The Lion

Today on The Dining Diaries…

We’re thrown a little out of a comfort zone
We encounter a very special “Special” and
Good food soothes our hungry souls…

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Diners today’s review is for The Lion Restaurant on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the restaurant, or if not, the bar alongside it! I know I’ve whiled away an afternoon or two in the bar in my time but had never dined in the restaurant.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had imagined it would be a bit pretentious.
Hubby and I noticed a sign that said a dress code applied and luckily, we normally look quite spiffy so it didn’t worry us.

We came in a little after 2pm but were told they take orders till about 2.45pm so that was good to know! The staff were lovely and if they had judged us walking in, I wouldn’t have known but hubby thought we were being talked down to a little. One of the servers asked us if we were celebrating a special occasion and I said “No we just want to get some lunch” I wondered then if that’s something they ask everyone or did we look  like a couple of bogans, wanting to have a once off nice meal in a nice restaurant to celebrate something? I did notice the wait staff had good rapport with other diners and that was nice to see.

In any case, if they were judgemental I don’t think they were overt about it and we settled in and enjoyed our surroundings. It did feel a bit “special” in a seventies type way. I thought the decor was a little seventies but hubby said he thought it was more Scandanavian. He’s probably right. I’m not usually a good judge of these things.

We were given some menus and the wine list.
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted anything on the menu. Nothing really jumped out at me. Hubby and I were actually on the verge of leaving but I felt a little embarrassed to do that and in the end was glad we’d stayed. A lovely server went through the menu and answered any questions we had. She also told us about the specials and I couldn’t go past the fish special which was Snapper.
Hubby decided to go for his usual, steak. More about that later!

We started off with a couple of dips. The server explained what they were but I couldn’t  remember all the fancy bits. Basically one was a cauliflower one and the other was some sort of Potato combination.
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I was pretty impressed when this came out! It looked like a decent serve. The dips themselves had a nice texture but I think they probably should have chosen different flavoured dips as they almost looked the same. The texture was the same and although they tasted different, by the end we didn’t really know what we were having.
They were very enjoyable though and had a lot of flavour!! I did really enjoy the dips and the bread and pita they served it with. The bread was toasty warm and the pita was crispy yet firm. Nice!

For main hubby ended up going for the Scotch Fillet on the menu, rather than the Steak special. Our server asked if he wanted potato puree or fries with his fillet. Hubby originally said puree, but after seeing a few other dishes come out, he asked the waitress if he could change and they graciously obliged.

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This Scotch Fillet was cooked perfectly! It was well seasoned and the mustard they provided added more flavour to the meat. There was also a decent amount of fries which made hubby very happy. I did wonder how it would have looked if he’d gone for the potato puree but he was very happy with his choice. I went for the Snapper Special.

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Unfortunately I can’t remember everything that it came with but it was so very delicious! The Snapper itself was beautifully cooked and I can only be sad because I wanted more!
It sat on a bed of some type of homemade pasta, sundried tomato, fresh tomato, mint, fennel, goats cheese, sultanas and probably more herbs and spices. There was also something crunchy in there that made the texture of what I was eating interesting. The crunchy things looked a little like maggots though so I had to not think of that every time I put a bit in my mouth!

I just think this dish was soooo pretty it was almost a sin to eat it and the flavour combinations worked wonderfully! I loved the unexpected sweetness of the sultanas. The ratio of all those ingredients was really very perfect.

The wait staff were attentive the whole time without being over bearing, checking that our meals were ok and asking if we wanted more wine/drinks.

Although a little on the pricey side, I think they strive to give you a special experience and I would have no hesitation in recommending the Lion as everything we had here was cooked so very well.

 

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

Till next we chow…

 

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The North Adelaide Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Beautiful dining rooms, sadly devoid of diners,
A lamb pie worth bleating about and
When in doubt, choose a platter….

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Diners today we were at the beautiful North Adelaide Hotel on Tynte st in North Adelaide.

This gorgeous building is heritage listed and it was a pleasure just to walk into!

Lovely stained glass windows at the front while the back dining area has paved floors and lots of comforting wood!

