Schnithouse – Norwood

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We come across a wings deal we just can’t say “no” to. 
We find a place where good atmosphere and good prices entice and
Good tastes all round ensure we’re definitely going to be coming back!

0f6ad1c4c201ce76c4f527edda5168b6 (1)Diners today hubby and I happened to walk into Schnithouse on the Norwood Parade at Norwood.

The building itself is pretty magnificent and about 148 years old. It was previously a Baptist church and if you walk past it, you’ll see photos of the church as it was in the past.

I’d never been in the building before and didn’t know it used to be a church. I was overwhelmed by the size of the interior as we walked in. I just love the way they’ve decorated it! It just makes you want to stay and spend your money.

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Although the interior is nice, it was a warm Autumn’s day and hubby and I couldn’t decide if we wanted to be seated inside or out so we chose what we called the atrium.


It was nice in that it felt private yet we still had full view of everything that was going on outside.

I’d never even seen a menu for this place and if you are going to visit, I’d recommend going for lunch time where you can get some pretty amazing meals for $10! I thought for sure I hadn’t seen that correctly but it was! Hubby also noticed wings were half price on Wednesday and once he saw that, he really didn’t need to see any more of the menu.
There were a choice of three dry rubs with the Wings and hubby chose “Hot to Trot”

The Prawn and Crabmeat Linguine – Blue swimmer crabmeat, onions, chilli, garlic and prawns in a rose sauce – really caught my eye!

We also noticed this intriguing dessert option
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Sounds pretty good right? We decided to forgo an entree and try to leave room for this dessert!

The meals were out pretty quickly

Hubby was happy with how his wings looked. The server even specified “Hot to Trot” as she placed it down before him.

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Unfortunately, there was nothing “hot” about these wings. They tasted good! No doubt about that, but hubby said they were more like chicken fingers than wings. Although it’s not the end of the world, it’s a little disappointing when you expect to get something and it’s not what it’s advertised to be.

I was really looking forward to my pasta.

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I wasn’t offered any cheese which I thought was a little surprising but that’s ok.
I had to look at the menu again because I was sure there was meant to be more than just three prawns in my pasta. Didn’t it say Blue Swimmer Crabmeat? There was definitely none of that in my pasta.
The prawns I did have were succulent and beautiful to eat. I had no complaints. The sauce was rich and a little creamy and it had quite a nice amount of heat to it!
I ended up letting hubby dip his wings in there.
Although it might not look like a large serve, you have to remember it was only $10 and it did taste pretty good even if there wasn’t any crab meat in there.

So we ate at the Schnithouse and neither of us actually had a schnitzel! Well there’s always next time. I did notice on the menu that there was an eggplant schnitzel and I’d really love to try that…

After we’d eaten our mains we definitely had room for dessert so I went to order us the Dessert parmi.

I’m not sure what happened but twenty minutes after I’d ordered I had to ask if it was going to be much longer (we had another engagement). Our mains had come out quicker than this!

The server said she’d check and was back in five or so minutes with our dessert but not an apology or explanation.
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It probably looks a little better than it ended up tasting. I think we were enticed by the idea of it.
The “donut” was quite large and the amount of custard or whatever it was on top of it didn’t compensate for the dryness. If the donut had been a little smaller it might have worked… or maybe they could have put more custard on top? I’m not sure.
The banana was quite raw and not enjoyable to eat at all. The icecream was nice. A few grapes and apple pieces don’t really make a dessert do they? I mean there was no sauce/syrup or anything on them and it just looked a bit disappointing.

The icecream was nice but again, was not enough to cover for the dryness of the waffles.
I guess this dessert would have been a whole lot better if there was  a dipping sauce of some kind that we could have put the waffles and perhaps some of the donut and fruit into.

All in all, despite my complaints, I did enjoy our time here and yes I would definitely go back.

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

Till next we chow….

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Gusto Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Authentic Italian food soothes a raging craving,
Noise levels make it hard to communicate and
Befuddled servers amuse.

gusto-ristorante-norwood-restaurants-9aa4-938x704.jpgDiners today we are at Gusto Ristorante on the very popular Norwood Parade.

I tried to search for a website but couldn’t find one which is surprising as it’s a popular place and the server told me they’d been around for about fourteen years.

I may not have looked well enough though…

It was Friday night when we dined and most of the tables were full of people chatting and generally having a good time. We were shown to a table and given a couple of menus.

The wait staff seem pretty friendly although it did take them a very long time to come back and take our order.

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The first thing I noticed as I entered Gusto’s was the noise level. Maybe that has something to do with my age but it was difficult to speak over the noise of everybody else.

The decor seems simple but elegant maybe even semi industrial as there were exposed wires and cables here and there.

There didn’t seem to be anything overt to suggest we were entering an Italian restaurant, although there were pizza signs out on the street.

While we waited for the waiter to come back for our order, I couldn’t help but look at the food on other people’s tables and most of it looked so good! The serves were very generous (the pasta dishes in particular)

Finally our server returned and we were able to place an order. He dutifully took it and off he went.  About ten minutes later, another waiter comes and stands awkwardly at our table. He’s looking at a folder in his hand, then looking at us, then steps back, then steps forward again. I realised that he was holding someone’s bill.
“Did you ask for your check?” he asks timidly.
“No we haven’t eaten yet” I said smiling. It was a pretty funny moment.

We wanted to sample the food from their wood oven but didn’t particularly want a pizza so hubby chose to have the Calzone. Unfortunately I didn’t get the menu description because it was on the “Specials” menu.

