Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

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It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
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The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

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I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

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I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
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Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

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

Till next we chow….

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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…

Our Place

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Lunch turns into dinner…
Exceptional food is served over an exceptional time and
We are dazzled by the beauty of an Adelaide hills backdrop

Diners today we were at “Our Place” in Willunga. I really want to start off by saying “wow” but I should start at the very beginning….

I can’t say it’s an easy place to get to. It was a forty minute drive from Westfield Marion.
Even once we saw the place looming in my Google Maps, I still couldn’t work out which building it was until I saw a faded sign that said “Our Place” and screeched “turn here, turn here!!!” to hubby. It was very hard to spot as it’s just a modest “house” from the road and if I hadn’t seen the sign, I wouldn’t have known that was it.

We parked the car and instantly were struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


The photos don’t do it justice. There were a few “hearts” etched into the grass which I thought was a nice romantic gesture on someone’s part but we never found out the story behind that.

We walked into the building and here’s were modesty stopped.
We went from oooing and ahhing over the landscape to oooing and ahhing over the interior.
There were just too many things to look at.

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The photo above is part of a balcony area which was quaint and had a lot of charm in its own way.

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This was our table and as you can see, we had views of the surrounding landscape (above) and views of that serene indoor pond (below)

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So the way that this place works is that you don’t order food – You pay a set price and they bring food of their pleasing to you. They start of with a few “antipasto” type items and gradually evolve to dinner and dessert. We were told to arrive at 12 midday for drinks and that food would start to be served around 12.30.

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We were getting quite anxious for food by the time the first tray started coming around.

I’m not really sure what this was but it was made from chick pea and it was pretty tasty but had a texture I wasn’t familiar with.

I must admit, we kind of looked at each other at this point and said “is this sizing an indication of the portion sizes to come?” but we kept being reassured that there was plenty of food to come.

fullsizerender12The next tray they brought round had pizza on it. Good, authentic style Italian pizza!! That means it had a good spongy dough with a little crunch to the crust and little toppings but a good amount of good quality tomatoes.

It was just divine!! The server allowed us to take a couple of pieces then walked away. We must have been in starvation mode because we kept looking at other tables and other diners and wondering if they’d been given more than us. The server did come back and asked if we wanted more. Not two seconds past before we were all standing and grabbing another two pieces from the tray.
She then stated that it was really only supposed to be one piece for each person… whoops. My question was, well then why did she come back to the table?? We can’t help it if we’re hungry and the food is gooooooood!!

At 1.05pm, our host Andy Clappis took the microphone and addressed us. I felt like we were at a wedding reception without a bride and groom! He told us a little history of “Our Place” and told us about the food that was to come. One thing that shone through was his passion! The love of family and food was a constant theme during our afternoon.
In fact Andy was so passionate that at one point, he actually stopped and asked a naughty table whose occupants were talking to stop talking so they could hear him explain to them about the food.

So we’ve had the talk now, please bring us more food!!!
img_7658The next thing they brought out was the most delectable bread I’ve had in a very long time.

It was fresh out of the oven. Deliciously warm and that crust was crunchy!! There was olive oil on the table or butter if you preferred.

When the server brought ours we asked, “Can we have a knife to cut it?” and she replied “No, just break some off with your hands” and so that’s what we did…
With the bread they brought a Baccala spread (Dried and salted Cod) It was soooo good but clearly not enough as it didn’t last longer than a few seconds on my table.
I was happy with the bread and olive oil though so I didn’t mind!

fullsizerender9The next dish was veal.

I’ve not had it like this before so it was something new to me.

The veal itself was sliced thinly and very tender.

The mayonnaise was tuna based and very thick.

Most people on our table liked it but I can’t say that I was one of them.

Of course, that just comes down to personal preference. I can see that it had been made well.

Because we didn’t know what was still coming, and because the serves had been teeny tiny, we were really wondering if we were going to be leaving hungry and this seemed to be a constant topic at my table.
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The next tray had bocconcini with fennel on it.

This plate was to serve seven people and I took the photo before anyone had taken any of it.

So while everything on this plate was divine, we didn’t really all get to try some.

I didn’t get any bocconcini and some people missed out on the fennel.

I think we all got a wedge of tomato….

The next tray was Squid!
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Again, there was nothing wrong with the food.

in fact it was pretty delicious but this plate was for the seven of us.

I’m not big on squid so I gave mine to hubby who greedily ate it.

If we had known what was coming, we might not have been so frantic for food but so far, what we’d seen was small serves and quite long wait times between trays.

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After the squid Andy got on the microphone again and addressed the room.

They had discovered that about five people in the room were celebrating birthdays so they got them up to “carve” the Turkey we’d be eating later.

It was these kind of things that made the afternoon special and I have to applaud Andy for that because apart from having to pay for your meal, you’d think you were at some family event.

So after a little while, they brought out this amazing Mushroom Risotto. I mean it was just to die for! I could smell it before it even arrived at the table and it was just sooooo good.  The rice was cooked perfectly and there was such a gorgeous creamy consistency throughout.

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The server must have seen how gluttonous we were though because she came back a few minutes later and asked if we wanted another dish of it to share. “Yes please” was the resounding answer.
Unfortunately another table was asked if they wanted another dish of the risotto but when the server when to get it,  there were no more left for them…. So that’s not really good planning is it?

The gnocchi came out next and this was another portion disappointment.

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We actually had to measure these out and everybody on my table got three each.
Three
One, Two, Three…. all gone.
What was there was really nice. That sauce was definitely the best thing about it.

