2016 – My Top Ten List

2016top10.jpgDiners I thought it might be a nice way to finish of the year, by listing the Top Ten places we dined at this year.

These are listed in no particular order and are included for a variety of reasons.
If you hover over and click on the name of the restaurant, you will be taken to our blog entry for that establishment.

I’m sure you all know but I want to say again that these reviews are based on our experience on the day. There are so many variables that could change a dining experience but I can only comment on what happened to us the day we went into a certain place.

Carmel’s at McLaren Vale

carmels2Oh there were lots of reasons why we loved Carmel’s!

From the service to the menu, to the way our food was cooked and presented, it was just a fantastic experience.

Carmel’s is the place that gave me the courage to go from ordering my meat medium-rare to rare.

I will also admit that I’m charmed by the McLaren Vale region so that probably has an influence in including Carmel’s in our Top 10 list but even so, there isn’t too much that this restaurant does wrong.

The Unley

IMG_5499We loved The Unley because of many things, one of which was the way it made us feel as we walked in.
Decorated in a modern style, with friendly staff throughout; We really felt welcome here.

Besides all that, the food that came out was presented beautifully, tasted amazing and was generous in size!
Everything we want from a dining establishment!

Portobello

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I can’t go past Portobello as it was one of the first restaurants after I started reviewing, that really left an impression on me.

Even looking at that pasta is making my mouth water – I can remember and almost taste how beautiful that ragu sauce was.

I love when staff are passionate about the place we’re dining at too and the server we had definitely was – telling us about the history of Portobello.

It’s a shame that this restaurant is a little difficult to get to but I really hope people get down there and try it out for themselves.

Le-Riad

FullSizeRender (19)With Le-Riad we became a bit more adventurous.

Instead of the usual Pub or Italian restaurant, we visited a restaurant where the cuisine was Moroccan and we were definitely won over!

The staff treated us and each other like family (and I suspect they were) and were very proud of the food they brought out; and so they should be!

The meat, so tender, so full of flavour. Le Riad was a wonderful dining experience from the moment we walked in, till the moment we walked out.

Lockleys Hotel

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There were a few things that set Lockleys Hotel apart for us.

Firstly, the service was just amazing. We had arrived early and yet the servers went above and beyond to accommodate us, even when we said we didn’t mind.

We just weren’t expecting to be wowed and yet we were.

We were also impressed with the amount of diners who must have been regulars as many of them spoke to the servers as if they knew them.
Besides all of this, the food itself was amazing with such attention to detail that left us very impressed.

Two Bit Villains

FullSizeRender (80)With Two Bit Villains, I experienced my first Vegetarian Restaurant.

I’m certainly not opposed to having a meat free meal, in fact, I often do, but I’d never been to a place that was exclusively Vegetarian.

I loved everything from the decor, to the staff, the menu and those amazing soda selections!!

Again, you can tell that the staff are proud of the food they’re bringing out of the kitchen and all this good feeling is very infectious!

I’m so glad we went to Two Bit Villains. It’s definitely a little gem in Adelaide Arcade.

Coopers Alehouse

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We weren’t expecting much the day we went to Coopers Alehouse and it had been a bit of a stressful day, but all was forgotten as we relaxed into our surroundings.

It was busy when we were here and immediately we noticed that the food coming out of the kitchen looked amazing and they seemed to be generous serves.

We definitely over ordered by accident, but everything we had was cooked so well and I had to be impressed because there was a lot of staff, trying to do a lot of things yet it all worked really well.

This is definitely a place to visit.

Parlamento

par1Ah the good old Adelaide icon, Parlamento. Everyone knows Parlamento in the CBD! Most people have probably already been there too!!

I walk past there most days and had always wanted to try out the food because it seems to be always busy so they must be doing something right!!

And when I visited for myself I could see why. Again, the love of what they do shines. They are passionate about their food but not only that, they want YOU to be passionate about their food too!

