Meatlovers, Hawaiian and Vegetarian. As well as gourmet territory with examples such as the intriguing Chicken Caesar – chicken, onion, topped with creamy Caesar sauce and croutons – tempting the adventurous, or mad?

The art of knowing how much to order is a finely acquired skill. It takes practice and patience. How hungry are you? What about you? How much room is in the fridge for leftovers? Oh what the hell. Let’s order the 24” king size! Plus a couple of 18” party sized. Just to be safe.

We are warned there’ll be a wait of no less than an hour. That’s just to cook the king size.
So when the doorbell rings at 8.50pm, we’re all pleasantly surprised.. There’s no chance of fitting this on any normal sized coffee table.
Oh basil, how I love thee!
King sized:
American – tomato, cheese, salami.

Party sized half n half:
Chicken Supreme – tomato, cheese, chicken, pineapple, bbq sauce.
Margaritta – tomato, cheese, marinated tomato, basil.

Gourmet party sized half n half:
Gourmet Italiano – Salami, olives, sundried tomato, roast capsicum, basil.
Mamma’s Delight – Spinach, roast capsicum, prosciutto, basil.
Satisfied (anonymous) customers.
If you find yourself in the area, hungry and up for a challenge, I would highly recommend the Viva boys to anyone wanting a hit of cheesy goodness. Order early.
Viva Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

14 May 2011

Do: High tea @ Just Tickled Pink

Looking for something to do on a Thursday afternoon? In the mood for teacups and pink? Feeling dainty? Oh là là! Gather your girlfriends and head straight up Unley Road to the delightful Just Tickled Pink tea rooms.

The tradition goes that the custom of drinking tea originated in England when Catherine of Bragança married Charles II in 1661 and brought the practice with her from Portugal. Typically, tea is served, with a light meal shared between 3pm and 5pm, consisting of sandwiches, scones and usually cakes and pastries.

Recognising the niche market early in 2006, owners Kim and Geoff Graetz opened the Hyde Park shopfront with a view of becoming “Adelaide's Sweetest Tea Rooms". Five years on and Just Tickled Pink has become known throughout Adelaide for their traditional and personalised high tea services and events.

Our seating was for afternoon tea at the not so traditional hour of 2pm. The table was quirkily set with fresh flowers, china teacups and saucers, candles and prefilled glasses of water. While Laura and I awaited the arrival of the two pregnant ladies we took in our gorgeous surrounds.

This too cute elderly couple looked like they had been embracing the joys of high tea together for many years..

The girls arrived, and our glasses of sparkling arrived soon after. Champers for Laura and myself and sparkling (of the juice variety) for Jules and Edwina, both made pink by the addition of blackcurrant syrup. Delicious!

An assortment of finely cut sandwiches, savoury pastries, lamingtons, miniature vanilla cupcakes and wrapped chocolates were beautifully presented on a perfectly matching china trois-tiers.
I am not much of a tea drinker, but I was committed to the full experience and quite enjoyed the traditional blend on offer.

The sandwiches of the day were paté and alfalfa, smoked salmon and chives, crowns of cheese and dijon and traditional cucumber and mint. My favourite was the paté variety.

The cupcakes were moist and vanilla-y perfection. We happily munched down the lot while talking all things weddings and babies. Time passed quickly in a blur of sugary sweetness.
And before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes, for the girls to get back to babysitters and one year olds and for Laura and me to wrap up a very civilised day out.

The only improvement I can think of would be to deck out all the staff in matching hostess outfits. I am picturing something like this.

Cuteness factor: 10.
Just Tickled Pink on Urbanspoon

10 May 2011

Eat: Ying Chow

I admit I was feeling slightly dubious about what Friday night in the city had to offer on the late night food front. The last time I was in Adelaide, a fish and chip shop was closing when I arrived with friends just before 9pm (9pm!). But this time, I needn’t have worried..

