Two Bit Villains

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We find that “meat” is a menu item
We discover homemade sodas in any flavour that you can imagine and
We learn that drinks taste better when served in mason jars.

Diners today I took a leap out of my comfort zone and dined at Two Bit Villains. For those who aren’t familiar with this funky little place in Adelaide Arcade, Two Bit Villains is a vegetarian restaurant.

It’s definitely popular with the younger crowd! In our last review, the team brought the average age of diners down but today, I definitely raised the average age of diners. The staff were super friendly despite my age and showed us to a table. It was choka block full!!! We were lucky to get a seat and this was at 1.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

Looking around, it kind of has a pacific island paradise feel… from the fifties. The walls are covered with bamboo and there are plants, retro furniture and miss matched chairs throughout. It was really a groovy place and I was really excited to taste the food here!

The menu was a little daunting for a vegetarian novice like me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been anywhere that is exclusively vegetarian before. I had to wonder why they have to make everything sound “meaty”. Why can’t things just be what they are? They had “meat” repeated on the menu a few times. I get that they’re probably trying to appeal to meat eaters but I think their food is good enough to stand on it’s own and not pretend to be something it’s not.

FullSizeRender (81)I loved their drinks menu!

Such interesting choices including a whole range of different home made soda flavours.

We chose the apple pie soda and it was just so delicious!

Unfortunately this one I photographed wasn’t served in a mason jar but I’m almost positive it would have tasted even better if it had been.

I ended up going for the Smokin’ Sweet Potato Pot Pie. Creamy sweet potato mash on top of a rich flavoursome slow cooked tomato, quinoa and vegetable casserole.
My accomplice chose the El Bandido Burger. A bitey black-bean and quinoa patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese and a swirl of our special chipotle mayonnaise and vegan cheese.
When I placed the order I was asked if I wanted vegan or gluten free options. Big tick there!! Even though my answer was no, I love that the diner has the option.

The menu stated that the Potato Pot Pie would be at least fifteen minutes to allow for baking. I love that they give you that notice! It didn’t really seem that long when it came out but it looked really hearty and delicious. I took a couple of photos so you can see what it looked like when it came out to me, and what the inside was like after I’d had a few bites.

This dish was really hearty and a wonderful Winter dish. I really loved the taste of the creamy mash and the textures of the different vegetables underneath it. Although the serve looked a little small when it was first brought to the table, it really was a generous dish and I felt quite full after it.

The burger was equally delicious
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In fact, I had a bit of diners envy after I had a taste because it was  more than I would have expected. I loved the sesame seeds on top of the bun which had been lightly toasted for a nice crunch. There was a slight taste of chili – just enough to wow your mouth and complimented the wonderfully flavoured bean patty.

This dish really exceeded my expectations and if I find myself here again, this is going to be my first choice!

We both had a serve of those shoe string fries on the side and I’ll mention them because they were crisp and seasoned really well too. Honestly, there really wasn’t much I could fault about this place and looking at the amount of people in here, most people must think the same! It certainly has a “buzz” about it and is definitely worth the visit!

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

Till next we chow…

 

 

The Palais

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Lets talk about The Palais  at Semaphore.

 

 

IMG_5437We were  celebrating my daughter Sarah graduating from her degree so it was a special night. There were five of us in total.
Sarah is a vegetarian so we usually look up a menu online before we go, to make sure there are vegetarian options for her.
Hubby had seen a deal for The Palais so we decided to go there after checking out their Bistro menu first.

It clearly says Bistro Menu on the link I googled and clearly gives times for when this food is available. Sarah had her heart set on the Vegetarian burger which I thought sounded pretty good too.

So after an excitable day, all five of us jump into the car and head on over to The Palais. We find the Bistro part and get seated to the table I had booked. I looked at the menu and immediately noticed it wasn’t the same as the one I’d seen online. Actually, it was pretty much the same except there were no burgers on there. None at all.
As some of us were in an emotional state this caused distress as we had driven a long way to get here, and the one thing Sarah had been looking for was not on the menu. Not only that, but there were very few vegetarian options.

Let me tell you restaurants and cafes, taking the meat out of something does not make a vegetarian dish!!!
Do they expect people to order Wedges if they’re vegetarian? Or perhaps the Pasta special but we’ll just take out the pieces of meat? Or maybe just a Quinoa Salad?  Or maybe Sarah could have just had the Salad Bar option? But why should she have to settle for only the Salad bar, when the rest of us are eating meals? Why aren’t there real options for her? And why was the menu not the same as the one online one??? This was the very reason we’d researched it before making our booking! Not happy Palais!

Anyhow, thinking people these days would be reasonable about this sort of thing, we went to speak to the server who’d seated us. He was pretty vague so we waited in line to speak to the person who took the food orders.
She was apologetic but basically said the vegetarian burger is only available from the bar menu (which is not what the online bistro menu says) and, not her exact words, there was no way in hell they would let her order from that menu and bring it up to the Bistro area.
I just found that really disappointing.

So, we left the Bistro and the salad bar (hubby is quite attracted to salad bar’s these days) and the option  of a 300 gram steak, and headed on down to the Beach bar which was quieter.
We chose a nice spot in the covered outdoor area and with the heaters on, it was really quite comfortable. We all know, the bogan in me is partial to a big screen TV which is what they have out there so I was happy enough.