We had a lovely rapport with our waiter and that made the whole night really special.
I still can’t stop thinking about Jacki Weaver and that carafe of wine though….


Nonna and I

fullsizerenderThis place is still recent in our memories and I’m still gushing over how good everything was here.

From Chef Khalil’s passion, to the food he served, it was absolutely a perfect dining experience.

Out of all the places I’ve reviewed, this is probably the one that I’m most keen to revisit.


Fedoras Restaurant

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Last, but certainly not least is Fedoras Restaurant, another place that took us completely by surprise.

Again, the attitude of all those working from the guy in the parking lot, to the people behind the bar and wait staff made an amazing different.

We were treated as if we were the only ones dining in that restaurant that night.

There were four in our party when we were at Fedoras and each one of us got an amazing meal – That’s not always something that easy to do!

So there you have it, the first Spoon You Fork Me Top 10 list!
I hope we’ve given you something to think about for the next time you’re looking to dine out.

There were many more places I could have mentioned but alas, there is only room for ten in a Top Ten list!

The Spoon You Fork Me team are going to take a little holiday break, but don’t despair, we’ll be back with you early in the new year with lots more views and reviews to come!!

We wish you much love and happiness as we enter this holiday season.
Stay safe, and eat well!!
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Till next we chow….

The Office

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We walked in with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised,
Christmas lights/decorations pretty up the dining area and
Who needs a band for entertainment when you can people watch..

f2027b20a2769a270d0f692a091ffa98Diners today we were at The Office on Pirie St in Adelaide’s CBD.

It was another one of those days where we couldn’t agree on where we wanted to go for dinner and as the clock continued to tick over on this particular Saturday evening, our options were being limited even further.

Finally we settled for The Office. I called at about 5pm to make sure they weren’t booked and was told I couldn’t have a 6pm or 6.30pm booking unless I was ordering the seafood platter. The next available time they had to reserve a table was 7pm.
Honestly it didn’t really make sense to me, perhaps he misunderstood what I’d said?
When we got there, there was a work group having their Christmas break-up party downstairs, and upstairs in the dining area, there was a table of about ten people.
So my guess is they wouldn’t have had the staff to cater for us if we’d come earlier. That’s the only thing I could think of because there were many tables available.

fullsizerender3Now the staff were very friendly and lovely and a girl brought us some menus. I do like the dining area which is like a balcony overlooking the bar. It was also prettied up with lights. I don’t know if this is how it always is, or if they’ve just put these up for Christmas but it looked nice.

The menu seemed to have your usual pub fare with a good amount of pizza options on there too.

I saw some plates coming out and they looked really good. That’s always a positive sign.
Oh and I should add that I thought the prices on the menu were very reasonable too!

We decided to start off with some nachos. My greedy little eyes were quite excited when we saw these being delivered to our table.

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This was quite a generous serve for the price. Not only for the size of the serve, but for the amount of cheese and salsa that was not only on the top, but actually through the nacho’s as well. The salsa was a little too sweet for my liking but that is only personal preference. It’s been a while since we’ve enjoyed good nachos so I’m glad we’ve found a new place where we can satiate our nacho cravings!

When it came to mains, although there were a few things I could have gone for on the menu, I went with the mushroom risotto. I’ve wanted to have one for a while but usually, if there is a risotto on the menu it’s a Seafood one and I don’t like to eat things with tentacles…

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I really don’t know how this mushroom risotto could have been better. The rice was perfectly cooked and the risotto had a lovely creamy but firm consistency. The cheese on top was a perfect addition and I’m sure if I’d had the chance to add the cheese myself I would have ‘Over cheeseed’
If you love mushrooms or are a vegetarian I would highly recommend this dish. Risotto is not an easy dish to make so the fact that the chef  produced one of this quality says a lot about him.

Hubby went for one of his staples, the Salt and Pepper Squid.
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As soon as he started eating it I heard sounds of gastronomic pleasure so I knew he was enjoying it.
He said the Squid was tender and not chewy and it all looked really good on the plate. There was also plenty of dressing on the salad, and a good amount of tartare sauce.