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I want to also show you the massive tree trunk in the outdoor eating area!

It was too hot for us to sit out there today but from where our table was, we had a good view of it and I kept wondering if that’s what the  Far Away Tree from the Enchanted Wood would have looked like….

As I mentioned we felt completely comfortable and at home from the moment we walked in.
We got a couple of menus and settled ourselves at a table. A waitress came to bring us some water and I asked her a few questions about some of the menu items. She was very friendly and seemed genuinely wanting to speak about the food, instead of just doing a job and giving information.
I’m not sure if they are fostering a family atmosphere but that’s what it felt like!

I kept wondering where all the people were! Such a beautiful place, with nice friendly staff. They deserve to have more people there!
It was about 1pm on a weekday when we were dining there. Maybe it’s more a dinner and weekend type hotel.
For us as diners, I felt like we had the place to ourselves though and it was very relaxing.

After looking through the menu I decided to go for the Lamb and Guinness Pie. I could have had it as a “Floater” with mushy peas but even though I’m a true blue South Aussie, I just couldn’t do this. If you don’t know what a “Pie Floater” is you could always google it but just remember that once seen, it cannot be unseen….
The pie also came with Roasted Dutch Carrots and Gravy.

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Let me tell you right now this was the best pie I’ve had in a long time! I don’t normally like gravy but it was just perfect! The pastry was light, the lamb inside was tender. Everything worked a treat! If I was a harsh critic I might have said the lamb was a little dry but it was just exactly what I wanted on this particular day so I have no complaints.
Honestly, I could keep raving on about how good this was for quite some time. Hubby was saying I should try this or that from his plate but I just shook my head no hoping I wouldn’t have to return the favour. I didn’t want to share today!

Hubby was undecided and nothing on the menu particularly stood out for him today so he went for a platter and some beer battered chips.

I love how the fries have a “rustic” look. That’s pretty much how everything I cook comes out…
The fries came with a smoked aioli and tomato sauce. I couldn’t really taste the smokiness (yes I did taste some of his) but it was still nice.
The platter was on the menu as Fleurieu Platter – Dips, Cheese, Olives, Cured Meats served with pita bread.

Hubby kept looks for the “dips” as he could only see one, but there is definitely an “s” on that menu description. Unless the Olive Oil/balsamic bowl was classed as a dip?
The Pita was toasted but cold and hubby’s preference would have been for them to come out either toasted warm, or just soft.
Everything on his plate was beautifully fresh though and it did look pretty good! That dip had a Moroccan Season type flavour. I’m not sure what it was but I liked it more than hubby did (yes I tried that one too!)

You can’t see it in the picture but the platter also had half a pear and some rock melon on there. I think it was not bad value at $18! And those fries he ordered were $8.
My pie was pretty reasonable at $22

There were a few things on the menu that I wanted to try (including pierogi!) so I will definitely be back and if you haven’t been to the North Adelaide, I strongly urge you too!!

However, it probably is NOT a good idea to walk to the local supermarket and purchase a litre of icecream to eat in the privacy of your car (Away from prying eyes) after your lunch at the North Adelaide Hotel. Not that I’m saying we did that….

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

Till next we chow…

The Curious Squire

Today on the Dining Diaries…

After a couple of false starts, we are curious no more!
Music and interesting decor made for topic of conversation and
Burgers and yummy finger foods to die for!

5teatdrink153curious3Diners today we were at The Curious Squire in North Adelaide; A hip, US-inspired hub for burgers, slow-cooked BBQ steaks, wings and ribs, plus craft beer and cider.

We have driven past this place so many times and even attempted to dine but they were always fully booked and it just never happened. Tonight we got lucky!
We really were only lucky because we had come fairly early. Our table was going to be booked a few hours later and there were reserved signs over most of the tables we saw.

I love the look and feel of this place. Rock music was playing, people working looked like they were enjoying their jobs and lots of other customers were around having a good time. It wasn’t so loud to be distracting though, just enough to make you want to be a part of it.


I love the dark furniture and the streaming light coming from the windows. There’s plenty of interesting things to read on the wall about James Squire himself!

