Aldgate Pump Hotel

 

 

Today on the Dining Diaries..

I find where the Play School “round” window went!
Stone grill dishes make our mouths water and
A little seasoning never goes astray….

Aldgate Pump HotelDiners today we are in Aldgate at the Aldgate Pump Hotel. I wondered how it got it’s name. What did the “pump” part of it mean?
Well as it turns out, a century or so ago, bullock drivers, travellers and colonists would travel from Adelaide past the pub. At that time, the trip from Adelaide to the pub took a good part of the day. A hand-pump and trough outside gave horses a welcome drink while their owners were inside refreshing themselves with something to eat and drink.

Although it didn’t take us half a day to get here, we were looking forward to being refreshed ourselves.
There are lovely pubs scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills and we weren’t disappointed by what we found at the Aldgate Pump Hotel.

I was a little dismayed as we walked in though, to see dated carpet and older style furnishings but the longer we sat there, the more I realised that it’s part of the charm that the locals expect.


The staff were friendly and we found a nice table that let us enjoy the views to the greenery outside.

The menu sounded a little ambitious at first glance. Were they trying to be something they’re not or could they really deliver?
The most interesting aspect of the menu is the Hot Rock  section. In fact we saw a couple of dishes coming out and the sizzling sound of that meat cooking on the hot rock was really making us question our menu choices!

In the end we decided to go for the chef’s selection : Trio of Dips as a starter.

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Look at that beautiful colour! I have to say, these are the best selection of dips we’ve had in a while. Each dip had a wonderful texture and we were given quite a generous amount of each! We guessed the flavours as being (from left) beetroot, sundried tomato and tzatziki. The pita bread was fresh and warm and we were almost full after sharing this plate!

We both really felt like a good pub burger today so hubby went for the Pulled Pork Burger, and I went for my usual Steak Burger.

The Pulled Pork Burger made hubby’s eyes light up when it came out.

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There seems to be a generous amount of pork in there! Unfortunately hubby said it was really lacking in seasoning and flavour. We both found the burger bun to be a little…
I’m not sure how to describe it, only to say it seemed like it had been thawed out and reheated.

My Steak burger looked pretty good when it came out too.

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I can’t remember seeing it on the menu but there were fried onion rings in there! Sadly, these too could have used some salt but it was still exciting to see.

The meat itself was beautifully cooked; Tender and succulent just as it should be. The rest of the burger had flavour enough so I really enjoyed mine.

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While we were dining I glanced over and saw what reminded me of the Play School Window!

Those Australians, who like me, grew up with ABC’s Play School will know what I’m talking about.

All in all, we had a nice dining experience here despite the lack of flavour in some of the food. I just think they might be trying to be something they’re not.
People come to this place for the charm and the history and I think that’s what they need to promote.
While they say “change is as good as a holiday” I think they need to be calculated changes and the skills to cope with the changes have to accompany them.

Have you been to Aldgate Pump Hotel?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

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Brunelli – Rundle Street

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A beautiful dessert display entices me,
“Grande Piatte” section of the menu entices hubby and
Food envy abounds!

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Diners today we are at Brunelli’s Cafe on Rundle Street in the Adelaide CBD.

This location has been a popular site for hungry Adelaidians  as it was formerly Cafe Buon Giorno. In fact, I have been known to mix the two places up and I won’t mention how recently that’s happened!
Their website says that they were the first to introduce Wood Oven Pizza to Adelaide in 1989. It’s hard to believe that Wood Oven Pizza’s haven’t been around longer…

In any case, we were hungry and it was well past lunch time but Brunelli’s Cafe, like most Cafe’s, have all day dining so we went in.

To be honest expectations weren’t overly high. We just wanted a good honest meal.

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You can’t help but notice the gorgeous selection of desserts as you enter.

I could feel my hips widening as I walked past.

Staff noticed us right away and we were welcomed and shown to a table.

The menu is pretty extensive and reasonably priced.

We were going to choose an entree to share but after seeing those cakes I persuaded hubby to just get mains, and then if we were still hungry, we could order some cakes or ice cream. Yum!

The menu has a section called “Piatto Grande” which means very big plates! I thought hubby would like that so I pointed it out to him. He was really hoping fora  yiros (kebab) before we walked into Brunelli’s so was drawn to the Open Lamb Souvlaki which was in the Piatto Grande section of the menu.  Marinated braised lamb pieces served with Tzatziki and pita bread. Also comes with chips and salad.

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I thought it looked great when it came out!

It was presented beautifully and the salad was dressed well, I could see it glistening!
The chips looked fresh and that meat looked really good too.

I love how they’ve got capsicum through the meat.
I tried a little bit and it was such a great accompaniment for the lamb. Hubby was really happy with how it had been seasoned.

