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

IMG_5560

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

FullSizeRender (73)
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

FullSizeRender (87)
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

fed3
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!!
cooltext220125764176858.gif
Till next we chow….

Carmel’s

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We experience moo-verlous or moo-velicious steak ,
I find out that rare is better than medium-rare and
We try Black Onyx Beef for the first time and we like it!

carmel-s-cafe-bar-andDiners today we were at Carmel’s in McLaren Vale. A restaurant in the heart of South Australian wineland.

Hubby and I have been here many times before although it had been at least a few years since our last visit.

Although we arrived fairly early – 6pm – on a Thursday (steak specials night) I was surprised that there weren’t many people there. Last time we came was on steak specials night too and it was packed! When I got the menu I understood why. While the steak specials are ok, they are not what they were last time I was here. Last time I’m sure they were under or around $20 each, this time they were about $5 – $7 off the regular price.
Still, I knew the quality was going to be good so I didn’t mind too much.


I love the ambiance inside this place. Music playing softly, dim lighting, lots of wooden tables, an enclosed and added on paved outdoor area and a lovely fireplace going right behind us.

I thought the menu had lots of great options even for non meat eaters. I was intending to eat steak tonight seeing as I was here so I had a look at the specials and noticed a 300 gram black onyx rump. I probably don’t get out much but I hadn’t heard of black onyx before so I asked the waiter. He was very lovely and said he’d go and check with the chef as he didn’t want to misinform me.
They even have a link to it on their menu and if you’re interested, and it is interesting, you can find out more here http://www.blackonyx.com.au/our-story/

The waiter told us simply that it’s a cross between Wagyu and Black Angus beef. That sold it for me so I decided to go for that. Now every time I’ve ordered steak I’ve asked for it medium-rare but always thought it was cooked too much. I was just a little afraid of what I’d get if I asked for it rare. I mentioned this to the waiter and he said they could always put it back on the grill if I thought it was too rare so I chose to have it cooked rare.

Hubby went for the 350 gram scotch fillet which he chose to have cooked medium rare.
We also ordered some bread with a trio of butters.

IMG_6876
The bread was really nice. Very toasty warm and crispy and those delicious butters just melted on it when we buttered it on. My only complaint was there was not enough bread to the butter! We were hungry and went through those few slices very quickly.
From the bottom up, the butters were seeded mustard, tuscan herb & garlic and bacon jam.

I liked the herb and garlic one the best. The seeded mustard was ok but I didn’t notice a strong taste. The bacon jam was also ok but it had a strange sweetness to it.
It was a great starter though, accompanied by a delicious house cabernet sauvignon.

The mains looked soooo good when they came out!

The Black Onyx is on the left and the Scotch Fillet is on the right.
I’m not going to review them separately as we both were in raptures with our meals. The meat was just so gorgeously tender and I definitely made the right choice in ordering it rare.
The waitress who brought the food out to us came back a few minutes later to make sure it was ok but the original waiter who’d seen us at the door, also came back a little while after that to make sure it was ok for me and that I didn’t want it cooked a little more. I thought that was really great service.
I honestly wanted to go into that kitchen and shake the chef’s hand. I don’t have steak very often so I want it to be good when I do and this was really exceptional. I didn’t try any of hubby’s but gave him some of mine and he said they had similar seasoning but mine tasted “meatier”. I’m not sure what that meant but he liked it.

The fries and salad were really good too. You can tell they source quality ingredients and are proud of what comes out of their kitchen.

As mentioned, this was not our first trip to Carmel’s and I have to say we have been impressed every time we’ve gone, whether we’ve had steak, pasta or pizza. The food and service have always been great and I would definitely recommend this place if you are wanting a nice night out.

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

Till next we chow…