By now we’re starting to get tired and to be honest, a little fed up. I kind of think they would have done better to have served a few dishes all at once so we could have filled our plates and at least feel like we’d eaten something. We just felt like we’d been picking at bits and pieces all day and I never expected to still be waiting for a main at 4pm.

The turkey and vegetables did seem to take a very long time to come.

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Turkey was fine and I couldn’t complain about the size of it. In fact Andy himself came around a bit later and was filling people’s platters up a little more so that was nice.

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The vegetables were delicious and drizzled in that gorgeous olive oil. We got two plates of vegetables for our table which was nice.

A few people had to leave so the server gave them some of the dessert (cannoli) to take with them.
At 4.30pm there were only two of us at my table and we were simply waiting for the dessert. It had been a long afternoon!!!
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We were told if we wanted coffee we had to go get it from the bar so off I went to stand in that queue to order us some coffees….

A short black is still the best way to finish of any meal in my opinion!! Even better without sugar. Just let the natural coffee taste do what it’s supposed to do.

And still we waited for the Cannoli…. When I saw them coming out, instead of being on individual trays being brought out to different tables, they were just on one very large tray and one guy was taking that around to everyone.
fullsizerenderNeedless to say, it was going to take ages!!!

So I got up and got some for our table.

They were amazing.

The crust was light and crunchy and the centre was a creamy custard with a lemon tang.
I just wish I was in the mood to enjoy it more.
By this point I was just stuffing it in my mouth so I could say I’d had it and we could get on out of there!

I think if we had known this was going to be an event that covered over five hours, I may have been more up for it but by the end I just wanted to go.
I couldn’t fault anything I’d had and the hosts couldn’t have been nicer!! You just have to realise that if you come to “Our Place” it’s not just a meal, it’s an event or an experience.

I would definitely recommend going because the food itself is a marvel and it’s made with so much love and passion that really comes through. You just have to be the type of person that knows how to relax away the afternoon.
Sadly I think our culture had moved away from this.

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

Till next we chow…

Stella

stellaToday on the Dining Diaries…

A waiter needed to be held down so we could give him our full order,
We dined in a restaurant where the median age was 94 and…
Graceful piano music played, whisking us into the fantasy of rich, elegant indulgence.

It was a wintry day here in Adelaide but we put on our big people pants, our heavy jackets and went along to Stella’s restaurant, located at Henley Beach.
As you can see from the photo, it’s a lovely location in Summer. Today, while the view was still lovely, it was a little more bleak than the photo above suggests.

It was nice and warm when we entered the restaurant and one of the things I couldn’t help noticing is that hubby and I, middle aged as we are, were the youngest in there.
FullSizeRender (29)We sat at a table that gave us nice views of Henley Jetty and looked over the menu. Lots of the usual favourites on there.

I kept being drawn to the pasta dishes and eventually settled for the pappardelle with veal and mushroom ragu. Even though I had only just had this dish recently, I was drawn to it again if only just to compare this version to what I’d eaten at Salsa’s.
When the waiter came, I asked him if the pasta was made in house. He squirmed and looked apologetic so I knew the answer before he replied. It didn’t phase me too much, I just wanted to know what I was in for before ordering.

He seemed very busy and we noticed he was the only person attending to all the tables. In fact he was so busy, we almost didn’t get our complete order in and I was practically calling out “and the arancini!” as he was leaving our table.

Arancini for entree to share, pappardelle with veal and mushroom ragu for me, and hubby went with a personal favourite of his, pork belly.

As always we looked at the other food coming out and it all looked beautifully presented so we were excited to see what we were going to be getting.
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It wasn’t long before our Arancini came out.

I’m not sure exactly what the texture of arancini are supposed to be like. I know the rice and cheese can make them quite stodgy and these were a little but is it supposed to be like that?

They tasted good albeit a little salty but that’s a personal preference.

The outer was warm and crispy and the cheese inside was beautifully melted.

On a side note, as we were sharing I was happy that they had given us four on the plate!

I think if one person had ordered that as an entree to eat alone, they would have found it quite rich. I’m not sure I could have eaten more than two but what I did eat, I enjoyed.

FullSizeRender (28)Our mains came out quite soon after.
I’ve made it known that I love my pasta and although this was not pasta made in house, it was cooked well and I appreciated that.

The veal was tender and the mushroom was just divine, making this a very nice dish to eat.

I wasn’t expecting a cream sauce and wish I’d known that before I’d ordered as I probably wouldn’t have ordered it.

The only slight criticism is that I would have liked a smidgen more salt in the sauce.

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Hubby was very pleased with his pork belly.

I always know when he’s enjoying a dish as he gets quiet. There was no crackling with his pork though and the one other thing he was disappointed with is that his veggies were cold. He would have liked some good old wintry weather sides like hot mash or roast pumpkin.

I loved the way it looked on the plate, very colourful and pretty.

The meat was tasty, tender and well seasoned.

All in all we were not disappointed with our visit to Stella. The food was good, the atmosphere was lovely (if you like piano music) and the views of that jetty are just lovely in any weather.

The one thing that would have changed this experience to just above average to sensational would have been if the wait staff had been a little more personal and not looked like they were just doing jobs that they didn’t really like. It just felt like they were going through the motions. It wasn’t bad service, just not personal.
Please don’t let me dissuade you from going there though as we did enjoy what we had!

Have you eaten at Stellas?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

 

Till next we chow…