BarZaar

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A Lamb Shank creates food envy,
A wonderful server makes us feel right at home and
Good food at a reasonable price right in Unley!

BarZaar

Diners today we were at BarZaar on Unley Rd and what a good little place this turned out to be!

We had seen this place popping up on our Facebook news feed and were actually thinking it was referring to another establishment. I’m so glad we looked into it a little further today.

The first thing you notice as you walk in is that it’s like an older type dining room with a modern feel. There’s lots of orange and brown colours. I was still trying to work out if I FullSizeRender[4]liked it or not when a nice young server came and spoke with us.

He gave us some menus and said he’d be back to take our order. He was super attentive, informative and helpful and made us feel welcome and comfortable.

From our table we could see the outdoor area and noticed this cute little herb garden. There was a sign there saying the chef grows his herbs there but anyone is welcome to take what they need as well. How cool is that!!

It was way too cold to consider eating in that outdoor area today but I bet it would be a great place to sit in the Summer time… if you don’t mind traffic noise that is.

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There is some association with the SANFL Sturt Football Club but we didn’t really find out anymore about that. If you’re supporter, you probably already know about this place!

I was happy when they brought bread to our table.
It seems fewer and fewer places are doing that.
Not only did they bring bread, but it was crunchy and had those delicious sesame seeds on top.
Yum!

We decided to share a starter. Hubby chose the Lamb Kofta. I must admit, I was too busy faffing about to see it on the menu so I wasn’t really sure what he’d ordered but I thought it would probably be yummy.

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And they really were yummy!!! They brought out a sauce to have with them. I thought it was like a tzatziki but hubby thought it was more like sour cream and chives. I think I was right. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a menu online so I can’t confirm it.
Either way, these were really delicious. They were flavourful, held their shape and just glorious when dipped in that refreshing sauce!

For main I thought I’d try the Lamb Shank! It’s been ages since I’ve had one but what sold it to me was that it was served with couscous.

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It looked soooooo good when it came out! As soon as I put my fork to it, morsels of lamb fell away from the bone. It was exquisite! I could see hubby was getting jealous… I’ll get to that in a moment. Not only was the shank really well cooked, but the couscous was just so delicious! It had bits of eggplant, capsicum, onion and I think there were sultanas in there too? Such a beautiful combination of flavours. I could have had a plate full of only that!

Hubby was pretty food conservative today and went for a chicken parmigiana.

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Even though he had this pretty and colourful plate in front of him, he kept looking over at mine. I pinched one of his chips and thought they were really seasoned well!! Nice, crispy and were just tasty.
He said the meat was well cooked and there was certainly a generous amount of cheese on there! The salad was also really well dressed. I just can’t eat bits of lettuce and tomato if there’s no dressing on them but so many cafe’s do that!

Even though he was eating his meal, he was still eyeing off mine and jealousy can be a cruel master so I let him clean my shank bone. What a good wifey am I.
He eagerly took it and got the remaining bits of meat off.

BarZaar is not some fancy place, it’s an every day bistro on Unley rd and if you’re looking for a good honest meal, you just can’t go past it!

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

Till next we chow…

 

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Walkers Arms

Today on the Dining Diaries

Empty dining rooms leave a lump in our throats,
An interesting menu makes selection hard and
Can a vegetarian dish really cost over $25?

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Diners today we found ourselves at Walkers Arms on North East Rd.

I have so many memories of Walkers Arms before the restoration. That is, when it still had the buffet restaurant with those delicious selections that you could avail yourself of, over and over and over again. It was a gluttons wet dream. It definitely was my favourite all-you-can-eat restaurant in Adelaide!

But like anything else in life, things change.

Hubby and I knew there no longer was a buffet part to this restaurant but were still interested to see how it had changed since it’s refurbishment. And as we liked the buffet food, the a la carte menu food had to be good too right?

We were struck by how few people were around as we entered. This place was hustling and a bustling on a Sunday in the past!!! In the past…. when the buffet was still happening… Today only a handful of tables were occupied and it was a Sunday afternoon. That can’t be good for anybody…


The picture on the right shows the now empty buffet dining area. I’m not to sure what the plans are for this area but it was sad to see it sitting there not being used. No doubt they will do something amazing with this space in the months to come…

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Hubby and I got a nice, heated, spot outside (pic on far left above) and started off with the classic, Salt and Pepper Squid with aioli and lemon

I thought this wasn’t bad value for money. The Squid had a nice texture to it and the aioli and lemon were just perfect.

It was a great way to whet our appetites.

The menu was pretty good. It had your usual pub fare plus a few different things. I was a bit undecided as to what I was going to have for mains but ended up choosing the Vegetable Tagine – Seasonal vegetables in Moroccan style sauce, cous cous, labna, preserved lemon, mint and dates.

