Panacea

Today on the Dining Diaries….

Latin music transports us,
Wonderful flavours “wow” us and
We interact with passionate staff who treat us like old friends.

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Diners today we were at Panacea at Marion.

I must admit, this was the place I was most interested in when the Westfield Marion addition/development was revealed.

I just love the look of it!
Lots of red exposed brick, wood and iron giving it possibly and industrial look? I’m not up with decor but I do know what I like and what makes me feel comfortable and at ease and this place does it for me!


We were greeted but lovely staff, handed some menus and went to take our seats.
The choices on the menu were a little different to what we were used to but they did seem really good and we had a bit of a hard time deciding what we were going to go with.

In fact out lovely waitress came and went a few times while we were still trying to decide what to eat and drink and that’s not usual for us! She was patient and answered all the questions we asked about both the restaurant and the food.

Finally we decided to start with Meatballs – pork & veal cooked in a rich tomato sauce,  as suggested by our waitress, and also a serve of Patatas Bravas – crisp fried potatoes with fresh salsa & sherry vinegar.
For main I chose the fish of the day special  – Atlantic Salmon – and hubby, much to my surprise, went for the Gnocchi. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how it appeared on the menu and it’s not on their online menu so I can’t tell you exactly what it came with, only that it had cauliflower and cream in it as well.

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The first plates came out fairly quickly.

How good do those potatoes look!!!

The salsa doesn’t look like much but it gave those potatoes such a unique flavour.

I wish I was experienced enough to tell you what herbs and spices were used, but whatever it was, it was just a magical pairing.

The potatoes were crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside and that salsa was sweet and just so delicious!

I was so glad we’d chosen this…. and equally glad I had taken my half and put it on a separate plate before hubby got his hands on it…

fullsizerender3Our second starter was the Meatball dish as suggested by the waitress.

Again this dish really impressed.

We had four good sized meat balls on this plate and they were as tender as you can imagine and full of flavour.

What I loved most of all though was that sauce!! The tomatoes were so fresh and sweet. It was so lovely to eat and the bread they brought out with it was crispy and toasty warm. I wish they’d given us a bit more bread actually!
It was a wonderful way to start and I was super excited to see what would be coming out next….

I’m pretty sure my choice was the best out of our two mains.

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That salmon could not have been cooked better. The skin was crispy and the inside was just perfectly cooked. It looks like a small piece of the plate but it was really deceivingly substantial. I was really hoping hubby wasn’t going to ask me for more (I did let him have a teensy taste)
fullsizerender1The potato rosti was also a great accompaniment.
I’m not a huge fan of hollandaise sauce myself as I usually find it too thick and too creamy but they had a generous amount on here for those that do.

Because I loved this so much I thought I’d show you another picture of my dish from a different angle. See how big that serve is?

Again the herbs and spices used were just perfect. I’m not a big fan of coleslaw but if you do like it, you would have loved what was on my plate. It was very creamy and I felt my hips widening just looking at it!

Hubby’s Gnocchi looked interesting .

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It was a little bit deceiving because he would go to get what he thought was a gnocchi, and it would turn out to be a piece of cauliflower.
He too said the flavour combinations were amazing. Pairing gnocchi, caulifower and walnuts is probably a brave thing to do but it really worked, especially when covered in that gorgeous creamy sauce.

One thing I was disappointed in was that I didn’t notice the Sangria on the drinks menu until we were well into our mains!!
There are also a good selection of pizza’s on the menu and I’m curious to see how they taste.

When I went to pay the bill, I told the server that everything was really good, the owner heard and came to tell me about some of the other food  items on the menu and to talk about his personal favourites, and then the chef came out too to hear what the feedback was about the food. Their passion really shines through and I loved seeing that!

Panacea, I will definitely be back and this time it will be for Pizza and Sangria!!

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

Till next we chow…

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Our Place

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Lunch turns into dinner…
Exceptional food is served over an exceptional time and
We are dazzled by the beauty of an Adelaide hills backdrop

Diners today we were at “Our Place” in Willunga. I really want to start off by saying “wow” but I should start at the very beginning….

I can’t say it’s an easy place to get to. It was a forty minute drive from Westfield Marion.
Even once we saw the place looming in my Google Maps, I still couldn’t work out which building it was until I saw a faded sign that said “Our Place” and screeched “turn here, turn here!!!” to hubby. It was very hard to spot as it’s just a modest “house” from the road and if I hadn’t seen the sign, I wouldn’t have known that was it.