I found myself thinking that it was a shame that there weren’t more people dining here. I guess The Office is known more as a bar than a restaurant, but perhaps that needs to change.

While we were dining a work group were having their Christmas function and that was really interesting to watch.You can perhaps imagine the type of things we were seeing as this group of people continued to drink more than eat.
There was a live band starting about the time we were finishing up but we had been thoroughly entertained by the Christmas party revelers!

All in all, kudos to the chef (and yes I did tell the wait staff we had really enjoyed our meals here)

If you are thinking about dropping into The Office for a meal I would recommend you do so. Great food at great prices!

Have you been to The Office?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

The Curious Squire

Today on the Dining Diaries…

After a couple of false starts, we are curious no more!
Music and interesting decor made for topic of conversation and
Burgers and yummy finger foods to die for!

5teatdrink153curious3Diners today we were at The Curious Squire in North Adelaide; A hip, US-inspired hub for burgers, slow-cooked BBQ steaks, wings and ribs, plus craft beer and cider.

We have driven past this place so many times and even attempted to dine but they were always fully booked and it just never happened. Tonight we got lucky!
We really were only lucky because we had come fairly early. Our table was going to be booked a few hours later and there were reserved signs over most of the tables we saw.

I love the look and feel of this place. Rock music was playing, people working looked like they were enjoying their jobs and lots of other customers were around having a good time. It wasn’t so loud to be distracting though, just enough to make you want to be a part of it.


I love the dark furniture and the streaming light coming from the windows. There’s plenty of interesting things to read on the wall about James Squire himself!

The table numbers are large cards and there’s even a wall of cards in the dining room! I’m not sure what the significance is of a deck of cards but it would be something to look into.


The server who greeted us was really so very lovely and did as much as she could to make sure we could be served today.
We were left with some menus and after not eating for most of the day, were drooling in anticipation.

I couldn’t go past one of the specials that was written up on the board behind the bar.
Ben & Lamb burger; Toasted Blue Bun, Smoke pulled Lamb, Potato skin, mint jelly, lettuce, tomato and onion.
I probably should have paid more attention to the “mint jelly” part of that description!

Hubby ended up ordering the Trio of Sliders -pig mac, mother clucker and american cheeseburgerers;

But before those dishes came, we got some entree’s to start…

We had to try their wings! American Buffalo Wings – crispy fried chicken wingettes with our curiously different take on the famous frank’s hot sauce with ranch

On Wednesday’s they sell these for 50 cents each!

We also got the Cheesy Macho Nachos – 12 corn tortilla chips served with queso, refried beans, smashed avocado, sour cream and added texas chilli on the side.

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I’m not much for wings but hubby definitely is and he just loved these.

Hubby said they had a strong vinegar based sauce and they were perfect!

Just like the way he makes them.

Although I don’t eat wings I tried one and could see they had been cooked well and everything was fresh and crispy. I was almost converted!

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The Nacho’s were also really well done.

The cheesy sauce was gooey and oozed a little to the nacho’s below.

Again, all the sauces were fresh and the nacho’s themselves were large (not broken) and crispy.

The texas chili on the side was soooo delicious!! Again, a little too hot for my liking but I have a low tolerance. Hubby just loved it! The meat in there was so tender and the sauce had a beautifully sweet tomato taste. I couldn’t help dipping my fries in there later even though I knew it was hot!

The one thing that did bother me a little was that our mains were brought out before we were even halfway through our entree so we had a table full of food that was now all going to get cold. Perhaps it was just a mix up in the kitchen.

Hubby’s sliders looked good and deceivingly small…
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These buns were all full of flavour. They are not stingy when it comes to filling!
I also love the way they bring the food out on those silver trays.

Hubby said he really couldn’t fault a thing, it was all really great tasting. There was one he particularly liked that had a mustard sauce in it.