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I thought there were beautiful flavours throughout. The vegetables were just gorgeous in the Moroccan sauce. The lemon was unexpected and added a bit of zing in your mouth. I enjoyed this dish a lot but I wasn’t sure if $25 was too expensive for a vegetarian dish. I know there’s a lot of work/elements that go into it, but when you consider that you can get a beef or chicken parmigiana for under $20 it seems a little over priced but maybe I’m wrong.  In any case I did enjoy it so I didn’t mind.

Hubby decided to go for the ribs. Unfortunately I couldn’t find them on their online menu so I can’t tell you how they were described on there.

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I thought they looked great when they came out! Hubby got that glazed over look again and could barely wait for me to take a photo before digging in.

He said they were very tasty. The sauce was kind of sweet but also had a tanginess to it.
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I wanted to see the inside after he’d cut into it and had to take a pic because it looked so good!

That even makes MY mouth water and I don’t usually go for ribs!

With regards to the empty tables, I hope what hubby and I saw on this day wasn’t the norm for Walkers Arms as the food was pretty good and I’d hate to see people not coming here anymore just because the buffet is no longer here.

In fact, I’m looking forward to going back and trying a few different items from the menu or I’d go back even just to sit outside in the comfy outdoor area and watch a game of footy on their big screen TV’s.

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

Till next we chow…

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…

Alma Tavern

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We venture past a point we hadn’t gone before,
Hubby eats cous cous and actually loves it
We don’t have a Mark Ricciutto sighting but there’s always next time!

almafrontDiners today we were at The Alma Tavern on Magill rd at Norwood.

We have actually been here a few times in the past ten years or so but each time we walk to the restaurant part, we look in, then turn and walk away. It just hasn’t felt like a place we wanted to dine in. I may be a little unfair to the Alma in saying this as it wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, it just didn’t do it for us.

However as I had recently heard a few good things about it and being a Mark Ricciuto fan (part owner and ex Adelaide Crows Captain) I wanted to go down and see for myself.
I’m so glad I did!

The Alma has a great outdoor bar area. Lots of screens showing different sports and great seating with good music playing. We walked through there to get to the restaurant.
This time, instead of turning the corner into the restaurant and turning to walk back out again, we actually went in. alma1

A really nice guy met us and showed us to a booth. I can only describe him as a young blonde Mr Bean. A very lovable Mr Bean! He was so helpful and polite.
So far so good!

The dining room was really comfy and bright. Lovely soothing colours.

We felt comfortable right away.

The menu had some really fantastic options on there and I was having a little trouble choosing.
We ended up starting with Panne – warm crunchy bread loaf with Adelaide Plains extra virgin olive oil & whipped butter

img_7185Bread is just bread right? WRONG! This bread was delightfully warm and doughy yet crunchy on the outside and it was a decent serve.

The olive oil was just too good. I ended up having my bread just dipped in that while hubby had the whipped butter (hidden in the pic)

I was really excited for the mains now. I’d been watching other food come and it and it all looked so good! Most of the food I’d been seeing was really well presented and colourful on the plate so it made me wonder what ours was going to look like.

Hubby ordered the CHAR-GRILLED LAMB & CHORIZO SKEWERS –  SA lamb & smoked chorizo skewers with capsicum & Spanish onion & lemon, served on a fresh tomato, cucumber, Kalamata olive cous-cous salad with charred lemon, honey mint yogurt & beetroot crisps

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This photo doesn’t do it justice. What you see on top are the beetroot crisps. That was the first thing he (and I because I just had to) ate and they were soooo good!! So crispy, full of beetroot flavour and sweet! I could go through a plate full of those easy!
Hubby said his meat was really tender and tasty. What I was most surprised about, was that he ate the cous cous! He normally turns his nose up at cous cous and thinks it not to be real food. This was just exceptional though, especially with a bit lemon squeezed through. The salad with tomato and spinach was really nice too. Those tomatoes were also sooo sweet and it was just all so fresh and begging you to eat it! Well done Alma!

I didn’t have diners envy though because mine was just as good and maybe even better.
I chose the CRISPY SKIN ATLANTIC SALMON – pan seared Tasmanian salmon dusted with mixed dukkah spice, served with a spiced beetroot puree, lemon & herb cous-cous, topped with a tomato, sweetcorn & coriander salsa, orange aioli & charred lime

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Everything about this was perfect. Look how pretty it is on the plate. It was well presented and the quality of all the ingredients could not be faulted. That was definitely the crispiest skin I’ve eaten and it had so much flavour in there! The salmon itself was exquisite. Honestly, I can’t praise this dish enough. It was just heavenly.

Whenever hubby and I have an experience like this where everything has been amazing, I just have to tell the servers because I don’t know that they usually get that kind of feed back. I imagine they probably get a lot of comments about what people didn’t like. Give praise where praise is due I say!

