St Francis Winery

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Potential elegance awaits,
Pretty food wows diners and
The specials boards entices us to eat things we wouldn’t normally….

898718-st-francis-wineryDiners today we made a trip to St Francis Winery which is on Old South Rd at Reynella.
The website says the Winery was established around 1852 and if you’d like to know more about the history of the property I’d encourage you to have a look through their website.

As for us, we were just having lunch today although it is a perfectly picturesque place to have a wedding or other function. In fact, I must mention I remember coming here a few years ago when I was part of a female barberhop quartet and singing at one of those functions!

As you walk into the main dining area you get a feeling that you’re walking into an elegant room. On closer inspection you notice that perhaps it could do with a complete refurbishment. The furniture and carpets look a little dated but what this room does have going for it are the pretty green views from the large windows.

The staff were very courteous and guided us to a table. The menu had some really interesting things on there, including a share plate as part of their “specials” board, that had crocodile on there! Well we just had to try that!

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From left we had Peking Duck shanks, Tempura soft shell crab, Salt and Pepper Crocodile and a Crispy Asian Salad. I guess the salad was under the Tempura soft shell crab.

What I loved about this share plate was that we got to try things we wouldn’t have normally eaten. Now I have had crocodile once before, and that was in Cairns. The crocodile on this dish was a much “chunkier” piece and I got to have a good taste. I remembered what I’d said about it the first time I’d eaten it. It seems to have a taste that’s in between seafood and meat. It’s not a tender meat, but it does have a slight seafood taste. It can be tough and stringy and yet there’s something pleasing about it also – That could have something to do with the way it was cooked and flavours that came with it but I really liked it.
The next thing I tried was the Peking Duck. I’m not sure what the “Peking” part actually means but these were cold slices. They tasted ok and as expected were very similar to chicken. It was just a little strange having a cold meat on a dish that had two other hot meats.
The Tempura soft shell crab was also interesting. I must admit it was a lot “mooshier” on the inside than I was expecting. I have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like, I can only comment on what I ate. It was cooked in a very crispy and tasty batter so I enjoyed it, but I can’t say I got to taste a lot of the crab.
The share plate came presented really nicely and again, I’m glad we ordered this and got to try a few things we normally wouldn’t have.

While we waited for our mains I saw other plates coming out, including a few dishes I’d been tossing up between and they looked really good!!! Everything coming out looked so pretty on the plate! I like that they place a lot of importance on presentation, without skimping on the size of the meal.

For main, hubby ordered from the specials board also. He picked the Beef Brisket.
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I noticed this on the specials board too but couldn’t get past a bad experience we had with Beef Brisket at another establishment….
But look at how good it looks! Those vegetables especially!
I offered to trade one of my potatoes for one of those onions on hubby’s plate but he said no way.
He said the meat was tender and had a nice smoky flavour. The vegetables were a great accompaniment and the mash had a nice, subtle, garlic flavour.
I’d probably be more inclined to have this on a cold Winter’s night than a humid Summer day but still, he enjoyed what he had.

For main I chose the Atlantic Salmon
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This Salmon had the best and most crispiest skin I’ve had since I started reviewing. It was really beautiful to eat. If it had been cooked any longer, the Salmon would have been in danger of being too dry but as it was, it was cooked well and had a beautiful colour and taste to it.
I’m not too sure what was on top of the salad but that was nice and fresh. The vegetables were crispy and gave the dish a nice colour variation!

I really liked the way we were treated by the wait staff too. They were present but not so much that it ruined your dining experience.

The one little negative, probably not worth mentioning but I will, was I tried the wine they recommended, and I can’t say I liked it – That’s kind of disappointing when you’re dining at a Winery however it was a minor thing.

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

Till next we chow…

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Hoosegow

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Fat chips are my new best thing
The hostess became my new best friend and
We learnt Wagyu Rump can be the best meat and is also served with the best fat.

hg2.jpgDiners today we finally made it to Hoosegow!

