Nino’s Cafe

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Aromas entice and dictate our menu choice,
We find a Bolognese that wouldn’t offend a Vegetarian and
Someone’s eye’s were way bigger than his stomach….

ninos-of-victor-harbor-restaurants-fleurieu-peninsula-2.jpgDiners today we were at Nino’s Cafe in Victor Harbor. There were proud signs displayed that told us they’ve been around since 1974.
Simon and Kirsten Pitman  have owned and operated Nino’s of Victor Harbor for the last fifteen years.The business was previously owned and established by Nino and Angela Solari about twenty five years earlier.
Nino’s is a Victor Harbor icon which is located in the heart of Victor’s main street precinct and well known by locals and tourists alike.

It was just a regular weekday and it was almost two thirty when we arrived and yet there were lots of diners inside and out. Some were lingering over lunch while others were having a coffee and sneaky cake and if I forget to mention it later, their cake selection is just awesome!

The staff were friendly and although we weren’t greeted right away we felt like we’d walked into a friend’s home and felt immediately welcome. It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere. We found ourselves a table and were brought a couple of lunch menu’s.
I don’t think the decor has changed much over the last few years but I also think that there’s a charm and sense of comfort to this familiarity.

The menu was ok for a lunch menu. There was a good amount of pizza choices, a few pastas and some other lunch type foods such as burgers and focaccia’s.

Hubby kept looking through the menu but that smell of the pizza’s cooking did not allow him to consider any other menu item. It was really enticing!!
I decided to go for a pasta but as I didn’t want chili, seafood or a cream base, was limited to the spaghetti bolognese.  We also ordered some fries to share while our food was being cooked.

fullsizerenderOur waiter was lovely but he took this order by memory and fifteen minutes later I wondered if he’d forgotten because the fries still hadn’t come…
A little while later, all the food came out at once. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a starter…

There was nothing wrong with the fries and they were a decent serve, I just didn’t really feel like having them when I had my pasta in front of me.

Hubby’s pizza looked delicious!
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You never really know what kind of pizza base you’re going to get. Myself, I like them the traditional way.. .a little spongier but still with a firm base.
This one here was ok, but (Sorry Nino) it felt like a pre made base I could have bought from Coles.
Hubby really loved the toppings which were generous and fresh and honestly, the base was ok too, I guess it just depends on what you’re expectations are.  I’m an Italian-Australian and my mama would not make a pizza base like that.
In any case, hubby had all of it minus the crusts which he lovingly gave to me (we have a perfect marriage – one who loves crusts, and one who doesn’t) but realised his stomach had forgotten to signal that he was full and was quite uncomfortable for the rest of the afternoon!

I felt like I hadn’t had pasta for a while (though I have) and was really craving this meal!

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I took this photo from the “good” side. The other side didn’t have much sauce or cheese. I really wish they’d let you put your own cheese on. I hate when they bring it out to you like that already.
The pasta was ok. I didn’t have any major complaints. I normally choose a “napolitana” sauce because I really just love good tomatoes and basil over my pasta so I wasn’t disappointed that there was barely any meat in this Bolognese sauce. I really had to search for it. If you advertise something as being “Bolognese” then you should be able to taste it right? Still, it wasn’t bad and it did hit the spot.

My complaints are little ones and I would have no hesitation in going back to Nino’s. There’s just something about that place!

And next time, I’d definitely have to leave room for a cake and coffee!!

Have you been to Nino’s?
What did you think?
Let me know int he comments below!!

Till next we chow…

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Jamie’s Italian

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We are served meatballs that have us reaching for our water/wine
We discover Jamie’s secret…. add breadcrumbs to all your pasta dishes and
We learn that “salt” is a four letter word that is offensive and will certainly NOT be added to any dish!

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Diners today we were at Jamie’s Italian in the Adelaide CBD.

The first time I dined here was with a group of work mates shortly after it opened. I was almost wetting my pants with excitement that night but was completely let down.I was in a party of about eight and of those eight, only one of us enjoyed what they ate (and for the record that dish was the squid ink pasta or something like that)

Hubby had never been here though and some time had certainly past since I’d been here so I thought why not, lets go in and see if anything has changed.