So we didn’t see Mark Ricciuto this time, but I’ll keep listening to his morning radio show with Ditz Ditts and I’m sure there will be a next time!

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

Till next we chow…

Le Riad

neo_img_imgp5747.jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

Carpet and guns on the walls,
America Ferrera is now waiting tables and
Food that has us saying “we’re coming back” just after a couple of bites.

A “riad” is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.

Le Riad is a place that’s almost hidden even though it’s situated on a main road and right by a very popular pub/restaurant. This place had been recommended to me by someone I trust so I was eager to try the food.
They advertise as having real Moroccan cuisine and when I looked at the menu on line, I knew I was going to have trouble ordering as everything sounded good and new (to me)

I wondered if I should even make a booking but when we got there I was glad we did as there was only one table available and that was for us. The place was packed!

The first thing we noticed was the deadened sound. In other places we go to, due to modern decor, every clang and chink is amplified as sound bounces off every surface but at Le Riad, the carpet on the floor and the rugs on the wall deaden it all.
It had me feeling a little unsettled at first!
The next thing we noticed were the guns on the wall. Although this unnerved us a little too, there was still something homey and comfortable about the place. We couldn’t put our finger on it just then but later we noticed that there were both families and couples dining and not one person (bar me) had their phone out! Can you imagine that? In a crowded albeit small restaurant, no one was playing with their phone.
I felt like I’d been picked up and thrown into another time and country.

It was also very red and very dark in there. I tried to take some photos but they were all poor quality, as with pictures of the food I took, there just wasn’t enough light.
Having said that, if your aim is to have a nice romantic dinner and you have no need to photograph your food, then you are in for a treat.

We looked through the menu and on each page I changed my mind about what I was going to eat. Everything seemed so exciting to me! Lots of authentic dishes to choose from.
I ended up ordering the Goat Tajine – Goat and mixed vegetables gently cooked with a mix of Moroccan herbs and spices.
Hubby ordered the Mixed Grill – Lamb, chicken, kefta, merguez sausage, served with hummus and bread.
And just because we wanted to sample more, we ordered Lamb Couscous – A traditional Moroccan dish.Couscous is steamed over spiced lamb and vegetables
I also desperately wanted to try some of the Moroccan bread they had on the menu but sadly they were out.

Our waitress was so lovely, friendly and accommodating and bore a striking resemblance to America Ferrara.

We arrived at the restaurant just before 7.30pm. At 8.18pm I noticed that our food hadn’t arrived yet. In any other place I would have noticed this a lot sooner but there is a lot to take in on your first visit to Le Riad.
You can only see so many dishes of hot steaming food going out to other tables before food envy sets in.
At 8.23 and tummies are really gurgling now… but let me add, we were happy. We weren’t grumpy, we were just more excited to try what we had ordered.
8.26 and America Ferrara look alike comes and sincerely apologises for the wait and offers us free drinks. Now how lovely is that! We hadn’t complained, we were sitting there smiling and talking, yet she still came over with this lovely gesture! Double ticks for that!

Ten or so minutes later our food came. I just love it when the first thing you notice about your food is the smell! It was heavenly and not like anything I had smelt before so it’s a little hard for me to describe. I don’t know what traditional Moroccan spices are.
It was definitely hearty and rich and just what you’d want on a fresh Autumn night.

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Goat Tajine

 

My Goat Tajine was exquisite.

Again, I have to apologise for the picture quality as it was really very dark in there.

Hopefully you can imagine how wonderful this dish was. Rich with flavour and colourful it was very very inviting to eat. I felt like I’d been transported to deliciousness heaven.
The goat was amazingly tender and I had to wonder why we don’t eat this meat more often.

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Mixed Grill

 

Hubby, being a meat lover, ordered the mixed grill and he wasn’t disappointed either.

A nice sized dish with lovely elements. The meat and bread had a charred smokey taste
The hummus was fresh and lovely when eaten with that crispy bread.

.There really wasn’t anything we didn’t like!

 

 

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Lamb Couscous

Lastly we sampled our Lamb Couscous. I must admit, I found it hard to find pieces of lamb but even so, it was equally delicious. The cous cous was light and springy and I loved the burst of coriander I tasted every now and then. I wondered later if I had ordered a chicken cous cous, if it would have given me a different flavour throughout as I didn’t think the lamb taste was particularly strong however still a very enjoyable dish.

All in all we loved our time at Le Riad. The restaurant is comfortable, the wait staff are lovely and I’m pretty sure this is a family run business. They genuinely want you to have a good time and to love the food as much as they do.

On Saturday’s they also have a belly dancer come in and do some belly dancing. It’s a shame we didn’t go on a Saturday! That would have been a treat!

I’m eager to go back and try some more items from the menu.

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

Till next we chow…