Guided by Michelle, we followed the masses and headed to Gouger St. The central market and surrounding China town area was pumping with an assorted bunch jostling for tables and street side views. The restaurant was packed with not a spare table in sight. Our booking was made for 8.30pm and timed to perfection we arrived just as a group of four were leaving.

We were seated near the entrance which proved to be great fun watching the shenanigans of passers by. Fast paced service is the go and it seemed most patiently waiting patrons knew what to expect. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone defending the service, it’s not great but obviously the locals love it for what it is. Noisy, cramped, quick and tasty.

Happy to put faith in my foodie cohort’s tastebuds I quickly handed over the reigns of the menu. She obliged and we decided on a starter and three mains to share. Our biggest wait of the night proved to be between being seated and holding a waiter’s attention long enough to place our order. We killed time by drinking a few glasses of our byo wine..

Once we had ordered, our starter arrived soon after. The crispy salty shallot pancakes were accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce. Lovely buttery goodness. We were pretty hungry by this stage and they were swiftly gobbled up.
The house specialty, BBC. Broad beans, bean curd and Chinese chutney. Al dente broad beans, thinly cut, lightly fried bean curd tossed in a mild chilli sauce. Nearly every table had this brightly coloured dish on their table. Lovely freshness. These little suckers put my (very limited) chopsticks skills to the test!

Steamed duck with salty sauce. Great smokey duck flavour.

E-Shand egg plant clay pot. Ridiculously tender egg plant in a sweet spicy chilli sauce. This was my favourite dish of the night.

We made a mess and enjoyed it all.

Tipsy fun in the heart of the action. But the best bit? The great conversation was free!
Ying Chow Chinese on Urbanspoon

07 May 2011

See: Bowerbird Bazaar

Friday night in the city, Michelle and I headed to Queen’s theatre to check out the Bowerbird Bazaar. The bazaar provides a platform for both members of the interested public and local industry associates to peruse the latest in design wares from over 75 local and interstate artists. We arrived just before 7pm and it was absolutely packed!

After paying our $2 admission fee we quickly made our way to the nearest drink stand and sorted ourselves out with a local brew from the Brewboys themselves. With beer in hand, we set off to explore the plethora of goodies on offer.

Enthusiastic jewellery designer Greg Mann uses recycled cutlery and collector's spoons to make some weird and wonderful pieces. I have seen him before at the Rose Street Artist's market in Fitzroy, Melbourne but was pleased to see his South Australiana collection on show.

The standard of beth-emily’s illustrations were incredible.

Gorgeous softies at herbert & friends. Complete with a little description of each little character’s personality and interests.
Back in her home town of Adelaide, Sydney based Jen of South for the summer, showed off her delightfully awesome headbands. Colour to brighten anyone's day!

We had already made dinner plans for later in the evening but there were plenty of tempting food options available. I have been hearing only good things about Red Door Bakery and by the looks of how empty their pie warmer was looking so early in the evening all signs lead some promising adventures in pastry in the very near future..

I was a little disappointed about the proportion of local South Australian stalls compared to the vast array of interstate producers but there was certainly quality if not quantity. Launching their local product at the bazaar was Mrs. Fairweather's Bicycle Emporium. A unique brand of recycled, reclaimed and restored bikes.

The market style set up offers a relaxed environment for all to wonder, see, touch and interact with the makers behind the products. The bazaar is running today and tomorrow. Go now. And be sure to leave room for dessert!

Queen's Theatre in Playhouse Lane
6 – 8th May & 28th – 30th October 2011

Public Entry $2, children free
Friday 4 - 9pm | Saturday 10 - 5pm | Sunday 10 - 4pm

05 May 2011

Eat: Red Ochre Grill

So Ben did eventually get back to me. His surprise? Last minute reservations at the award winning Red Ochre Grill in North Adelaide. A beautiful setting on the River Torrens provides the perfect backdrop for an intimate fine dining experience with views of the city lights and river fountains. The focus is on contemporary Australian food with an emphasis on using local produce.
Our table was situated in the upstairs dining area. On arrival we were immediately and pleasantly greeted by maître d’, Aimie, and our friendly waitress Tamara. The standard was set early and service remained welcoming and efficient throughout the night.