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My burger was equally good! I wasn’t quite sure how a “BLUE” burger was going to look or even why you would want to do that though. It’s green in the picture, but when you bite into it, the inside is blue.

I instantly tasted the mint jelly and wished I’d asked to not have that in the burger. Thankfully, there really wasn’t a lot of it. The potato skin was more like a slice of cooked potato rather than skin but that too was ok.
It’s a really big burger so probably not something you’d order on a first date!!! I ended up having to take some of the insides out and eat them separately.

Overall, I’m so glad we came here. It’s seems to be a buzzing place and you really don’t mind spending your money when you know the service, food and atmosphere are going to be good!!
I definitely recommend going down to The Curious Squire and having a look at what they have to offer but go on a Wednesday if you can to take advantage of that wing special!!

Have you been to The Curious Squire?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

East Taste Cafe

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A lovely waiter just makes our night!
We discover that it’s ok to use Pressed Metal on your walls and
Food so delicious you’ll definitely want to come back for more

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Diners today we had the pleasure of dining at East Taste Cafe which was first established in 2003 on Gouger st, the heart of Adelaide’s China Town.

My kids had actually taken me here a few years ago and we had a really great dining experience but a few years down the the track, when I wanted to revisit, I had no idea which place it was as there are so many great Asian restaurants on Gouger street.

Tonight I was catching up with a friend and she told me of a great place she had recently visited on Gouger street and wouldn’t you know it, it was the same place my kids had taken me too!!
I really couldn’t wait to see what the food was going to be like!


It was relatively empty when we walked in but it was still very early but most of the tables had “reserved” signs on them. In fact, by the time we were leaving every table was full and there was a lot of good eating being had!

You may have noticed the pressed metal on the walls. I’m not sure what I thought of that but I think it suited the place. The dining room was definitely very clean and that normally gives me confidence in the food that’s going to come out of the kitchen.

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Our waiter was just so adorable he could have sold us anything!

He was happy to engage in a bit of non intrusive small talk and we just thought he was so cute we had a photo with him.
I ended up cutting us out of this picture and I hope he doesn’t mind that I posted it but isn’t he cute? Such a lovely man and definitely an asset to this place.

We decided to order a few different things from the menu and share.

We started with a serve each of the  Shallot Cake. All I can say is “wow”! They were seemingly so simple, yet so full of flavour.

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The outer pastry was crunchy and light while the inside was gooey and full of the gorgeous shallot taste. I’m so glad we opted for a serve each! Just looking at that picture is making me wish I was eating them again.
Not too sure about the carrot and cabbage on the side. I just think it’s better to have nothing than to have something that can only work as a “filler”. There was no dressing on it, just a bit of colour on the side. That’s a very minor criticism though!
This was really a great way to start our meal.

We chose three items to share,
Coriander Chicken, Sizzling Black Pepper Beef and Vegetarian Fried Rice.

I must confess, I had to stop  myself from gobbling it all up myself instead of sharing.
Every dish was just so full of flavour and made you want to eat more and more.

First the chicken…
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I know some people don’t like Coriander. I don’t get it, but I know it.
This was very heavy on the coriander which just lifted this dish. The chicken was tender and everything else on this plate just married so nicely together.

My favourite of the night though was definitely the sizzling beef.

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Our waiter brought it to our table and did the final preparations before placing it down, sizzling heavily, on our table. It smelt so divine!!! And honestly, I don’t know how they get their beef to be so tender! It was just a pleasure to eat.
It was definitely a different flavour combination to the chicken, yet was equally, if not more flavoursome in its own way. I could have had double this serve on my own but had to show restraint! The mushrooms were definitely a stand out.

Finally the fried rice was again, just perfect fried rice.

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Again I tried to think of what they could have done to improve it and really, there was nothing! It was not too full of ingredients and there was a slight smokiness to it all.
I could have had a full serve of this to myself too!!

