Papparich

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re lured by the promise of a free Roti,
We encounter an ordering system I can get behind and
There’s a reason why a “comfort zone” exists…

Diners today we were at Papparich on Gouger st in Adelaide.
We just happened to be walking past and saw some interesting dishes and happy people enjoying each other’s company and thought, well why not?
Hubby and I aren’t adverse to Asian style dishes however it’s normally not our first choice but we saw a sign that said we could get a free roti if we downloaded the Papparich app and, well, everyone likes a bargain right?

First thoughts on entering this restaurant is that the workers seemed rushed off their feet! We were sat at a table that we weren’t too happy about as it was right where the servers were rushing in and out from. Hubby asked if we could sit along the bench but we were told, “no, that’s not for you, that’s for banquets only”.
There were a few single tables with benches too so hubby said, “how about the one on the end?” only to hear “no that table hasn’t been cleared yet” as a reply. We looked at each other because it sure looked like it had been cleaned but we got the message, she didn’t want us to sit anywhere else but at THIS particular table.

She didn’t explain the ordering system to us, or ask if we’d been there before to know how the ordering worked. We soon found the notepad though that listed the instructions…
Make your selection from the menu, write down the menu code on the notepad, then press the buzzer and a waitress will  be there in seconds to take your order.
I have to say it’s pretty efficient and means you can take your time ordering what you want without worrying about the waitress coming every so often to see if you’ve made up your mind yet.

We could see the kitchen on our right (pic on left) and the unattainable bench seats on our left (pic on right)

We looked through the menu and chose a few things. We did also download the app to get the free roti. It was kind of helpful to have a picture of the meal we were ordering on the menu so we had a bit of an idea what we’d be getting.

I should also mention they have some pretty interesting drinks on the menu! We watched them going out too and I almost wished we’d ordered a couple to try…

Hubby ended up choosing some beef skewers for us to share to start.

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They probably look more impressive in this picture than they did when they were first plonked down in front of us. And I do mean “plonked”. In fact she almost slid it across the table in an effort to get back to the serving area to get her next order.
They were busy.

I wasn’t a fan of the skewers. I found the meat too dry and the satay sauce didn’t taste like satay to me. The raw onion and cucumber on the plate added interesting colour but not much else.
They weren’t awful but they definitely could have been better and certainly could have been served up better.

Hubby and I both chose dishes with prawns in them for our main.
He went with the Pappa Char Koay Teow – This wok-fried flat noodle dish comes with prawns, fish cakes, egg, bean sprouts and chives.
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Again, this dish probably looks nicer in the picture than it did when it was put in front of us. Oh look, you can see two of the three prawns that were in the dish in this picture!
Hubby said it tasted fine but there was nothing special about it and it was a disappointing presentation

The Beef Rendang was what caught my eye.  Biryani Rice with Beef Rendang and Sambal Prawns
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I got five prawns on my plate so I was happy even if they were on the smaller side. I also loved the Beef Rendang. The meat was cooked really well. It was really tender and full of gorgeous flavour. Yum!
I wasn’t a huge fan of the rice but only because I didn’t like the flavours in there. That’s just a personal thing. The rice itself was cooked well and was fluffy and light.
Presentation was okay…. I guess it’s probably not easy to make something that’s sloppy look good, but it doesn’t matter because it was tasty anyway.

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As for our free roti….

Well it was good I guess.
I have a feeling though that next time hubby and I see a “free x if you download our app” sign, we’re probably going to keep walking by….
This place is obviously popular so don’t let my review stop you going to try it.
It was just not for us and although it’s fairly cheap, I don’t think we’ll be going back here.
Have you been to Papparich?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!
Till next we chow…

Orientai – Brighton

Today on the Dining Diairies…

I play “find the beef cheek”
Diners envy takes a strong hold and…
Good company and wine trumps average food….

ls.jpgDiners today we were at Orientai on Brighton rd in Hove.
Now diners I have been to Orientai many times however it’s probably been at least two years since my last visit.
Previously, I had never had a bad experience here. I’d always found the food to be good and the restaurant to be full.

