Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

FullSizeRender[3]

It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
FullSizeRender[4]

The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

FullSizeRender[1]
I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

FullSizeRender

I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
FullSizeRender[2]

Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

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

Till next we chow….

Advertisements

Nonna and I

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We discover passion of a sort we haven’t seen before,
Chef Khalil romances us with his food  and personality and
We experience such an abundance of flavours that I’m already planning my next few visits…

FullSizeRender[3].jpgDiners today we were at Nonna and I, a cute little restaurant just off the Parade in Margaret St, Norwood.

Hubby and I had been looking at a few different places to go to and as always, I like to read a few reviews before I go, just to see what other people think. In my quick searching I couldn’t find one bad thing written about Nonna and I.

I almost walked past the entrance when we got there. It was mid afternoon on a Saturday and I called to see if they were still serving lunch and was told yes they were and to please come on down.
What I didn’t know at the time is that Chef Khalil himself answered the phone and also was the person who greeted us at the door.
He settled us in, answered a few questions I had about the restaurant then left us to look over the menu.

As I read down the list I said “ooo I’m going to have that” then something else would catch my eye and I’d exclaim “No, I’m going to have that!” and then something else would come up and I’d change my mind again. There are so many enticing selections on the menu.

The catchphrase of Nonna’s is “Come hungry, Leave happy” and in fact, Chef Khalil said these words to us.  He is so passionate about his food and restaurant that it really is infectious!

We started with some Bruschetta to share.

fullsizerender2
What I loved most about this dish was the crispiness of the bread. It was absolutely perfect!! I don’t want my Bruschetta to be any other way! The lovely taste of tomato and basil was just what I wanted. I could have had a touch more olive oil on there but it was still a really nice start to the meal and I’m sure that if I’d asked Chef Khalil for more olive oil he would have come and drizzled it on in an instant!
His aim is to make sure you have the perfect dining experience.

For main, hubby chose one of the specials. Beef Cheeks. He’d never had this before but we know when it’s cooked well, there is nothing better than a good Beef Cheek.

fullsizerender1
Just looking at that picture makes me sad I’m not still eating it. I don’t even know what to say, I’m stunned by flavour into silence. It blew our expectations. The wine jus was just divine and I told hubby he HAD to mop it up with the bread that had been brought to our table.

I ended up choosing “Veal alla Nonna” Topped with eggplant, mozzarella & roasted pepper in light neapolitana sauce.

fullsizerender
Again this dish impressed me immensely. Chef Khalil is not shy with portion sizing.
There was a good amount of cheese and eggplant over this dish and it was just perfect. The veal was tender and tasty and topped with my favourite ingredients that were fresh and perfectly seasoned. I just don’t know how he could have made this any better.

After he brought out our mains he checked to see if there anything he could do to make it better for us.. more salt? pepper? Anything we didn’t like? He really wants his customers to enjoy his food.

By the time we were leaving we were the only ones in the restaurant and we started up a conversation with Chef Khalil that lasted a good half hour. This is beside the fact that he told us he’s the “quiet” one of the family.  He definitely is no wallflower!

But we loved talking to him and finding out about his life and how he has come to be where he is today. You’ll find some of his story on the Nonna and I website.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough and am very eager to get back there again soon!

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

Till next we chow…

Caffé Primo – New York Bar and Grill

Today on the Dining Diaries

We narrowly avoid an explosion of bread
I remember that eggplant is the best vegetable in the universe and
Hubby doesn’t order the steak and survives the experience… barely….

primo2Diners today we were at Caffé Primo … or maybe New York Bar and Grill… or maybe a combination of both. I think it’s actually a Primo’s within New York Bar and Grill. I’m not quite sure.

Being locals, hubby and I have come to this location quite often in the past. The nachos were just THE BEST!! But that was well before it was ever a Primo’s.

We were on limited time today and just wanted a quick bite to eat so as we were in Marion Shopping Centre anyway, we decided to lunch at Primo’s.

primo3We were there quite early so there were only a few tables filled. One of them had about three or four mothers and their children were playing in the play area within the restaurant.
I think this is a really great idea as it gives parents a chance to catch up and great to keep the kiddies entertained too!

I love the feel of this place. Most, if not all of the old New York Bar and Grill interior is still intact. It doesn’t feel like a Primo’s, it feels like something different!

primoWe got to sit in the nice spacious booth and took a look through the menu. I think there’s a pretty good choice on the menu and most things are pretty well priced.

Now it was entirely my fault as I didn’t notice on the front of the menu that it says a garlic bread is complimentary with all lunch meals. It’s there, right at the top of the menu, but I just didn’t notice it.

I almost ordered a bruschetta to have before my main but I’m so glad I didn’t when I saw the garlic bread/mini garlic pizza coming out.
I think, even though it is clear, it would be a good idea for the servers to mention that the diners will also get a garlic bread with their meal when they go to place their order.

primonybg3In any case, it was really good!

It was just like a mini garlic pizza!

Great toasted focaccia with liberal amount of garlic butter on there.

Delicious!

Probably best to stay clear of it if there’s to be hope of any kissing afterwards though!