Everything was cooked well. I don’t know why my expectations were low, but this was a good honest plate.

Before walking in I had a bit of a craving for a burger but I could smell cheese and tomato and changed my mind. I needed pasta!
I love how they allow you to choose what pasta type you want, and match it to whatever sauce you want.

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I ended up choosing Fettucini with the Sorentina Sauce. Sorentina sauce, according to their menu, is a traditional tomato and basil sauce with bocconcini cheese.

I didn’t think I’d like the bocconocini in it but I was wrong…

The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of basil. I just love basil! The bocconcini had started to melt so was a delicious gooey mess.
If  you like your pasta cooked al-dente, you would have been disappointed with this dish and it was definitely overcooked but I don’t mind it that way myself and it was fine for me.

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I forgot to mention that they actually brought out a couple of slices of bread after we’d ordered!

So I was able to mop up that sauce with some of the bread. The bread basket also had a little container of Parmesan cheese so I was able to put on as much or as little as I wanted.

Another bonus!

We kept looking at other people’s plates, wondering what they were eating. There was definitely some pretty food coming out! Although we were very happy with ours, we couldn’t help but wonder what the other plates tasted like.

With such a big place, it would be easy for the staff to be impersonal but everyone we interacted with was really friendly and welcoming.

Brunelli’s is a great place if you’re after a no fuss, casual dining experience. Next time I might even try one of those sweets!

Have you been to Brunelli’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Taste of the Himalayas

Today on the Dining Diaries…

I have barramundi like I’ve never had it before,
One of my fellow diners invites our server to eat with us and
Authentic tastes amaze us. Where did these flavours come from???

FullSizeRender[10].jpgDiners today we were at Taste of the Himalayas and wow, did we get blown away!

I’ve driven past this sweet gem of a place so many times and just thought it wouldn’t be a place I’d like.

I was so wrong!

I was dining with a couple of girlfriends tonight and as usual, went to check out the restaurant’s website to get an idea of what the menu would be like.
I have to say I was quite impressed with the way the website was set out, giving a lot of information about what the food is and how it is cooked. They are obviously very passionate and I just love that! It made me more excited to taste the food.

We were greeted by a lovely waitress when we walked in. One of our party was still yet to come and when she did arrive, she greeted not only us with a hug and kiss, but also the waitress.
The lovely waitress just went with the flow and gave us some menu’s and explained a few things we might need to know about the food. She was so lovely my friend invited her to sit and have dinner with us but I don’t think her manager would have approved…


I love the classy and elegant design of this dining room. It has a distinct Nepalese theme but is not over the top or gaudy. What I assume was Nepalese music played softly in the background, giving us a beautiful calming feeling.

Looking through the menu I noticed that some of the items had explanations next to them. There were also little bits of information about the culture, such as the meaning of Namaste and beautiful pictures throughout.

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We ordered our rainbow drinks and took to the hard task of deciding what we were going to eat tonight.

Everything sounded so good.

We ended up starting with a tasting plate to sample a few different dishes…


The sharing plate contained a combination of Sekuwa, Samosa, Phulaura and Momo.
The menu says “Our traditional Nepalese dishes are served with a spiced tomato and sesame seed achar & a mint and yoghurt dip”
I could go and tell you about each individually but they were all divine!! Maybe I’m not used to eating this type of food but the combination of flavours were just amazing. I wish I knew what spices they had used! I tasted things I’d never tasted before.
My only complaint was that I could have done with a little more salt with the samosa but this is just a personal preference.
The mint and yoghurt dip was soooo refreshing! I was putting it on everything just so I could taste it.

Now we were all quite excited for the mains!

One of our party chose Daal Bhaat Massu – Typical Nepalese platter with a choice of chicken, lamb or goat. This platter is served with mustard green spinach, traditional black lentils, tomato achar pickle and rice

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 She had hers with chicken. There were no complaints about this dish. As you can see, it’s a fairly sizable portion and the flavours were just amazing.

Another chose from the sizzling section of the menu. Pole Ko Jhingey – King prawns marinated in a fresh selection of herbs and aromatic spices and delicately roasted in the clay oven

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It was sizzling and steaming as it came to the table!!! Those prawns were delightfully juicy and the onions added a beautiful sweetness to each mouthful. I would never have thought to put onions with prawns but it worked so well.

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She also got the Himalayan Guliyo Roti – Stuffed with coconut, sultanas and cream paste

Now this turned out to be a wonderful surprise!

I’ve never had roti like this before. It was like a delicious dessert.

The cream paste and coconut, along with the sultanas… mmm mmm mmmm!
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I went for a fish dish. Maccha Ko Takari – Barramundi slowly cooked in traditional Nepali spices with subtle hints of ginger, garlic, curry leaves and coriander, all blended to create a home-style Himalayan fish curry

I know I haven’t done this justice with my photo, but this plate was unbelievable.