The table numbers are large cards and there’s even a wall of cards in the dining room! I’m not sure what the significance is of a deck of cards but it would be something to look into.


The server who greeted us was really so very lovely and did as much as she could to make sure we could be served today.
We were left with some menus and after not eating for most of the day, were drooling in anticipation.

I couldn’t go past one of the specials that was written up on the board behind the bar.
Ben & Lamb burger; Toasted Blue Bun, Smoke pulled Lamb, Potato skin, mint jelly, lettuce, tomato and onion.
I probably should have paid more attention to the “mint jelly” part of that description!

Hubby ended up ordering the Trio of Sliders -pig mac, mother clucker and american cheeseburgerers;

But before those dishes came, we got some entree’s to start…

We had to try their wings! American Buffalo Wings – crispy fried chicken wingettes with our curiously different take on the famous frank’s hot sauce with ranch

On Wednesday’s they sell these for 50 cents each!

We also got the Cheesy Macho Nachos – 12 corn tortilla chips served with queso, refried beans, smashed avocado, sour cream and added texas chilli on the side.

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I’m not much for wings but hubby definitely is and he just loved these.

Hubby said they had a strong vinegar based sauce and they were perfect!

Just like the way he makes them.

Although I don’t eat wings I tried one and could see they had been cooked well and everything was fresh and crispy. I was almost converted!

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The Nacho’s were also really well done.

The cheesy sauce was gooey and oozed a little to the nacho’s below.

Again, all the sauces were fresh and the nacho’s themselves were large (not broken) and crispy.

The texas chili on the side was soooo delicious!! Again, a little too hot for my liking but I have a low tolerance. Hubby just loved it! The meat in there was so tender and the sauce had a beautifully sweet tomato taste. I couldn’t help dipping my fries in there later even though I knew it was hot!

The one thing that did bother me a little was that our mains were brought out before we were even halfway through our entree so we had a table full of food that was now all going to get cold. Perhaps it was just a mix up in the kitchen.

Hubby’s sliders looked good and deceivingly small…
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These buns were all full of flavour. They are not stingy when it comes to filling!
I also love the way they bring the food out on those silver trays.

Hubby said he really couldn’t fault a thing, it was all really great tasting. There was one he particularly liked that had a mustard sauce in it.

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My burger was equally good! I wasn’t quite sure how a “BLUE” burger was going to look or even why you would want to do that though. It’s green in the picture, but when you bite into it, the inside is blue.

I instantly tasted the mint jelly and wished I’d asked to not have that in the burger. Thankfully, there really wasn’t a lot of it. The potato skin was more like a slice of cooked potato rather than skin but that too was ok.
It’s a really big burger so probably not something you’d order on a first date!!! I ended up having to take some of the insides out and eat them separately.

Overall, I’m so glad we came here. It’s seems to be a buzzing place and you really don’t mind spending your money when you know the service, food and atmosphere are going to be good!!
I definitely recommend going down to The Curious Squire and having a look at what they have to offer but go on a Wednesday if you can to take advantage of that wing special!!

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

Till next we chow…

The Pink Pig

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We enter a place that would terrify the strongest vegetarian,
We see yet again that the ratio of food to sauce provided is not right!!
I get to watch a hot young waitress try to put a bib on hubby….

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Diners tonight we were at The Pink Pig! The Pink Pig Wine Bar is an iconic establishment in North Adelaide.

I remember walking past there many times seeing that smiling pig on the outside, and wondering what was happening behind those doors.
Tonight I got to find out….

The restaurant is actually quite large! It’s a little deceiving because the front is not overly huge and I’ve never really been able to see inside. I’m not sure how many people it actually accommodates but you could easily have a larger party there.
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The lighting was pretty dim (hence my poor quality photos) and there was contemporary music playing. Staff were really friendly and when I said I had a booking the server spoke to me as if he’d been expecting me. Well I guess he HAD been expecting us but I felt very welcome and wanted.

He left us to look over the menu which I found to be a little intimidating. I had gone through the menu online earlier in the day and nothing really jumped out at me as I’m not a huge meat eater. I figured I’d see what I felt like on the night…
But if you are a meat eater, you would love this menu.
Did you notice the little piggy on the front of the menu? In fact there were little piggies all throughout the restaurant.