The building is quite magnificent!! No doubt about that! And the moment we walked in we could smell pasta sauce, garlic and Parmesan and it just got us aching to taste that food!
The bathrooms in this place are quite unique too. In fact anyone who’s been there will tell you it’s worth the trip, just to get a look at them!
I took a few pictures when hopefully no one was looking to give you some idea…


The staff were pretty friendly. We looked around and noticed a couple of tables in booths and asked if we could sit in one of them. The waiter said we couldn’t have the corner one (more room) as that was reserved but we could take the smaller table next to us.

The only reason I mention this is that twenty minutes later, a couple who’d been sitting on the other side of that corner table moved themselves over (to have more room) and no one seemed too put out by it so why hadn’t they allowed us to sit there?

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The menu looked to be pretty much the same although there were a few different options on there from when I was here last.

I think it’s also a little pricier than when I was here last but I could be wrong about that too.
One thing that has changed is at least they have SA wine represented on the wine list now! Imagine!

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I love the look of this place. The room is so grand. There lots of “Italian” looking things around from the herbs hanging to the died pasta  in baskets on the side of the room.

They’ve obviously gone to some effort to sell that “Italian” part so why oh why will they not play Italian music in this place?

I had to listen to a mixture of old and new tunes.

I just think it would do so much more for the place and raise the authenticity.

Our dining neighbours on my right were very friendly and after I apologised for ogling their food (I wanted to see what it looked like before I ordered!) told me they’d ordered entree’ size and it actually looked like a decent portion! I was a little surprised as last time I’d been here I thought the portions were small.

j8Emboldened by their food I ordered the  Tagliatelle Bolognese. Hubby went for the Meatball Pappardelle. I noticed that most of their pastas came with “herby breadcrumbs”. I’m not a chef but I just think that’s a strange thing to put in a pasta dish.
Our drinks came by way of an absent minded waiter who plonked the glasses down awkwardly and left us a bit of extra herb on the side of one glass.

Did it come from his hand?
Was the glass unclean?
We’ll never know…

We’d ordered a serve of fries first. If you follow this blog you know that hubby and I do this quite a bit. Usually they range in price from $6-9 and we have enough to share before our main.

This is what we got at Jamie’s for $6.95 – I left the pepper shaker in the picture so you can have some perspective of size.

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Oh Jamie… not cool!!!! I wanted to cry!
The girls on the table to our left (Who we became quite friendly with) got their fries at about the same time and had the same reaction that we did! It was a shame because out of everything we ate, these fries actually had the most seasoning on them, yet they were so tiny.

So after a few fries we were eager for the main

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Above is the Bolognese. It looks pretty good I think. Unfortunately, they don’t give you any bread with their pasta. Bit strange isn’t it? I guess we could have bought some bread but I thought it was pretty much common practice to give you a few slices, especially if you’re ordering a pasta in an Italian restaurant!
The first thing I noticed was the crunch. I wasn’t sure what it was at first and then I realised it was the breadcrumbs. I have to say I’m not a fan. It made the pasta taste a little weird too… or maybe the pasta was just weird? I don’t know. Something just wasn’t right. I didn’t HATE it. I mean I ate it all, but something just wasn’t right.
If you look closely you’ll notice little orange bits in there too… they’re bits of carrot. Yes that’s right, carrots in a bolognese sauce. Not a fan of that either. At least my serve was a decent size though. Hubby was not so lucky.

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It looks pretty on the plate but he too had the crunchy breadcrumbs and he wasn’t a fan of that either. He thought it was bland. In fact so was mine. I’m pretty sure they don’t use salt in this place. I know you can add it but if the pasta or sauce is not cooked in salt it just tastes different. Nothing can make that better.
The meatballs themselves had an interesting taste. I kind of liked the fennel in there but they were sooooooo dry. They were so dry they were hard to swallow. Again, such a shame because at least these tasted good! But they were not pleasant to eat.

I’m really sorry I don’t have a lot of good things to say about Jamie’s. I still think it’s worth a visit, just don’t get your hopes up! The staff, at least some of them, interact well with customers.

We actually spent a good twenty to thirty minutes talking to the lovely girls on the table to my left about how disappointing the food was (oh we were social today!!!) but the funny thing was, when the waiter came to ask how everything was they said “oh yeah good thanks”. 
We all do that but I thought the timing of that question, was pretty funny.

So there you have it – Jamie’s Italian. Good building, Good bathroom, Some good staff but the food leaves a lot to be desired.
Gordon Ramsey where the F*&* are you!!!

Have you eaten at Jamie’s Italian?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…