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This picture probably makes it seem smaller than it was as the calzone was quite a decent serve. I tried some of the dough as that is my favourite bit and it was beautifully spongy and doughy on the inside, yet toasty and crunchy on the outside.
The server asked hubby if he wanted any chili’s with it and she brought it out in a bowl with olive oil.
fullsizerenderI hadn’t seen it presented like that before and hubby just fell in love with it!!

It was a great addition to his meal. He said the chili really enhanced the flavours that were already present.

I didn’t try any of the filling but hubby said it was just perfect. I could see that the filling was actually a substantial amount. Sometimes when you order a calzone you end up getting more air inside than filling.

It was satisfying and delicious and just what a calzone should be.

Being a good Italian girl I love my pasta but decided to step away from my usual go to of Fettucini, and ordered the Cannelloni di Ricotta, Spinaci e Zucca – Layers of House Made Pasta Sheets Filled with Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Topped with Napoletana Sauce & Fresh Basil

fullsizerender1My picture does not do it justice at all. It looks like a mess of tomato sauce but honestly, this dish was just so divine!

I have to say though, the stars of this dish were the pasta and the pasta sauce.
The pasta was cooked beautifully and the menu states that the pasta is “house made”.
I specifically asked the waiter about this because it was so impressive and she told me that the owner’s mother makes all the pasta.
My little mind started ticking over thinking, if she’s making ALL the pasta on her own, for all the business this restaurant does, she must never do anything else in life than make pasta!!!
Later on another server told me that she only makes some of the pasta, but that they get the rest, including the pasta they use for the Cannelloni, from another supplier.

The sauce was a beautiful distraction also. I say distraction because I really didn’t notice the filling. I’m not sure I could taste it, there wasn’t that much of it there, but it didn’t matter to me as every mouthful of that pasta and sauce was enriching my Italian soul.

I’ve read a few reviews of Gusto’s and felt perhaps some were a little harsh. Based on my own experience I would have no hesitation in going there again.
It’s still a very popular place and I figure people wouldn’t keep going if they didn’t like what the restaurant had to offer.

Give me a good wine and a nice plate of pasta and you’ll find one happy woman!

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

Till next we chow…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…

Base Bar – Bath Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Red Brick Walls, Wooden Beams and music relaxed us,
A huge pizza wood oven almost makes us wish we’d ordered pizza and
The Menu said “Share Plate” but hubby reads mine only  “main”

bbar5.jpgDiners today we were at Base Bar in the Bath Hotel.
Right on their website it says “The mission is simple: serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week” and I have to say that was pretty much our experience!

I don’t know if it was the sunny weather today (after so many dreary days) or if it was Base Bar, but it was just a pleasure to be sitting there with lots of people, enjoying the atmosphere and feeling good about the day.

We walked in through an outdoor/atrium area and it was really very pretty. Lots of outside seating and booths and a big screen TV for distraction.

We didn’t sit there as it was quite windy but otherwise it would have been nice…

Instead we entered the bar area which had a bit of a trendy, hipster warmth if that’s even a description.

Tall, red brick walls and wooden benches and chairs just made it feel like a place you wanted to be.

We grabbed a couple of bar menus and found a nice seat in the corner. Hubby was immediately drawn to the share plates. I’m not a huge fan of them because there’s always things on there I don’t really want to eat and hubby always thinks because he’s a foot taller than me he gets to have more than me and well, that’s just not fair!

So he ended up ordering a Shared Mexican Plate on his own for his main. Guacamole, Sour Cream Nachos, DIY Taco’s and Fried Chicken Wings…

I had a craving for pasta so I went with the Linguini Salsice – Spicy Chorizo, roasted Capsicum, Olives, Basil and Parmesan.

The bar menu seemed a little limited but then again, it is a bar menu and I’d rather they have a few items that they do really well, than lots of items that are just mediocre.

We had a drink or two while we waited and checked out the food on other people’s tables. It all looked pretty good! We noticed the huge wood oven at the other end of the room and all the pizza’s coming out and wondered whether we should have ordered a pizza instead.

We forgot all about the pizza when the food came out though! Both plates looked really amazing.

First the Mexican Share Plate

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I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get everything in!! On the top left are the taco fillings. One Mince, one is Pulled Pork and the last is Chicken. Top right are the tacos – they gave five which seems like an odd number when there are three fillings.
Bottom left are the Fried Chicken wings and coleslaw and bottom right are the nachos.

Hubby loved the minced pork filling. I tried a little too and it was really very nice. There was some herb or spice in there that I just couldn’t pick… But when he got to the Pulled Pork filling, he just made grunting noises and covered his hand protectively over his food. Oh yeah, he was enjoying it…
He kept uttering “It’s not really a lot of food for one person is it?” No dear… Not when you’re six foot seven.
The nachos were the only thing I would have been interested in on his plate and although they were ok, I would have been disappointed if that was the only thing I’d been served. A lot of the nachos were broken so there were just broken chips down the bottom. But hubby didn’t mind and really, nacho’s have to be pretty bad to be bad. These were ok.

I was absolutely in raptures with my pasta.

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From the moment it came out till I took that  last bite, it was just wonderful. It looked so good on the plate and tasted even better in the mouth!
I’m not a big fan of Chorizo so took those out for hubby, but everything married up so well in this dish. The pasta was cooked well, the olives gave your mouth a buzz, it was just magical! In fact my only complaint was that the fork they gave was not big enough for me to twirl as much pasta as I wanted onto it. I am an Italian girl after all!

All in all, we had a great time here and no doubt will be back soon.
It’s great to find a place that you can look forward to returning to.
Casual dining, great atmosphere and great food.
What more could you want?

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

Till next we chow….