After perusing the menu, I loved the sound of the organic sourdough with various condiments (lemon myrtle butter, tomato and balsamic or locally produced hummus). But we quickly decided against ordering any starters or entrees and went straight to mains – with the aim of saving room for dessert!

If pork is on the menu, odds are I will order it. Ben was tossing up between the Orroroo kangaroo fillet (which sounded marvellous) and the Pepperberry veal shank. He made a quick decision when Aimie returned to take our orders, settling on the shank after she described it as “extremely rich and slowly slowly cooked”. Ben recommended I try the steak fries. And I’m glad I did!
Our meals arrived quickly. My pork tenderloin roulade was beautifully presented. Tiny cubes of crisp bacon and confit yam were scattered across the plate, with sautéed baby spinach, pureed salsa verde and a cranberry apple pickle. There was nothing on the plate I didn’t enjoy. Ben was presented a large shank on a bed of root vegetables, creamed potato and pine mushrooms. A heavily reduced bordelaise sauce came separately.

Ben throwing etiquette out the window and getting stuck into the shank.
If what’s left on the plate is anything to go by.. We were either pretty bloody hungry or the food was too good to leave any behind!

There was no twisting of our arms to view the dessert menu because we didn’t need any twisting. At all. The wattleseed pavlova was deliciously folded with layers of spicy nut paste, served with tangy passionfruit sorbet and poached apricots. Sincere complements to dessert chef Emily Jones, this dessert was close to perfection.

I chose the tasting platter which arrived with a lovely message..
Frozen lemon cream, chocolate cake with lime en glaze and white chocolate parfait with berry jelly. Simple and unpretentious, unfortunately the chocolate cake was dry which let down the overall dish. I think next time I won’t go past the chocolate fondant with rivermint sorbet (allow 20 minutes)!

Creative comfort food inspired by earthy flavours. Thoroughly stuffed, we rolled out of the restaurant very satisfied.
Red Ochre on Urbanspoon

03 May 2011

Eat: Jerusalem Sheshkebab House

Dad and I made a date for lunch in the city and so began a series of searches for a suitable quick and cheap, but more importantly tasty, spot close by to his offices. It was daughter’s choice and I settled my decision on Jerusalem Sheshkebab House after reading about it here and here.
We arrived just after 1pm and the place was pretty empty. Under the watchful eye of a friendly camel, Dad and I seated ourselves in a small booth close to the entrance. I grabbed some menus from the counter and sat back down. Eventually someone came from the kitchen to take our order and we decided on the cauliflower and traditional lamb sheshkebab. We were umming and ahhing before the makeshift waiter suggested some hummus, salad and pita to go with it. Perfect.

Within two minutes our salad, pita and hummus had arrived.

Quickly followed by our hot dishes.

The hummus was lovely and rich, with olive oil and paprika. The salad was divided on the plate with half tabouli and half capsicum, tomato and cucumber in bite sized pieces. Pita bread was standard. Our cauliflower dish was served warm in a white sauce. Definitely not your traditional white sauce (béchamel), this was instead a lovely blend of spiced yogurt and tahini. The charcoal grilled lamb was nicely marinated but unfortunately a little bit chewy. I put some in my pita and when I tried to take a bite the whole lot came with it.

The total price was a little bit higher than I expected ($45 for food detailed above plus two drinks) and service started very slowly. But overall, the dishes all hit the spot. I firmly believe you can’t go too wrong with a basic combination of some dips, pita and heavily marinated meat.

Simple, tasty, old school.
Jerusalem Sheshkebab House on Urbanspoon