This is proving to be a popular place! I had heard so many good things about it that when we finally made it my expectations were super high.

I called to make a reservation and Shadia was so lovely on the phone. I had to call her back later to amend the time and she didn’t seem bothered by it and thankfully it didn’t affect our booking.
When we arrived she spoke to me by name like we were long friends. In fact all of the wait staff were friendly but not overbearing. They all wanted you to have a great time and to feel comfortable and at home.

hg1The front looks pretty unassuming but what a difference when you get inside!

It was elegant, dim lighting, lots of dark colours and interesting things to look at.
That photo of the interior was not mine but one I found on the internet – I’m always a bit hesitant to put up photos with other diners in them.

img_7629Each table had at least one candle on it.

A lot of the reviews I’d read mentioned that they’d received complimentary something or other when they arrived, and given the prices at Hoosegow, I’d think that would be a nice gesture but unfortunately we didn’t. But that’s ok.

The menu is not large but again I prefer a smaller menu that the kitchen staff can do well, over a large menu with lots of choices that the kitchen staff struggle to keep up with.

I have to mention this also, when we walked in, they were playing “Pink Martini” who I absolutely adore!! Poor hubby had to sit there and wish he was somewhere else while I excitedly sang along with some of the tunes…

We ordered our food and watched other dishes coming out. The aromas were just to die for! The food looked pretty good too! I noticed the relationship between kitchen and wait staff seemed pretty good. They were very busy but there were no frowns… they were just quickly doing what they were supposed to be doing, working together. I hate seeing a stressed kitchen.

For entree we ordered the Mexican Chilli Squid with Charred Cos Lettuce.

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I must admit when it came out we were a little disappointed because it looked so small. Just a tiny piece of squid for $14 but honestly , the taste was just divine. That squid was cooked perfectly. The cos lettuce also had so much flavour!!! I could have had a couple of those for my dinner alone!
I had to be careful not to eat any of those red chili bits as they were hot hot hot!
It was a great start to the night.

For main I chose Guajillo Lamb Backstrap, couscous chickpea and herb salad, toasted pecan nuts

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I haven’t had backstrap before so I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like. The server told me that it’s quite a lean meat and I normally love lamb so I thought I’d try it. It was just melt in your mouth delicious! And I don’t know what their cooking process is but that lovely charchoal taste was throughout the meat and it was such a pleasure to eat.
I love the way it was presented on the plate too with that cute mound of cous cous.
It looked like a small serve but the meat was actually quite filling.

Hubby chose the MS5 Wagyu Rump 350gm served with fat chips and a smoked spicy tomato relish

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When it first came out I thought “wow”!! That looks amazing!
The chips were soooo nicely seasoned and the tomato relish was tasty and a nice accompaniment. The meat was tender and flavoured beautifully.Another great taste sensation from Hoosegow.
The only thing that bothered us was the enormous amount of fat.
fullsizerenderYou can’t see it in the picture above, but I took another picture when hubby was halfway through his meal.

There was still more fat to come.

A server came to ask how our meals were so I said “Is it normal to have that much fat?” And she said yes.
The answer seemed scripted so I guess she must get asked that quite often. I know wagyu is marbled meat, but I’ve had it before and I just don’t remember having that much fat on it. Hubby thought maybe it was because he’d asked for it to be cooked medium rare so the fat hadn’t drained out? I don’t know, but it made what seemed like a big piece of steak reduce to half the size.

We weren’t upset by it, and everything else was absolutely perfect but if anyone has any knowledge about this I’d love to hear your comments.

Hoosegow is a little on the pricier side but the service and food you’re going to get is definitely above average so it would be a great place to celebrate a special occasion.

Have you been to Hoosegow?
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…

 

The Pink Pig

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We enter a place that would terrify the strongest vegetarian,
We see yet again that the ratio of food to sauce provided is not right!!
I get to watch a hot young waitress try to put a bib on hubby….

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Diners tonight we were at The Pink Pig! The Pink Pig Wine Bar is an iconic establishment in North Adelaide.

