Café Settebello

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Gorgeous smells tease our taste buds,
Music from Italy transports us away and…
This is the place to come to if you want to get stuffed.

Diners today we finally made it to Cafe Settebello  Newton Rd, Newton.
They haven’t been in this location very long but it’s been recommended to me so many times that I had to go down and see what all the fuss is about.

It seems to me that every time I enter a decent Italian restaurant the first thing I notice is the beautiful aromas!!! It just makes me so hungry!!
I’m sure what I was smelling was the pizza that was cooking in their famous wood oven and it was just so tantalising.

The dining room is spacious and modern but definitely has a touch of Italy.

No red and white table cloths but nice pictures of Italy on the walls and modern Italian music playing in the background.
The only thing that spoilt the illusion of being transported across the sea was the view. Unfortunately the restaurant is situated on a busy main road and it was just wall to wall traffic.
In their defense, I did forget about it once that food came and there’s not much that they can do about the outside world I guess but it did spoil that Italian fantasy a little in the beginning.


The picture on the left is the view from our table and the one on the right is from the main window.

However that was only a small complaint… We were greeted warmly and were soon looking through an extensive menu with lots of Italian favourites.
The menu states that they have a One Metre Pizza challenge. Finish the pizza in 45 minutes and you will get a VIP card entitling you to free dining for six months! I think hubby was thinking about giving this a go but couldn’t justify all those calories. I have no doubt he could have done it. In fact I think I would have been able to do it as well!!

Instead I went for the Osso Bucco and hubby went for the Arrosto Misto.
After we ordered the server brought some bread and a couple of slices of focaccia to table.
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We also got some oil and balsamic vinegar and butter. Not only was this complimentary, but after I got my main, I asked for a slice of bread (because the sauce in it was just too good to not be mopped up) and the server brought out ANOTHER plate of bread, focaccia AND some zeppole!! Along with the oil and balsamic vinegar dish and more butter.  This was all complimentary! Who does that anymore? It was a really nice touch.

So on to our mains.
Hubby ordered Arrosto Misto. Mixed grill of Italian sausage, Meatball pattie, Scotch Fillet Steak, Pork Belly wrapped asparagus served with peppers and potatoes and Italian Salad.
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What a lovely vision this plate was as it was put down in front of hubby!! So many meats. Beautiful smells, beautiful colours… it was almost too good to eat!
Hubby was a little worried though because when the server took his order, she didn’t ask him how he wanted his steak cooked. Hubby always asks for it medium rare and this one was medium however it still was very tasty. In fact I think it was his favourite of all the meats on the dish.

I had Osso Bucco. Sicilian style Osso Bucco served with Garlic Mash
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It’s a little hard to make this kind of dish look attractive in a picture but I could smell it before it was even put down in front of me and I just knew I’d have to have more bread when I saw all that sauce!!!
Nothing about this dish disappointed. It was exactly all I hoped it was going to be.  The meat was just so beautifully tender. The sauce was sweet and flavourful and was begging to be mopped up with the wonderful bread they’d brought out.
This is my idea of comfort food!! There’d be nothing better to eat on a cold Winter’s day accompanied by a full bodied red.

Like I mentioned, I soon forgot we were situated so close to the main road and just enjoyed my surroundings and the wonderful tastes of my dinner.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Cafe Settebello.

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

Till next we chow…

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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…

 

Rob Roy Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Great atmosphere,
Great food and
Great music!

Short and sweet introduction today!
rob-roy-hotel-pda-20140331172210809_lrgDiners today’s review is for the Rob Roy Hotel on Halifax St.

This building is rich in history! It is thought that the original building was built between 1842 and 1850.

Hubby and I have been quite keen to get here and see what the hotel has to offer as we’ve always heard good things about it.

Walking down Halifax St you immediately notice the Al-Fresco eating area and how lovely and serene it looks. I could easily imagine wasting a few hours of the afternoon here on a nice Summer day.

Another great thing about the Rob  Roy is that they have all day dining on Friday, Saturday and Sunday which is perfect for hubby and I who tend to have schedules that mean we eat at strange times of the day.

We got there on a Sunday afternoon about 3.45pm and there were lots of people enjoying the sunshine outside, and quite a few inside too, waiting for the band to start.

The décor inside is pretty simple and clean. Lots of wood, black and copper colours which probably doesn’t show up too much in the photos I took.


There’s definitely a friendly vibe to this place.

The menu was pretty enticing! Lots of good choices and of course, pub favourites.

We decided to start with Prawn Beurre BlancPrawns, chorizo, garlic, onion, smoked paprika, dried chilli beurre blanc & bread

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While this wouldn’t have been my first choice for an entrée, it was a perfect way to start a meal. I was a bit worried that the chilli would make it too hot but they added just enough to give the dish a kick. I loved the pizza style bread the most and used that to mop up that absolutely delicious sauce. I even told hubby he could have all the prawns (although I did taste one and they were perfectly tender and flavourful)  and chorizo if I could have the rest of that bread.