We were really in raptures over everything and as mentioned, by the time we left, the place was full and buzzing! I’m glad we’d got there early, enabling us to have a bit of a chat with our waiter. The fact that he was passionate about the food they produce was evident.
I really can’t wait to go back again!

 

Have you been to East West Cafe?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

 

Fedoras Restaurant

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We saw carpet, didn’t run, and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had in a while
We dine in an elegant and spacious dining room and
I’ve learned that a good Pork Belly is the true way to a man’s heart.

fedoraDiners today we were at Fedora’s Restaurant, just a short drive west out of the city’s CBD

From the moment I called to make the booking to the moment we walked out the door, they gave exceptional service.

I called late Saturday morning to make the booking and wasn’t sure we were going to get in. The person who answered had to speak to a manager and said he’d call me back. I really didn’t expect a call but true to his word, five minutes later he called back and we were in!

There were four of us dining tonight. The carpark was full but they have an attendant stationed there to let people know where else they can park and quickly stop anyone who mistakenly think they can park in the permit only areas on the streets nearby and not get a fine.

fed1We walked into a warm and spacious dining area. The smells hit us right away and I was so eager to see what the food would be like. I must admit being a little apprehensive when I saw carpet but there wasn’t a salad bar so I had no cause to be afraid!

I took the photo later in the evening but when we arrived, the place was full!! Yet the ambiance was such that we were able to have a conversation and be heard.

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I have to point out that salt on the table. You may remember when we were at “The Republic”  they had a similar salt bowl but no accompanying spoon. I like this idea much better…

I thought there was a good variety on the menu and was keen to try something a little different.

I noticed that with many menu items, you could choose “add ons” and create exactly the meal you want to have. I love that idea and have noticed more and more places are doing this.

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We decided to share a couple of entree’s to start.

Hahndorf Chorizo and a Japanese Entree Plate.

This was the first thing I sampled and oh wow!

The flavour hits you right away!

The chimi churi had such a kick!

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The other entree was the Japanese Entree Plate

Yakitori chicken skewers, vegetarian gyoza, salmon & nori rolls
I can’t emphasise it enough, everything on this plate was divine. From the nori rolls which were warm and gooey on the inside yet crispy and firm on the outer, to the gyoza and the tender and amazingly seasoned chicken. Everything was just to die for.

Now I had a raging hunger and my expectations for the main were very high!

The meals all came out at the same time which is always a plus.

I chose from the “Clean Eats” section of the menu. Vegan Paella but added Prawns which made it not so Vegan anymore.
(saffron rice, sofrito, roast garlic, artichoke, zucchini, roast capsicum & pistachio)

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I can still remember how delicious the prawns were. That was the first thing I tasted. I don’t know what they were cooked in, I tasted something unfamiliar but it was just divine! In fact this whole dish was really just perfect. The rice was crispy in places  and the flavour was amazing throughout. Sometimes you get diner’s envy, sometimes you’re the cause of diner’s envy!

One of our party chose the Chicken Kiev

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I don’t normally have a lot of chicken but this looked really good when it came out! As we know, chicken breast can easily come out dry but she said this was really moist and was cooked perfectly with beautiful flavours throughout… which seems to be the theme of tonight!

The two boys ordered the Pork Belly but with different “add ons”

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Hubby got extra pork and arancini balls with his serve.
They both said that the skin was crispy, (although one serve was definitely crispier than the other) that there was a beautiful flavour throughout and the meat was exceptionally tender and moist.
I had a taste of some of that salad and just LOVED it! It had fennel, coriander and orange. I think that may be my new favourite salad combination!

We were celebrating tonight and honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I was a little surprised that we weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks at any time during the night but that wasn’t really a huge thing for me and if we wanted it, we could have flagged someone down.

The wait staff were all so polite and invested in us having a good time. I cannot recommend this place highly enough and if you do make the trip here, I’d love to know what you think!

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

Till next we chow…