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…

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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…

Benjamin on Franklin

Today on the Dining Diaries we find out that…

A bagel trumps a brioche bun when it comes to burgers
I don’t like being called “darling” by someone I don’t know, even if I am rather sweet & darling and
Sitting next to a window that looks into the kitchen is like driving past an accident – You can’t look away even though you know you may not like what you see.

20150122_122906.jpgDiners today we were at Benjamin on Franklin. This is not to be confused with “The Franklin Hotel” which is also on Franklin Street in the CBD.

It was a lovely warm “end of Winter” day and the Benjamin makes good use of that by having indoor, outdoor and an atrium eating area. We chose to sit in the atrium in relative comfort but still being able to see the sun outside and feel the fresh breeze tickle our skin.

It took us a little while to get to our table though because there was no staff ready to greet us as we came in and we stood around like lost sheep. Eventually I asked if we just take our own menu’s and find a table ourselves and the young girl said “Oh no darling, I’ll take those and show you to a table”. I couldn’t really blame her as she was busy behind the counter when we came in but surely they saw that we looked lost and someone could have told us that they’ll be with us in a minute? And “darling”??? Yes I’m rather sweet but unless you’re older than me or my husband, please don’t call me darling. In her defense, I’m sure she was just trying to be nice.

I loved the decor of this place – I’m not sure what it’s called but there was wooden furniture and exposed brick.

ben8We were seated next to a window that looked into the kitchen.
At first I was really excited, but then I became a little anxious that I was going to see something I didn’t like. I didn’t have to worry though as everything was going pretty smoothly in there. In fact we saw lots of yummy food and wondered if we’d made the right choices ordering what we did! The parmigiana’s alone were massive and there were a lot of them going out! They seemed to have a really good system in there.

ben5We started off with a duo of dips.

The menu didn’t say what they were and when they were brought to our table we weren’t told either which was a little disappointing.

I did ask when they came to take away the empty plates and was told they were roasted capsicum/semi dried tomato and a corn salsa one.

I preferred the corn salsa while hubby liked the capsicum dip so that worked out well!!

They were both really tasty and had a lovely consistency.

The bread was also warm and toasty.
A really nice way to start a meal.

There was groovy jazz music playing while we ate which also really gave the place a nice atmosphere. I was glad we’d chosen to come here today.

Now onto the mains! The menu was pretty good in this place. While they did have a lot of pub favourites, they put their own spin on things. For example, I chose to have the Corn Fritter Bagel Burger. I LOVE bagels! And yay, finally a place that will give you a burger and NOT put it in a brioche bun! I  also thought a corn fritter burger would be something a little different and interesting so that’s why I chose that.

It turned out to be a really good choice! The first picture is an overhead shot and in the second, I was trying to show the corn fritter.
If I was to say anything negative, and it’s only minor and probably personal, I found that it was difficult to eat as there were two corn fritters in there. But that is really a minor thing and ultimately I like to have more rather than less… but just be warned if you eat this, you may have to pull it apart. I LOVED the bagel. It was everything a bagel should be. This was really a pleasure to eat.

Hubby decided to go for an old favourite, Salt and Pepper Squid.

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He went through a phase where he ordered this all the time but it’s now been a while…
He said everything was seasoned really nicely. That round thing on the bottom left of the photo is actually a caramelised lemon. It looked interesting on his plate but hubby said that it felt a bit slimy and that made it difficult to squeeze over his food.

All in all, I was pretty impressed with this place even if I did get called darling, and would be eager to go back and try different things off their menu. I thought the prices were reasonable, all the staff we interacted with were friendly and there was definitely good stuff happening in the kitchen!!

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

Til next we chow.