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…

Aldgate Pump Hotel

 

 

Today on the Dining Diaries..

I find where the Play School “round” window went!
Stone grill dishes make our mouths water and
A little seasoning never goes astray….

Aldgate Pump HotelDiners today we are in Aldgate at the Aldgate Pump Hotel. I wondered how it got it’s name. What did the “pump” part of it mean?
Well as it turns out, a century or so ago, bullock drivers, travellers and colonists would travel from Adelaide past the pub. At that time, the trip from Adelaide to the pub took a good part of the day. A hand-pump and trough outside gave horses a welcome drink while their owners were inside refreshing themselves with something to eat and drink.

Although it didn’t take us half a day to get here, we were looking forward to being refreshed ourselves.
There are lovely pubs scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills and we weren’t disappointed by what we found at the Aldgate Pump Hotel.

I was a little dismayed as we walked in though, to see dated carpet and older style furnishings but the longer we sat there, the more I realised that it’s part of the charm that the locals expect.


The staff were friendly and we found a nice table that let us enjoy the views to the greenery outside.

The menu sounded a little ambitious at first glance. Were they trying to be something they’re not or could they really deliver?
The most interesting aspect of the menu is the Hot Rock  section. In fact we saw a couple of dishes coming out and the sizzling sound of that meat cooking on the hot rock was really making us question our menu choices!

In the end we decided to go for the chef’s selection : Trio of Dips as a starter.

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Look at that beautiful colour! I have to say, these are the best selection of dips we’ve had in a while. Each dip had a wonderful texture and we were given quite a generous amount of each! We guessed the flavours as being (from left) beetroot, sundried tomato and tzatziki. The pita bread was fresh and warm and we were almost full after sharing this plate!

We both really felt like a good pub burger today so hubby went for the Pulled Pork Burger, and I went for my usual Steak Burger.

The Pulled Pork Burger made hubby’s eyes light up when it came out.

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There seems to be a generous amount of pork in there! Unfortunately hubby said it was really lacking in seasoning and flavour. We both found the burger bun to be a little…
I’m not sure how to describe it, only to say it seemed like it had been thawed out and reheated.

My Steak burger looked pretty good when it came out too.

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I can’t remember seeing it on the menu but there were fried onion rings in there! Sadly, these too could have used some salt but it was still exciting to see.

The meat itself was beautifully cooked; Tender and succulent just as it should be. The rest of the burger had flavour enough so I really enjoyed mine.

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While we were dining I glanced over and saw what reminded me of the Play School Window!

Those Australians, who like me, grew up with ABC’s Play School will know what I’m talking about.

All in all, we had a nice dining experience here despite the lack of flavour in some of the food. I just think they might be trying to be something they’re not.
People come to this place for the charm and the history and I think that’s what they need to promote.
While they say “change is as good as a holiday” I think they need to be calculated changes and the skills to cope with the changes have to accompany them.

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

Till next we chow…

Brunelli – Rundle Street

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A beautiful dessert display entices me,
“Grande Piatte” section of the menu entices hubby and
Food envy abounds!

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Diners today we are at Brunelli’s Cafe on Rundle Street in the Adelaide CBD.

This location has been a popular site for hungry Adelaidians  as it was formerly Cafe Buon Giorno. In fact, I have been known to mix the two places up and I won’t mention how recently that’s happened!
Their website says that they were the first to introduce Wood Oven Pizza to Adelaide in 1989. It’s hard to believe that Wood Oven Pizza’s haven’t been around longer…

In any case, we were hungry and it was well past lunch time but Brunelli’s Cafe, like most Cafe’s, have all day dining so we went in.

To be honest expectations weren’t overly high. We just wanted a good honest meal.

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You can’t help but notice the gorgeous selection of desserts as you enter.

I could feel my hips widening as I walked past.

Staff noticed us right away and we were welcomed and shown to a table.

The menu is pretty extensive and reasonably priced.

We were going to choose an entree to share but after seeing those cakes I persuaded hubby to just get mains, and then if we were still hungry, we could order some cakes or ice cream. Yum!

The menu has a section called “Piatto Grande” which means very big plates! I thought hubby would like that so I pointed it out to him. He was really hoping fora  yiros (kebab) before we walked into Brunelli’s so was drawn to the Open Lamb Souvlaki which was in the Piatto Grande section of the menu.  Marinated braised lamb pieces served with Tzatziki and pita bread. Also comes with chips and salad.

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I thought it looked great when it came out!

It was presented beautifully and the salad was dressed well, I could see it glistening!
The chips looked fresh and that meat looked really good too.

I love how they’ve got capsicum through the meat.
I tried a little bit and it was such a great accompaniment for the lamb. Hubby was really happy with how it had been seasoned.