Maybe it was for that reason that expectations were fairly high. I was out with a couple of girlfriends and we just wanted to have a fun night out gossiping and enjoying some good food.

The interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed too much from memory. It’s fairly clean with dim lighting giving it a minimalist modern feel. The shades were put up so we had views outside and it felt good to be in there.

We were greeted by friendly staff and soon found our table and the laughs started pretty much right away.

We ordered a couple of entree’s to share and some drinks while we pondered what we were going to have for our mains.

The staff were pretty helpful in explaining a few things on the menu that we were a little unsure about.
The server also told us that they were fairly busy and the kitchen was chaos. I looked around the dining room and it didn’t seem overly busy to me but maybe they were understaffed.

We chose the Chicken Spring Rolls – Vermicelli noodles & finely chopped vegetables, served with sweet & sour sauce and the Steamed Prawn & Chive Dumpling – Served with mild red curry sauce or spicy soy sauce which conveniently came in serves of three.

The spring rolls were out first.

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I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad spring roll and this was no exception. The spring roll itself was thick and crispy and you could actually taste the chicken inside! I could also taste the vermicelli noodles which just balanced everything in your mouth nicely. Unfortunately after a few bites, it was all gone! The dipping sauce had a bit of a barbeque sauce taste to it. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be like that. It wasn’t unpleasant.
I should also add that salad was beautifully dressed. It had quite a zing to it!

The dumplings came shortly after and they were also quite a sensation.
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These were really delightful taste explosions in the mouth! They were pretty spicy inside but that sauce just added extra depth. I was surprised to read it was a curry sauce on the menu because it tasted a little “fruity” to me but I really enjoyed it and was really looking forward to our mains.

Unfortunately this would be the one time when I wasn’t too thrilled about the food here…

I was eyeing off a couple of items on the menu and one of them had a little symbol next to it, however the menu didn’t tell me what the symbol meant. I asked the server and she said it meant it was “popular”. Well surely you can’t go wrong with a popular dish right? So I went ahead and ordered the Black Bean Beef Cheeks – 5 hours slow braised beef cheeks served with green beans & capsicum

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I would have raved about this dish if I had actually got some beef cheeks on the plate. What I got was a hunk of fat and a couple of fork fulls of beef. What I did eat was really very nice, but it was about one quarter meat (being generous) and three quarters inedible fat.
I wanted to cry.
The vegetables were lovely. The sauce was a little salty however when I mixed it with the rice we ordered it was really very delicious.
I have to wonder what the kitchen thought of my dish coming back with a hunk of fat on the plate though. I know if that was MY restaurant, I’d be terribly embarrassed and looking to compensate the diner in some way.

One of my fellow diners ordered the Crispy Prawns – Wok tossed with capsicum, mushrooms &roasted cashew nuts. Mmmmm Sounds delicious right? I almost went for this myself just to get the cashew nuts!

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It looked…. ok… when it came out. There wasn’t a lot of  “wow” about it and although there wasn’t anything “wrong” with it, it wasn’t that great. It also looked a lot smaller than a lot of the other plates that were coming out of the kitchen.

The other dish that was ordered was the Thai Basil Noodle (hot) Yellow noodles with chicken, basil and seasonal vegetables

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Again this didn’t look super impressive when it came out. As the person who ordered this dish didn’t like coriander, I scored it. Yum.
She said however that it was not as “hot” as expected. When you put “hot” on a menu, you expect it to be hot right? She also couldn’t really taste the basil which is surprising as it’s on the menu. However she said it was all ok, just not something she would rave about.

I’d also like to mention that the staff were pretty lovely even though they said they were run off their feet and the restaurant seemed pretty  empty this particular night.

We did see some really lovely dishes coming out that looked a lot fuller than the ones we’d ordered and I had to wonder what they were.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been here many times and this was definitely not up to par with my past experiences. I really hope it was a once off or maybe it was just the dishes we’d ordered?
I’m sure I’ll dine here again but probably not in a hurry….