Primo’s has a reputation of bringing out food quickly and today was no exception.
I thought both dishes looked pretty sensational when they came out.

Hubby chose the Chef’s Salad. I wasn’t sure I was hearing right when he ordered it. I didn’t even have to try to persuade him to get something non steak like, he did it all on his own! And I think he made a really good choice as it looked really really good.

primonybg2
The menu describes it as following: Tender pieces of chargrilled chicken with pan seared garlic prawns, smoked salmon, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, capsicum & lettuce with a balsamic seeded mustard dressing.
He’d asked for the dressing on the side.
So how did it taste? He said it was good and fresh. The dressing was quite creamy and he liked that.
He looked a bit wistful after eating it for a bit and said it didn’t have what he’d expect a good salad to have – and that is cheese, olives and bacon…
Personally I think he’s speaking as someone who normally says “salad is not a meal” and no matter that there were prawns, chicken and salmon in there, I think he felt like it wasn’t a real meal.
I think it looked amazing and would be a great choice for someone wanting a healthier option.

I chose to have a pasta – Fettuccine is my go to pasta – and I chose the Melanzane sauce.
Eggplant, mushroom & roasted capsicum tossed with caramelised onion in a basil & garlic napolitana sauce.

primonybg1
Honestly there’s not much I could fault about this. The pasta was cooked perfectly, the eggplant was absolutely divine. Every ingredient in there is or became my favourite thing. The one teeny complaint is that the Parmesan cheese, if that’s what it was, was below par. It looked and tasted like the “Parmesan” cheese that you can buy from un-refrigerated packets in the grocery store. It didn’t spoil the dish for me though as I devoured that thing and I was really really hoping hubby wasn’t going to ask me for some.
He kept looking into my plate saying “That’s not fair, I didn’t get olives” but I didn’t get olives either, he was eyeing off my eggplant.

When we left I was really pretty full and the place had filled up quite fast.

Primo’s, it may not be fancy but it’s one of those places that will rarely let you down!

Have you been to Primo’s at New York Bar & Grill Marion?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Ellenika

Today on the Dining Diaries,

The “specials” mustn’t have been special enough to mention,
One person’s “substantial” is another person’s entree size and
I’m still chasing the moussaka dream….

FullSizeRender (21).jpgDiners today we were at Ellenika Traditional Greek Taverna on the Marina Pier at Glenelg. This location has had a few changes in ownership over the last few years and I had been interested to come and visit since it became Ellenika.

It really was a gorgeous Spring day in Adelaide today and the Glenelg pier was streaming with people. We were quite early for lunch and the first thing I noticed as we walked into this establishment was the Greek music playing. I loved that! As I’ve always mentioned, if you’re going to pick a cuisine, you should also have that nation’s music playing.

The restaurant is decorated in the usual Greek “Blue and White” although I didn’t seem to capture that in the photos below. I thought the atmosphere was pretty good and I was eager to have a look through the menu.


Now I had searched for a website online but all that really came up was a Facebook page. That Facebook page however, did show a menu and on that menu was Moussaka!! I’ve been dying to have a good moussaka for quite some time. Every time I order it, it’s never what I expect its going to be.
When we were handed the menu’s today though, there was no moussaka on there! I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I asked the waitress when she came to take our order if they had Moussaka. She checked with the kitchen and said they’d run out last night and were prepping some for tonight – so – no Moussaka for me right now. Ah well.

There were lots of yummy sounding things on the menu though and I even tried a Greek wine which ended up being quite pleasant.

After we’d ordered, I noticed the specials board and kind of wished I’d changed my selections.  I don’t know why the waitress didn’t mention them before we ordered.

As there was no Moussaka and I felt like eggplant, I chose the Imam Baildi – Whole Eggplant filled with caramelised onion and tomato oven baked and served with a side of tzatziki and continental bread.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that this says “Whole Eggplant”. This dish was only $14 though so it made me think it wasn’t going to be that big. I asked the waitress and she said “Oh no, it’s a main and it’s quite substantial!”
OK… I took her word for it but as I wasn’t quite sure, we ordered a trio of dips for entree and a serve of spanokopita.

Everything on the menu was very reasonably priced in my opinion – in fact, surprisingly so.

When the entree’s came out I thought they looked delicious! The dips (from left) were potato garlic, fish roe blended with lemon juice and olive oil and tzatziki.
All the dips were divine!!! Very creamy and full of substance and flavour. The pita was warmly toasted and it was all very lovely and filling.

The spanokopita was equally delicious. Flaky pastry surrounded a warm and flavour filled filling. It had a nice strong spinach taste and was sitting on a bed of sweet tomato sauce which I mopped up with some of that pita!
Both plates were very delicious and hubby and I wondered if we’d now ordered too much because we still had our mains to come!

For main, hubby chose Souvlaki Hirino – Two skewers of tender pork fillet, marinated and skewered cooked on the chargrill and dressed with lemon oil. Served with roasted lemon potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables.