I remember walking past there many times seeing that smiling pig on the outside, and wondering what was happening behind those doors.
Tonight I got to find out….

The restaurant is actually quite large! It’s a little deceiving because the front is not overly huge and I’ve never really been able to see inside. I’m not sure how many people it actually accommodates but you could easily have a larger party there.
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The lighting was pretty dim (hence my poor quality photos) and there was contemporary music playing. Staff were really friendly and when I said I had a booking the server spoke to me as if he’d been expecting me. Well I guess he HAD been expecting us but I felt very welcome and wanted.

He left us to look over the menu which I found to be a little intimidating. I had gone through the menu online earlier in the day and nothing really jumped out at me as I’m not a huge meat eater. I figured I’d see what I felt like on the night…
But if you are a meat eater, you would love this menu.
Did you notice the little piggy on the front of the menu? In fact there were little piggies all throughout the restaurant.

On first glance things seem a little overpriced but then I don’t know the quality of what I’m going to get so I didn’t want to judge anything too soon.

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There were four in our party and we placed our order with a nice young waitress.

I looked around to try to see other people’s food but they were either finished or waiting for their food also.

The decor made me feel like we were sitting in an Italian restaurant – minus the red and white tablecloths.

The area behind the bar looked pretty interesting too. It was hard to capture because the lighting was so dim in there.


After we’d ordered, a hot young waitress came up to the table and said “Ok who ordered the ribs?” and hubby cautiously says he did.

She then proceeded to put a bib on him that said “You need our bibs to eat our ribs”

 

 

Hubby was not impressed. At least he allowed me to take the photo above but as soon as that was done, that bib was off. However after that happened, I looked around and saw a few other people were wearing those bibs!! How messy was this going to get??

By this time we’d also seen a few meals coming out and they looked soooo good!! I was really really eager to try mine.

We’d ordered some garlic bread to come out first and asked the waitress if the serve was enough for the four of us and she said “Oh yes! There’s six slices in there” but what we got were six tiny little slices and while they tasted good and the garlic was strong but not overpowering, I felt like I’d only just had a bite and it was gone.

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My main was one of the first to come out – Thai Beef Salad – Mixed salad w. a spicy Thai chilli dressing
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I’m sorry the photo is so bad. It was really difficult to capture in that light.
I have to say this was really really delicious. The meat was soooooo tender I could almost hear an old crooner serenading me as I ate it… I had to force myself to leave it till last so I could end off with that taste and concentrated on the salad first. The dressing was pretty good although the menu does say spicy Thai chili dressing and I don’t think it was very spicy at all (and I normally have a low tolerance for that sort of thing) I would have preferred for the tomatoes to have been cut a little smaller though. I know I can cut them myself but they were huge horse like chunks and it was just awkward.

Hubby, as we know, went for the Pork Ribs – Oven baked in our famous spicy sauce, served w. pickled slaw

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There’s supposed to be fourteen pieces in there. It’s a really bad photo once again (sorry) Hubby was disappointed with this dish. You have to remember he’s coming from a restaurant background himself AND he is the rib KING even if he hasn’t made them in years. He said while they were tasty, they weren’t falling off the bone and stated that he could make a better rib with his eyes closed – and that readers, is actually something I can attest to!  So while he didn’t hate it, it wasn’t as good as it could have been and remember, the prices at The Pink Pig are a little higher than other places we’ve gone to.

I had been tossing up between the Thai Beef Salad and the Risotto Fungi, and another member of our party chose that so I was able to see what it would have looked like.

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I had a bit of diners envy when I saw it as it looked pretty good! She said that it was a very tasty dish. The rice wasn’t stodgy and the tomato in there gave the dish a lift and made it really very refreshing.

The last member of our party chose to have the Salt and Pepper Squid salad but when the meal came out, it wasn’t the S & PS Salad but the Salt and Pepper dish.The difference being the amount of squid to salad I guess – Oh, and the price..