That fish was just so tender yet so full of flavour. Like a big pillow of barramundi coming to rest in my mouth.
The sauces were gorgeous too and soaked into the rice I’d ordered as a side. If I could have changed anything, I would have added more coriander as I couldn’t really taste it even though it was meant to be in this dish.

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Taste of the Himalayas also have a takeaway menu so I ordered a couple of things to take home to hubby. I hope they don’t get eaten before he gets a chance to taste it…..
On Sunday they do a buffet. What a great way to get to sample all the lovely food they provide!!

The food was amazing, the staff were so lovely and even Chef Dharma came out to speak with us during the evening. I would have no hesitation in recommending this place.

Have you been to Taste of the Himalayas?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

Till next we chow…
Namaste

Gusto Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Authentic Italian food soothes a raging craving,
Noise levels make it hard to communicate and
Befuddled servers amuse.

gusto-ristorante-norwood-restaurants-9aa4-938x704.jpgDiners today we are at Gusto Ristorante on the very popular Norwood Parade.

I tried to search for a website but couldn’t find one which is surprising as it’s a popular place and the server told me they’d been around for about fourteen years.

I may not have looked well enough though…

It was Friday night when we dined and most of the tables were full of people chatting and generally having a good time. We were shown to a table and given a couple of menus.

The wait staff seem pretty friendly although it did take them a very long time to come back and take our order.

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The first thing I noticed as I entered Gusto’s was the noise level. Maybe that has something to do with my age but it was difficult to speak over the noise of everybody else.

The decor seems simple but elegant maybe even semi industrial as there were exposed wires and cables here and there.

There didn’t seem to be anything overt to suggest we were entering an Italian restaurant, although there were pizza signs out on the street.

While we waited for the waiter to come back for our order, I couldn’t help but look at the food on other people’s tables and most of it looked so good! The serves were very generous (the pasta dishes in particular)

Finally our server returned and we were able to place an order. He dutifully took it and off he went.  About ten minutes later, another waiter comes and stands awkwardly at our table. He’s looking at a folder in his hand, then looking at us, then steps back, then steps forward again. I realised that he was holding someone’s bill.
“Did you ask for your check?” he asks timidly.
“No we haven’t eaten yet” I said smiling. It was a pretty funny moment.

We wanted to sample the food from their wood oven but didn’t particularly want a pizza so hubby chose to have the Calzone. Unfortunately I didn’t get the menu description because it was on the “Specials” menu.

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This picture probably makes it seem smaller than it was as the calzone was quite a decent serve. I tried some of the dough as that is my favourite bit and it was beautifully spongy and doughy on the inside, yet toasty and crunchy on the outside.
The server asked hubby if he wanted any chili’s with it and she brought it out in a bowl with olive oil.
fullsizerenderI hadn’t seen it presented like that before and hubby just fell in love with it!!

It was a great addition to his meal. He said the chili really enhanced the flavours that were already present.

I didn’t try any of the filling but hubby said it was just perfect. I could see that the filling was actually a substantial amount. Sometimes when you order a calzone you end up getting more air inside than filling.

It was satisfying and delicious and just what a calzone should be.

Being a good Italian girl I love my pasta but decided to step away from my usual go to of Fettucini, and ordered the Cannelloni di Ricotta, Spinaci e Zucca – Layers of House Made Pasta Sheets Filled with Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Topped with Napoletana Sauce & Fresh Basil

fullsizerender1My picture does not do it justice at all. It looks like a mess of tomato sauce but honestly, this dish was just so divine!

I have to say though, the stars of this dish were the pasta and the pasta sauce.
The pasta was cooked beautifully and the menu states that the pasta is “house made”.
I specifically asked the waiter about this because it was so impressive and she told me that the owner’s mother makes all the pasta.
My little mind started ticking over thinking, if she’s making ALL the pasta on her own, for all the business this restaurant does, she must never do anything else in life than make pasta!!!
Later on another server told me that she only makes some of the pasta, but that they get the rest, including the pasta they use for the Cannelloni, from another supplier.

The sauce was a beautiful distraction also. I say distraction because I really didn’t notice the filling. I’m not sure I could taste it, there wasn’t that much of it there, but it didn’t matter to me as every mouthful of that pasta and sauce was enriching my Italian soul.

I’ve read a few reviews of Gusto’s and felt perhaps some were a little harsh. Based on my own experience I would have no hesitation in going there again.
It’s still a very popular place and I figure people wouldn’t keep going if they didn’t like what the restaurant had to offer.

Give me a good wine and a nice plate of pasta and you’ll find one happy woman!

Have you been to Gusto’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…