Everything was cooked well. I don’t know why my expectations were low, but this was a good honest plate.

Before walking in I had a bit of a craving for a burger but I could smell cheese and tomato and changed my mind. I needed pasta!
I love how they allow you to choose what pasta type you want, and match it to whatever sauce you want.

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I ended up choosing Fettucini with the Sorentina Sauce. Sorentina sauce, according to their menu, is a traditional tomato and basil sauce with bocconcini cheese.

I didn’t think I’d like the bocconocini in it but I was wrong…

The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of basil. I just love basil! The bocconcini had started to melt so was a delicious gooey mess.
If  you like your pasta cooked al-dente, you would have been disappointed with this dish and it was definitely overcooked but I don’t mind it that way myself and it was fine for me.

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I forgot to mention that they actually brought out a couple of slices of bread after we’d ordered!

So I was able to mop up that sauce with some of the bread. The bread basket also had a little container of Parmesan cheese so I was able to put on as much or as little as I wanted.

Another bonus!

We kept looking at other people’s plates, wondering what they were eating. There was definitely some pretty food coming out! Although we were very happy with ours, we couldn’t help but wonder what the other plates tasted like.

With such a big place, it would be easy for the staff to be impersonal but everyone we interacted with was really friendly and welcoming.

Brunelli’s is a great place if you’re after a no fuss, casual dining experience. Next time I might even try one of those sweets!

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

Till next we chow…

Mediterranean Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We experience “outside” dining inside, thanks to the flies that insisted on joining us,
This place has oil and they ain’t afraid to use it!
Overall great food, great service and some enticing menu items beg us to revisit.

MediteranneancafeBrighton3-3-1024x768.jpgDiners today we were at Meditteranean Ristorante, a cute little place on the corner of  Broadway and Partridge Street in Glenelg.

Our day had been messed up again and we hadn’t had lunch. Although it was before 5pm, they said they were serving dinner which was a huge plus for us.

The staff greeted us as soon as they saw us and were friendly and inviting.
We chose to sit indoors as the sun was a little warm and there were flies everywhere!
Unfortunately, because the doors are open, there were flies all through the inside of the restaurant too and this would have been my biggest negative of the whole experience.
It’s just not comfortable when you have to keep swatting flies away before they land on your food.

The restaurant itself has a really comfortable feel with wood and maroon tones throughout. Some of the furniture looked a little worn but it just added to the comfort feel of the place.


We were given some menus and it was one of those menu’s where the more you read, the more you change your mind on what you’re going to order. There were so many things I could have had on there and in the end, went for a boring option (But one I enjoy) I really want to go back and try some of the other yummy things I saw.

Hubby decided to get an entree and salad. He chose and entree from the specials board.
Char-grilled haloumi pieces topped with fresh prosciutto, rocket, pistachios. Served with warm pita bread. Being an haloumi and prosciutto fan, he just couldn’t go past this dish!

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This was the first dish that came out and look how pretty that looks on the plate! You almost don’t want to eat it for fear of messing it up!

He said it had a wonderful sweetness to it and loved the pistachio’s that were mixed throughout. What you see on the plate there alongside the balsamic glaze is honey! At least that’s what it tasted like and hubby said the flavour combinations of all the elements together were just divine.  This was definitely his favourite.

He also had the Mediterranean Salad – House Special Chicken; Char-grilled marinated chicken served with mixed lettuce, tomato, cucumber, roasted capsicum, olives and feta with a white balsamic dressing, topped with tzatziki and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

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We both thought there was a good amount of chicken on there when the dish came out. The chicken was tender and seasoned well. The salad was dressed really well too and the tzatziki put a Mediterranean flair on the whole thing! His only complaint was that it was a salad and would have liked more lettuce leaves as a filler to make it look a little more substantial.

Boring me went for an old favourite, Fettuccine Ragu – Slow cooked tender braised chunks of beef with onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a rich red wine and tomato sauce.

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They brought out the Parmesan cheese so I was able to sprinkle that on myself. This was a real comforting dish. The pasta was cooked al-dente and the sauce was thick and rich. The beef was braised nice and was tender and flavourful.
My only complaint was that the sauce had a lot of oil in it which had pooled around the bottom of my plate. By the end of the meal I could taste it. It wasn’t overly unpleasant but I just kept thinking about my arteries clogging up.

Throughout our meal different servers came to check that everything was good and asked if we needed anything. They were attentive without being overbearing.
I should also add that the menu had fantastic wine choices too!

I’m really glad we finally got to visit this place as it’s been on our radar for quite some time and I’m eager to go back… maybe on a day where there aren’t too many flies around!
If you do visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Jetty Rd, Glenelg and the beach so you’ll have plenty to do once your meal is done!

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

Till next we chow…