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It was a generous serve of squid and he just went with it but they also charged us for the more expensive dish which I think they probably shouldn’t have. I also wonder why, when you’re paying more than average prices for a dish like this, they don’t just chuck in some fries on the side?
Did you notice the tiny little bowl of aioli? It didn’t take long for that to finish and there was still quite a bit of squid left. Why do restaurants do this?? I find it so annoying. It’s just a little thing that doesn’t cost the restaurant much but can go a long way in pleasing the customer. The squid themselves tasted ok but it was just regular pub fare and we were not in a pub.

I do think the Pink Pig is worth a visit even just to say that you’ve been there. The food we had ranged from ok to really good so I guess it just depends on what you order on the day. All the staff that interacted with us were really friendly and helpful and into their jobs, not just going through the motions.
We may even visit again one day in the next twenty or so years…..

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

Till next we chow…..

 

The Windsor

Today on the Dining Diaries…

 

It’s been a long time since I was the youngest person in a dining room,
We suspect the salad bar was filled with leftovers from the nursing home down the road and
An odd combination of flavours turns out OK in the end.

front3Hello Diners and I’m sorry to say this will not be a stellar review today. The team dined at The Windsor Retirement Home.

Probably our biggest dissatisfaction came from the fact that they are heavily geared towards Seniors.
The reason we came here in the first place was that hubby had been hearing ads on AM radio for The Windsor and how they had just renovated etc etc… The ad also mentions they have a salad bar – but hubby didn’t reveal that to me until we were actually entering the establishment…

Now in hindsight, there are two red flags there. One, the ad was on AM radio and two, they have a salad bar. I’m sure the Windsor is a wonderful place for seniors to gather and if you are one and want to give it a go, you’d probably love it, but I’m NOT a senior and I wish we had gone with our instincts and left – but we didn’t so here is the review.

img_6999First the good. It has a big clean dining area (with carpet).
I’m really struggling to come up with more. The food wasn’t terrible but I’ll get to that later.

So we grabbed a couple of menus and took a seat. The server had also told us “Specials are on the board” but the board was blank. Hmmm, I think that could have been another clue  for what was to come…

The menu was ok. Hubby and I chose a couple of items and I went to stand in the line of seniors to order and pay. The line grew longer and longer and didn’t move. I tried to see what was going on at the start of the line and discovered an elderly gentleman was disputing the price he’d been charged. You see the Windsor have a regular menu and a Senior’s menu. Apparently there was an issue because he’d ordered a Parmigiana and there was a two dollar surcharge for that. At least, I think that was the gist of what I was hearing. It just went on for ages then another server came over to explain the charges to him and the line just got longer and longer.
Nobody apologised to those waiting in line and no one moved us over to another register so we could order while the man continued to dispute this two dollar charge.

Finally I ordered and went to sit back at our table. That’s when I realised I was actually the youngest person in this place.
Hubby and I went to check out the salad bar and it was pretty average. Lots of mushy things in there – things that don’t need a lot of chewing.

Our mains looked pretty good when they came out. Hubby ordered the Windsor Stack – Layers of crumbed chicken on papadams with tzatziki and sweet chili sauce.

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Hubby said that it was a little weird at first because there was a pappadam with chili sauce and tzatziki – flavours that you normally associate with different cuisines but he really liked it. He said the chicken was cooked well and all those different flavours made it really interesting to eat.

I chose the Vegetarian Frittata – topped with tomato and grilled cheese.
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When it came out I thought they’d brought me out a chicken parmigiana! And I have to say that the topping was the best thing about this dish. The tomato and cheese were just delicious! The frittata was ok – It just didn’t seem to have the right consistency. I’m not sure I would have liked it at all if it didn’t have that grilled cheese and tomato on top. It was a generous portion so I was happy with that.

Hubby and I ate quickly and were eager to leave as we just felt so out of place. I could almost imagine seeing nurses and  carers coming out of an invisible nurses station to assist the remaining diners with their food and take them back to their rooms.

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

Till next we chow…