 

Have you been to Orientai?
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…

 

Casuarina Asian Bistro

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Luke-warm food almost makes us cry
We weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks and that almost made us cry and…
Good spicy food wakens our taste buds and definitely did NOT make us cry!

cas6Diners today we were at Casuarina in the Marion Shopping Centre.

There’s lots to love about this place and honestly I don’t know why I don’t come here more often.

One thing to note, this is not a “fancy” place so don’t expect fancy service. You will wait, but you will get pretty decent food and at a reasonable price.

We were dining on a Tuesday night and it was really quite busy at 6.30pm. My guess is it’s because of cheap Movie night at the Marion cinema’s! Whatever the reason, we were kept waiting at the entrance for a little while.
But that wasn’t too bad.

After a little while a nice waiter held up three fingers – yes that was to ask us if there were three in our party and I nodded enthusiastically and he led us to a table… I wonder which two fingers he would have held up if there had been two in our party.

The first thing you notice about Casuarina is that it’s a bright, modern looking restaurant. Lots of people making lots of noise. It seemed like it was a fun happening place.
The menu looked pretty good and had a nice amount of variety in it.

My two friends and I decided to split a couple of entree’s first. We’d ordered our drinks and food at the same time but for some reason, one entree came out, then five or so minutes later, one main and another entree came out.. and still no drinks. One of my friends had to remind the waiter what we were waiting for which shouldn’t have been necessary.

But onto the food!

The first entree we shared were spring rolls which conveniently for us, came three to a serve.

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While the taste was pretty good, it was immediately noticeable that the inside of the spring roll was cold. Had these been frozen and not left in the fryer for long enough? I don’t know, I was just a bit disappointed however, the flavours were good.

We also shared the Steamed Prawn Dumplings which also conveniently came in a serve of three.

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Now they WERE cooked all the way through and they were just delicious pillows of prawn. I loved everything about them. One of the sauces provided was a chili sauce and I’m glad I didn’t try it because apparently it was quite hot!! My tolerance is normally low but I’d recommend this dish,especially if you like a lot of heat in your food!

We were still waiting for drinks at this point which was a little disappointing… eventually our wine’s came but we were well and truly into our mains by then….

For main one of my companions chose the Char Kway Teow – Rice Stick Noodles with BBQ Pork, Prawn, Fishcake, Egg and Bean Sprouts, wok fried with a dark Soy Sauce.

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She said this had a great flavour throughout. The ingredients seemed fresh and it was just really tasty and enjoyable to eat. All the flavours worked well together.

Another of my companions chose the Green Curry Chicken.

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I had a bit of diner’s envy when I saw this come out!!! It looks pretty amazing! She said it was a perfect curry and just what she needed. It was fragrant and comforting and it was a pretty decent serve too!

I, with absolutely no idea, chose the Mee Goreng.

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I’m not even going to pretend to know what  Mee Goreng is supposed to taste like! All I can tell you is that it tasted great! The only complaint is that it was, like the entree, cold to luke-warm instead of temperature hot. There was a tiny bit of heat in here, just enough to wow my tastebuds and wake up those senses! I did enjoy this dish, I just wanted it to be temperature hotter.

Unfortunately no one came to our table to see how our meals were or to check to see if we wanted more drinks. We would have loved a jug of water! And maybe a sneaky second glass of wine….
I guess it’s a bit  of a “you get what you pay for” thing because the prices at Casuarina are really quite reasonable and most of the food is really good, and if you had to excel at either service or food, I’d probably pick food.

My diners and I hadn’t seen each other for some time so we were happy to gas bag and catch up but it was a bit disappointing that no one asked us if we wanted anything else (dessert) until the restaurant was almost empty and it was obvious they were trying to close up.

All that aside, I would eagerly come here again, even with the cold food, as I think they do a fantastic job and I just loved the flavours I experienced tonight.

I’d love to know what regular eaters of Asian foods think of this place!

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

Till next we chow…