We parked the car and instantly were struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


The photos don’t do it justice. There were a few “hearts” etched into the grass which I thought was a nice romantic gesture on someone’s part but we never found out the story behind that.

We walked into the building and here’s were modesty stopped.
We went from oooing and ahhing over the landscape to oooing and ahhing over the interior.
There were just too many things to look at.

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The photo above is part of a balcony area which was quaint and had a lot of charm in its own way.

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This was our table and as you can see, we had views of the surrounding landscape (above) and views of that serene indoor pond (below)

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So the way that this place works is that you don’t order food – You pay a set price and they bring food of their pleasing to you. They start of with a few “antipasto” type items and gradually evolve to dinner and dessert. We were told to arrive at 12 midday for drinks and that food would start to be served around 12.30.

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We were getting quite anxious for food by the time the first tray started coming around.

I’m not really sure what this was but it was made from chick pea and it was pretty tasty but had a texture I wasn’t familiar with.

I must admit, we kind of looked at each other at this point and said “is this sizing an indication of the portion sizes to come?” but we kept being reassured that there was plenty of food to come.

fullsizerender12The next tray they brought round had pizza on it. Good, authentic style Italian pizza!! That means it had a good spongy dough with a little crunch to the crust and little toppings but a good amount of good quality tomatoes.

It was just divine!! The server allowed us to take a couple of pieces then walked away. We must have been in starvation mode because we kept looking at other tables and other diners and wondering if they’d been given more than us. The server did come back and asked if we wanted more. Not two seconds past before we were all standing and grabbing another two pieces from the tray.
She then stated that it was really only supposed to be one piece for each person… whoops. My question was, well then why did she come back to the table?? We can’t help it if we’re hungry and the food is gooooooood!!

At 1.05pm, our host Andy Clappis took the microphone and addressed us. I felt like we were at a wedding reception without a bride and groom! He told us a little history of “Our Place” and told us about the food that was to come. One thing that shone through was his passion! The love of family and food was a constant theme during our afternoon.
In fact Andy was so passionate that at one point, he actually stopped and asked a naughty table whose occupants were talking to stop talking so they could hear him explain to them about the food.

So we’ve had the talk now, please bring us more food!!!
img_7658The next thing they brought out was the most delectable bread I’ve had in a very long time.

It was fresh out of the oven. Deliciously warm and that crust was crunchy!! There was olive oil on the table or butter if you preferred.

When the server brought ours we asked, “Can we have a knife to cut it?” and she replied “No, just break some off with your hands” and so that’s what we did…
With the bread they brought a Baccala spread (Dried and salted Cod) It was soooo good but clearly not enough as it didn’t last longer than a few seconds on my table.
I was happy with the bread and olive oil though so I didn’t mind!

fullsizerender9The next dish was veal.

I’ve not had it like this before so it was something new to me.

The veal itself was sliced thinly and very tender.

The mayonnaise was tuna based and very thick.

Most people on our table liked it but I can’t say that I was one of them.

Of course, that just comes down to personal preference. I can see that it had been made well.

Because we didn’t know what was still coming, and because the serves had been teeny tiny, we were really wondering if we were going to be leaving hungry and this seemed to be a constant topic at my table.
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The next tray had bocconcini with fennel on it.

This plate was to serve seven people and I took the photo before anyone had taken any of it.

So while everything on this plate was divine, we didn’t really all get to try some.

I didn’t get any bocconcini and some people missed out on the fennel.

I think we all got a wedge of tomato….

The next tray was Squid!
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Again, there was nothing wrong with the food.

in fact it was pretty delicious but this plate was for the seven of us.

I’m not big on squid so I gave mine to hubby who greedily ate it.

If we had known what was coming, we might not have been so frantic for food but so far, what we’d seen was small serves and quite long wait times between trays.

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After the squid Andy got on the microphone again and addressed the room.

They had discovered that about five people in the room were celebrating birthdays so they got them up to “carve” the Turkey we’d be eating later.

It was these kind of things that made the afternoon special and I have to applaud Andy for that because apart from having to pay for your meal, you’d think you were at some family event.