For main I chose the Mexican Bean Burger Mexican chilli bean with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chipotle mayo & coriander

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I just loved every bite of this burger! The bean patty was so delicious I think I want all my future burgers to like this! The sour cream and guacamole had been added to the perfect proportions and honestly there was nothing I could fault. I would probably have preferred a different style bun but that’s a personal preference..

Hubby chose the 350gram Scotch Fillet cooked medium rare however a waiter came out a little while after I ordered and said they had run out and would he mind if they cooked him the rib eye instead?
He tried not to show his elation and said “Well if I have no choice….” but was beside himself when the waiter walked away…

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When the meal came out, the waiter added that the chef was worried the size of the meat was smaller than expected so he added another piece. This was turning out to be hubby’s lucky day!!!!!
He was absolutely elated with everything on his plate. The meat was beautifully tender, the mash was seasoned beautifully, in fact, he added some of the garlic butter that was on top of his meat to the mash…

We’ve had some really good dining experiences lately and this was no exception.

We even lingered longer than we normally do because the band was playing songs from our era and we enjoyed an extra drink or two while listening to them.

It really was a great afternoon and I’d really encourage people do come on down and visit the Rob Roy Hotel and experience it for themselves.

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

Till next we chow…

 

 

 

Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!

Carmel’s

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We experience moo-verlous or moo-velicious steak ,
I find out that rare is better than medium-rare and
We try Black Onyx Beef for the first time and we like it!

carmel-s-cafe-bar-andDiners today we were at Carmel’s in McLaren Vale. A restaurant in the heart of South Australian wineland.

Hubby and I have been here many times before although it had been at least a few years since our last visit.

Although we arrived fairly early – 6pm – on a Thursday (steak specials night) I was surprised that there weren’t many people there. Last time we came was on steak specials night too and it was packed! When I got the menu I understood why. While the steak specials are ok, they are not what they were last time I was here. Last time I’m sure they were under or around $20 each, this time they were about $5 – $7 off the regular price.
Still, I knew the quality was going to be good so I didn’t mind too much.


I love the ambiance inside this place. Music playing softly, dim lighting, lots of wooden tables, an enclosed and added on paved outdoor area and a lovely fireplace going right behind us.

I thought the menu had lots of great options even for non meat eaters. I was intending to eat steak tonight seeing as I was here so I had a look at the specials and noticed a 300 gram black onyx rump. I probably don’t get out much but I hadn’t heard of black onyx before so I asked the waiter. He was very lovely and said he’d go and check with the chef as he didn’t want to misinform me.
They even have a link to it on their menu and if you’re interested, and it is interesting, you can find out more here http://www.blackonyx.com.au/our-story/

The waiter told us simply that it’s a cross between Wagyu and Black Angus beef. That sold it for me so I decided to go for that. Now every time I’ve ordered steak I’ve asked for it medium-rare but always thought it was cooked too much. I was just a little afraid of what I’d get if I asked for it rare. I mentioned this to the waiter and he said they could always put it back on the grill if I thought it was too rare so I chose to have it cooked rare.

Hubby went for the 350 gram scotch fillet which he chose to have cooked medium rare.
We also ordered some bread with a trio of butters.

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The bread was really nice. Very toasty warm and crispy and those delicious butters just melted on it when we buttered it on. My only complaint was there was not enough bread to the butter! We were hungry and went through those few slices very quickly.
From the bottom up, the butters were seeded mustard, tuscan herb & garlic and bacon jam.

I liked the herb and garlic one the best. The seeded mustard was ok but I didn’t notice a strong taste. The bacon jam was also ok but it had a strange sweetness to it.
It was a great starter though, accompanied by a delicious house cabernet sauvignon.

The mains looked soooo good when they came out!

The Black Onyx is on the left and the Scotch Fillet is on the right.
I’m not going to review them separately as we both were in raptures with our meals. The meat was just so gorgeously tender and I definitely made the right choice in ordering it rare.
The waitress who brought the food out to us came back a few minutes later to make sure it was ok but the original waiter who’d seen us at the door, also came back a little while after that to make sure it was ok for me and that I didn’t want it cooked a little more. I thought that was really great service.
I honestly wanted to go into that kitchen and shake the chef’s hand. I don’t have steak very often so I want it to be good when I do and this was really exceptional. I didn’t try any of hubby’s but gave him some of mine and he said they had similar seasoning but mine tasted “meatier”. I’m not sure what that meant but he liked it.

The fries and salad were really good too. You can tell they source quality ingredients and are proud of what comes out of their kitchen.

As mentioned, this was not our first trip to Carmel’s and I have to say we have been impressed every time we’ve gone, whether we’ve had steak, pasta or pizza. The food and service have always been great and I would definitely recommend this place if you are wanting a nice night out.

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

Till next we chow…