On first glance things seem a little overpriced but then I don’t know the quality of what I’m going to get so I didn’t want to judge anything too soon.

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There were four in our party and we placed our order with a nice young waitress.

I looked around to try to see other people’s food but they were either finished or waiting for their food also.

The decor made me feel like we were sitting in an Italian restaurant – minus the red and white tablecloths.

The area behind the bar looked pretty interesting too. It was hard to capture because the lighting was so dim in there.


After we’d ordered, a hot young waitress came up to the table and said “Ok who ordered the ribs?” and hubby cautiously says he did.

She then proceeded to put a bib on him that said “You need our bibs to eat our ribs”

 

 

Hubby was not impressed. At least he allowed me to take the photo above but as soon as that was done, that bib was off. However after that happened, I looked around and saw a few other people were wearing those bibs!! How messy was this going to get??

By this time we’d also seen a few meals coming out and they looked soooo good!! I was really really eager to try mine.

We’d ordered some garlic bread to come out first and asked the waitress if the serve was enough for the four of us and she said “Oh yes! There’s six slices in there” but what we got were six tiny little slices and while they tasted good and the garlic was strong but not overpowering, I felt like I’d only just had a bite and it was gone.

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My main was one of the first to come out – Thai Beef Salad – Mixed salad w. a spicy Thai chilli dressing
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I’m sorry the photo is so bad. It was really difficult to capture in that light.
I have to say this was really really delicious. The meat was soooooo tender I could almost hear an old crooner serenading me as I ate it… I had to force myself to leave it till last so I could end off with that taste and concentrated on the salad first. The dressing was pretty good although the menu does say spicy Thai chili dressing and I don’t think it was very spicy at all (and I normally have a low tolerance for that sort of thing) I would have preferred for the tomatoes to have been cut a little smaller though. I know I can cut them myself but they were huge horse like chunks and it was just awkward.

Hubby, as we know, went for the Pork Ribs – Oven baked in our famous spicy sauce, served w. pickled slaw

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There’s supposed to be fourteen pieces in there. It’s a really bad photo once again (sorry) Hubby was disappointed with this dish. You have to remember he’s coming from a restaurant background himself AND he is the rib KING even if he hasn’t made them in years. He said while they were tasty, they weren’t falling off the bone and stated that he could make a better rib with his eyes closed – and that readers, is actually something I can attest to!  So while he didn’t hate it, it wasn’t as good as it could have been and remember, the prices at The Pink Pig are a little higher than other places we’ve gone to.

I had been tossing up between the Thai Beef Salad and the Risotto Fungi, and another member of our party chose that so I was able to see what it would have looked like.

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I had a bit of diners envy when I saw it as it looked pretty good! She said that it was a very tasty dish. The rice wasn’t stodgy and the tomato in there gave the dish a lift and made it really very refreshing.

The last member of our party chose to have the Salt and Pepper Squid salad but when the meal came out, it wasn’t the S & PS Salad but the Salt and Pepper dish.The difference being the amount of squid to salad I guess – Oh, and the price..

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It was a generous serve of squid and he just went with it but they also charged us for the more expensive dish which I think they probably shouldn’t have. I also wonder why, when you’re paying more than average prices for a dish like this, they don’t just chuck in some fries on the side?
Did you notice the tiny little bowl of aioli? It didn’t take long for that to finish and there was still quite a bit of squid left. Why do restaurants do this?? I find it so annoying. It’s just a little thing that doesn’t cost the restaurant much but can go a long way in pleasing the customer. The squid themselves tasted ok but it was just regular pub fare and we were not in a pub.

I do think the Pink Pig is worth a visit even just to say that you’ve been there. The food we had ranged from ok to really good so I guess it just depends on what you order on the day. All the staff that interacted with us were really friendly and helpful and into their jobs, not just going through the motions.
We may even visit again one day in the next twenty or so years…..

Have you been to the Pink Pig?
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.
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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.

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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

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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

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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…