So after a little while, they brought out this amazing Mushroom Risotto. I mean it was just to die for! I could smell it before it even arrived at the table and it was just sooooo good.  The rice was cooked perfectly and there was such a gorgeous creamy consistency throughout.

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The server must have seen how gluttonous we were though because she came back a few minutes later and asked if we wanted another dish of it to share. “Yes please” was the resounding answer.
Unfortunately another table was asked if they wanted another dish of the risotto but when the server when to get it,  there were no more left for them…. So that’s not really good planning is it?

The gnocchi came out next and this was another portion disappointment.

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We actually had to measure these out and everybody on my table got three each.
Three
One, Two, Three…. all gone.
What was there was really nice. That sauce was definitely the best thing about it.

By now we’re starting to get tired and to be honest, a little fed up. I kind of think they would have done better to have served a few dishes all at once so we could have filled our plates and at least feel like we’d eaten something. We just felt like we’d been picking at bits and pieces all day and I never expected to still be waiting for a main at 4pm.

The turkey and vegetables did seem to take a very long time to come.

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Turkey was fine and I couldn’t complain about the size of it. In fact Andy himself came around a bit later and was filling people’s platters up a little more so that was nice.

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The vegetables were delicious and drizzled in that gorgeous olive oil. We got two plates of vegetables for our table which was nice.

A few people had to leave so the server gave them some of the dessert (cannoli) to take with them.
At 4.30pm there were only two of us at my table and we were simply waiting for the dessert. It had been a long afternoon!!!
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We were told if we wanted coffee we had to go get it from the bar so off I went to stand in that queue to order us some coffees….

A short black is still the best way to finish of any meal in my opinion!! Even better without sugar. Just let the natural coffee taste do what it’s supposed to do.

And still we waited for the Cannoli…. When I saw them coming out, instead of being on individual trays being brought out to different tables, they were just on one very large tray and one guy was taking that around to everyone.
fullsizerenderNeedless to say, it was going to take ages!!!

So I got up and got some for our table.

They were amazing.

The crust was light and crunchy and the centre was a creamy custard with a lemon tang.
I just wish I was in the mood to enjoy it more.
By this point I was just stuffing it in my mouth so I could say I’d had it and we could get on out of there!

I think if we had known this was going to be an event that covered over five hours, I may have been more up for it but by the end I just wanted to go.
I couldn’t fault anything I’d had and the hosts couldn’t have been nicer!! You just have to realise that if you come to “Our Place” it’s not just a meal, it’s an event or an experience.

I would definitely recommend going because the food itself is a marvel and it’s made with so much love and passion that really comes through. You just have to be the type of person that knows how to relax away the afternoon.
Sadly I think our culture had moved away from this.

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

Till next we chow…

The Union

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re Knock, Gnoch, Gnocching on heavens door,
I have Coriander; that wonderful burst of flavour that says “surprise I’m here!”
We experience beef two ways – Tender and/or chewy with a touch of gristle.

union-hotelHello fellow diners, today we were at The Union Hotel – That wonderful little pub on Waymouth Street in Adelaide’s CBD.

It was about 2pm on a Saturday afternoon so I called ahead to make sure they were still serving. We had come here a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday only to find they don’t open on a Sunday! That was a bit of a shock…

After calling I learned they were serving lunch till 3pm so that was good for us! When we got there we found there was only one other table being used.

I thought that was a bit sad because it looked like a really nice place. It was a clean and comfortable dining area and the staff seemed friendly and ready to help.

We sat inside although they do have a nice outdoor eating area too – too bad there’s a carpark that adjoins it though I’m sure it would bring nice shade in Summer.

We decided to start with a bowl of wedges because we like eating wedges!
Unfortunately, although the wedges themselves were crisp and fresh, the amount of chili sauce and sour cream did not match the amount of wedges!

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Hubby and I made it work though by agreeing I wouldn’t have any chili sauce or sour cream.
It’s called compromise – Next time it’s my turn!

For main, hubby ordered Chilli Chorizo Gnocchi- Pan Fried Potato Dumplings, Chorizo, Capsicum, Garlic, Sofrito, Black Olives, Baby Spinach & Aged Parmesan

I was a little shocked but glad he was exploring foods he wouldn’t normally order.