FullSizeRender (26)
It looked pretty good! Hubby was pretty much happy with everything although he said if he had to be picky, the pork could have been marinated more and it was perhaps a little dry. However the flavours were amazing and he enjoyed eating it.

My substitute Moussaka dish was the Imam Baildi as previously mentioned

FullSizeRender (27)
Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like a whole eggplant to me and remember this is a main. The waitress specifically said it was “substantial” which was her exact word. I know I can be a big eater but this is not a substantial meal. And it certainly isn’t a “whole” eggplant as the menu suggests. Where’s the rest of my eggplant?

Once I got over the size I really enjoyed this dish. It had a strong eggplant taste and the bread was perfectly toasted continental bread. I could have done without so much tzatziki however that would have left almost nothing on the plate.

In summary, the things I’ve “picked” on have been small. Let me say again, the prices here are really good and the staff are super friendly and really want you to enjoy their food.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this place if you want to have a Greek experience! Well done Ellenkia, we’ll be back!

Have you eaten at Ellenika?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow….

The British

FullSizeRender (7).jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

We are given the choice to BBQ our own meat,
We find out if bechemel sauce is a necessary ingredient for Moussaka
and staff sing the praises for another pub across town.

It certainly was a lovely day in Adelaide today and I quite enjoyed the drive to The British hotel that ended up taking us through the city.
I had never been to the British before, though I’d been up and down Melbourne St a million times in my life, I’d never even know of this pub that was around the corner.

It looked nice enough from the outside; quaint even. We walked in and a lovely staff member saw us right away and took us to a table.
I immediately loved the decor in this place. Corrugated iron, chunky wooden slat tables and chairs with wrought iron. Lovely greenery throughout and red pavers on the ground to give you the illusion of being outdoors, even though we were in heated comfort. It felt familiar and comfortable.
Music was playing that was loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that it was a distraction.

I ordered an Annie Lane’s Cabernet Merlot and read through the menu.
I thought it was a nice varied menu and was determined to get something different this time.
tile_venue_1_British+Hotel_640x640.jpg
The most interesting thing about the menu, and in fact, the British Hotel, is that for a discounted price, they allow you to cook your own meat.

Hubby and I thought this might be fun to do if you were coming down with a group but honestly, I think I spend enough hours cooking at home and was happy enough to trust a professional to do it in the kitchen.

I think it’s a great novelty though and I’m sure many people have done this in the past.

FullSizeRender (2)
Wedges

Being a little boring, we started off with some Wedges to share, served with sweet chili and sour cream.
Hubby can’t go past a good piece of meat these days and ordered the Sirloin. I felt a little more adventurous (for me) and ordered the Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka with asparagus salad and red capsicum sauce.

Always eager to make sure we’ve made a good choice I eagerly watched other dishes coming out. They looked gorgeously grand and seemed to be quite generous serves. Tick!

I wasn’t disappointed when my lentil moussaka came out.
It looked so colourful and smelt wonderful. I don’t often eat lentils but I do like them so this was a treat for me today.
I’m usually a huge fan of moussaka so I was really curious to see how they were going to make a lentil moussaka

FullSizeRender (4)
Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka

The lentils were just divine and there was just enough spice to bring an immediate warmth to your mouth, but not to overpower the taste. I could still taste that delightful eggplant and with all the elements combined it was a party in my mouth! Well done!

FullSizeRender (5)My only criticism is that I wouldn’t have called this dish a Moussaka.
What part of it made it a moussaka? That it had eggplant? Because for me, that’s where it would have ended.
There was no cheese or bechemel sauce in this dish, nothing to indicate to me that it was a moussaka.

I may be wrong in my assumption of what makes a moussaka. Either way, it was delicious anyway and it’s probably sexier to call it a moussaka rather than lentils wrapped in eggplant… So I do get it, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting even if I enjoyed it all the same.

Hubby’s sirloin looked great when it came out too

FullSizeRender (3)
Sirloin Steak

If I was to have any criticism, I would just say the dish itself looked a little boring. There were really only two colours on here. Perhaps a little bit of green might have lifted the presentation and made you feel like you were eating something special.

As it was, the meat was really well cooked and beautifully tender. Hubby asked for it FullSizeRender (6)medium rare.

It looks kind of medium to me in this pic, however as he got more into it, parts of it were definitely rare, bordering blue.

Although I normally don’t eat a lot of meat, this is how I love my steaks and hubby wasn’t complaining about it either as he said the flavours were really delicious.
There were a few pieces of sinew in there which kind of spoilt his experience a little but I guess you have to expect that maybe?

Another small criticism is that I wasn’t asked at any point if I wanted more wine and hubby and I weren’t asked how are meals were.
I think it’s really important to make sure the diner is happy with how their steak has been cooked especially. However, this is a minor criticism as we had no complaints.

While we were paying for our meal, I got talking to a staff member and I was telling him how I was really enjoying visiting different places that I normally wouldn’t have gone to and he asked me if I’d been to the Publishers Hotel.
I said in fact yes I have! And that I had been really impressed. He said he’d also heard it was really good and was really looking forward to going there himself.

All in all, a very satisfying experience.

Have you eaten at The British? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…