23 October 2011

Eat: Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar

I almost walked right past Andre’s. Sunken within the unassuming lobby of the Mantra hotel on Frome St, the restaurant itself is small in size but big on heart. Our party managed to sneak in a last minute booking on a recent Friday night, voluntarily signing up for the full experience.

Brightly greeted by a bunch of trendy host and hostesses, we were seated quickly and had beers in hand not long after. We receive a full menu briefing including suggestions for how much to order and what is recommended by our on-the-ball waitress. After much deliberation we are confident with our choices of two appetizers, two vegetable share platters, one platter of meat as well as the compulsory serving of polenta (it is a polenta bar after all).

Food is bought out in waves beginning with the two delicate starters.

Fritto misto di mare – fried Sicilian seafood with lemon aioli.
Ravioli di formaggio con crosta di polenta e salsa picante – polenta crusted cheese ravioli with spicy salsa.

Bagna cauda – fresh raw & blanched vegetable crudités served with hot anchovy dip and crostini.
Assaggini di verdure – all things vegetable including sweet potato crisps, roasted mushrooms, lightly grilled eggplant and zucchini served with jerusalem artichoke puree.
Designed to share, the food is beautifully presented on the table. You really don’t need to order this much, but you probably should.

Delizie del rè, piattata di salumi misti –  selection of finely shaved Italian salami.
Polenta con salsiccia Italiana e salsa – polenta with Italian sausage and tomato salsa.

And then dessert. Bomboloni – banana donuts.

To think that we weren’t even going to order the chocolate mousse! Thank Dad we did.
Chocolate mousse – with nuts and caramel awesomeness.

Andre’s is the kind of place I wouldn’t feel awkward returning to just for dessert. The vibe is right, the place is buzzing and the staff really do know their cuts of meat.

Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar on Urbanspoon

14 October 2011

Do: Start Walkin'

Let’s face it, the footy season is over. Which means there are plenty of three hour long gaps to fill on Saturday afternoons. So I’m introducing a new season: Walking Season.

As my main mode of transport, I am a huge advocate for walking. Whilst the city of Adelaide is very flat, the surrounding suburbs, and their various inclines, more than make up for it. The next time some nice person tells you to “take a hike” why don’t you? Trail walking is free, fun and fills your lungs with fresh air.

The Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit walk is an Adelaide must do for physically able visitors and locals alike. While getting your fix of fresh air you can also conduct a free self assessment of your fitness. There are no short cuts here. Cause there’s only one way to the top.

I’d been to the summit before, but not by foot. To be honest I didn’t really believe the signs.. I mean, they’re always overly cautious, aren’t they?

I read ‘VERY STEEP’ and thought ‘slight incline’. I read ‘three hours return’ and thought ’yeah right’.

I thought wrong. But don’t let that put you off.

The track itself is about 8km return. The walk is tough, but ultimately rewarding. Once at the top, the views are pretty special. On the day we went it was overcast and foggy, but I imagine it would be truly spectacular on a clear day.

So now that the season has officially commenced, anyone got any tips on where I should walk to next?