I went for the Beef & Cashew Stir Fry – Asian Vegetables, Garlic, Chilli & Coriander

The food came out relatively quickly. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t come to check how our meals were going, given that they had so few people in the dining room. It did feel a bit lonely out there I have to say! Glad there was music playing….

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Both dishes looked pretty magnificent when they came out.

Hubby’s gnocchi was just so delicious!

I even got to try one!

It was like a little pillow of softness in my mouth.

They were just so tasty.
It’s not always easy to get gnocchi right and these were really cooked well.

Hubby really enjoyed the strong spicy and delicious flavours.

He would have wished to have had a bit of a bigger serve but that’s only because we like to eat big!

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I rushed taking this picture of mine because I just wanted to dig into it!  It smelled so good!

The first bites were just magical. Tender beef with glorious explosions of coriander! I’d forgotten that coriander had been mentioned in the menu description and was pleasantly surprised.

The other thing that was mentioned on the menu were cashew nuts and unfortunately I don’t think there were enough of these but maybe that’s because I really really really love cashews!

The more I ate, the more I realised the meat was a bit hit and miss. Some pieces were juicy tender while others were tough and chewy and a couple even had gristle on them.
It didn’t stop me from enjoying this dish though as the sauces and spices really made for a great taste and it’s not something I usually order.

I’ve been to The Union after work a few times and have always found the staff to be friendly. They have pizza specials through the week and a few times when I’ve been there they’ve even brought out pizza samples to encourage people to order them.
What I ate seemed pretty good and I would probably get one if I found myself there during the week.

All in all I would recommend the Union if you’re wanting a nice casual meal and I’m sure I’ll be back in the not too distant future!

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

Till next we chow…

Melt CBD

 

I must have walked past Melt CBD a thousand times and never really noticed it.  When hubby and I were looking for somewhere to eat we initially walked past it but decided to go back and give it a shot.

It seems deceptively small from the outside but it’s actually quite a big space and it was noisy and full of people who knew it was cool to be there.

What Melt are known for are their Tapas and Pizza’s. Hubby and I ordered three Tapas and a Pizza because we wanted to get a good idea of what this place was  all about. I thought it was going to be way too much food but as it turns out, there was room for dessert… somewhere else…

So to start off with we ordered three dishes; Halloumi, Hummus and Ground Lamb and Gnocchi in Pesto, Spinach and Kale.

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The Halloumi was seasoned nicely. It had a rich deep flavour that just filled our mouths with loveliness.

The bread was toasted and crispy and was perfect for that Halloumi.

The third element on this plate was onion that had a sweetness to it and when you had all the elements on this plate together it was really  “party time” and we had great hopes for the dishes to come.

 

 

 

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The Hummus and Ground Lamb  was tasty enough but it was spread quite thinly on the plate and there was hardly any ground lamb in there.

 

The photo of our dish shows you exactly what we got and that was a little disappointing.

 

There was way too much pita for the amount of  Hummus although what we did have was not unpleasant.

 

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Our last Tapas dish was Gnocchi with pesto, spinach and kale.

I almost wanted to cry when I saw this dish and it’s probably not Melt’s fault. I just didn’t expect to get six gnocchi in a bowl of cream.

Hubby’s first words when he saw it was “Send it away and tell it not to come back until it’s grown up”

It was a little underwhelming. Hardly seasoned. It really felt like I was eating some stodgy gnocchi in a soup of cream

 

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So then we come to their main specialty…. The Pizza.

We ordered the “El Diablo”

We still had quite an appetite when this came out and sadly, I was again disappointed.

My Italian genes were screaming “This thin, wafer type paper base is NOT a pizza crust!!!” It’s definitely not like mama makes!

I like thin crust pizza, but that was NOT a pizza dough.  This picture does it more justice. It was so thin you actually couldn’t pick up the pizza to eat with your hands. You had to use a knife and fork.  What was on the pizza was OK although I must admit I’ve never had fennel on a pizza before. I may have liked it less had I not been so hungry. The only thing that made me think I’d actually eaten something was the chili which remained in my mouth after we’d finished.

I’m sure I’m in the minority when I say I don’t like this place and won’t be going back there. I thought it was pricey for what you got but I’m guessing you’re paying more for the experience of being somewhere where everyone is saying you have to go, than for what they’re actually offering.

Have you been here?

What did you think?

Feel free to leave your comments below!

Till next we chow….