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Onion Rings

The staff down there were lovely and friendly. We ordered Onion Rings and Jalapeño poppers to start.

The Poppers were the best thing of the night by far! They had a nice cheesy centre which was followed by an explosion of heat. I liked the delayed reaction. You would be just enjoying the creaminess of the cheese then be hit by hot! They were delicious.

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Jalapeno Poppers

The Onion rings on the other hand, as with everything else that was fried last night, had a hard outer crust. I was tapping them against my plate and they didn’t break. I could have used them for drum sticks.
I couldn’t really taste the onion inside either.

 

Two of us ordered Schnitzel’s.
Again the crumbing was so hard it was almost difficult to cut through with the knife they give you. There wasn’t any seasoning in there either.
Perhaps the oil is old because it was just a stale mess. I ended up taking the crumbing off, but the meat itself was very tough as well. I gave the rest to hubby.

IMG_5440The schnitzel’s came with fries which, you guessed it, were also fried in that terrible oil so had a staleness to them. They were also tough. I don’t know what causes hard stale chips but that’s what these were like.
The apple/cabbage slaw that comes with it on the other hand was delicious! Oftentimes I find places use more dressing than I like but they had just enough to coat the salad lightly, giving us an opportunity to actually taste it! Well done on that Palais.

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Pork Sliders

 

Hubby was quiet after his meal came so I knew he was enjoying it.
He ordered the Pork sliders.
The menu describes it as tender slow roasted shredded pork belly served in mini brioche buns.
I’m pretty sure his pork wasn’t shredded and it didn’t look like a brioche bun to me! It looked more like a steamed bun.

In any case, he said everything was tender and delicious and continued to eat without further comment.

 

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Fish and Chips

 

 

My son Josh ordered fish and chips which he said was delicious too. But then, he’s a 20 year old male so it’s probably not surprising. Chips? Fried? He’s in!

 

 

 

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Margarita Pizza

 

You may be wondering what my daughter Sarah, the vegetarian, ordered.

To our surprise, she didn’t order the vegetarian burger.
I was kind of hoping she would because I wanted to see what it was like and maybe have a little taste.

Instead she went for the Margarita Pizza. She said the toppings tasted fresh and in fact, the little bits of tomato looked really nice.
The dough appeared not to be frozen which is also a good thing.

I had a little taste and thought it was all OK too.

 

So let’s have a bit of a “Good-Bad-Ugly” summary.

The Good: Definitely the Jalapeño Poppers. I felt a bit sorry for hubby because he told me later he’d ordered those for himself but I said they were for everyone to share when they came to the table. Still, there was a good amount in there. We all got at least one and he still had quite a few to enjoy for himself.
The staff downstairs were also very friendly and made us feel welcome.

The Bad: Old oil in their fryers and lack of seasoning in their food.

The Ugly: No good Vegetarian options or considerations for Vegetarian people – it dominated our conversation for the night.
It’s unlikely that I’ll ever eat here again. I’ve since heard some mixed reviews about the Palais. Some good and some bad. Maybe it just depends on who is cooking on the night or what meal you order, or perhaps even if you order from the Bistro or Beach Cafe menu.

Have you been to the Palais?
What did you think?

Let me know in the comments below!

Til next we chow…

The Fleurieu Pantry

IMG_5393.JPGThe Fleurieu Pantry  is a delightful little place in the heart of Port Noarlunga. Their facebook page says their food is organic and sourced locally.
I fell in love with this place a few years ago when I wandered in here by accident with my barbershop quartet Esprit.

Today, hubby and I were joined by my daughter, Sarah.
We were greeted at the door by a waiter who was very helpful and welcoming. The first thing I noticed was the colour! Beautifully decorated, using repurposed items and furniture from years ago, it felt like I was walking into mama’s kitchen. There was so many interesting things to look at (including the delicious cake display) that I felt we were shown to our table too soon!

I think hubby was a little intimidated as this is not the place he would usually choose to go to.
The menu itself offered a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options if you’re into that sort of thing.
The physical menu itself was a little disappointing. Just a few pieces of paper stapled together and ours were old and a little crinkled. I mean it’s not really a huge expense to give your customers something a little more interesting is it?? And considering the wonderful food they produce, I find it a little perplexing that they would present what they have to offer in this way.

Hubby looked forlornly at the menu, not usually one to pick a gluten free or vegan option, and said “I think I prefer the kids menu” . He soon spotted nachos however, but didn’t know what Najobe beef nacho’s were so he asked the waitress. The waitress explained that Najobe Grass fed beef is just that, 100% grass fed beef! With no steroids, hormones or antibiotics. However she also added that they had just run out.
At this point I had to look at the time. 12.10pm. Wednesday, early afternoon. I mean had lunch even started? And her words were they had “just” run out.

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Chicken Pizza

 

Hubby ordered the chicken pizza instead.
I went for something different and ordered the Pumpkin, cauliflour and parmeson soup with sourdough bread. I also ordered the Roast capsicum bruschetta which sounded interesting.
Sarah ordered the Falafel Salad Bowl.

I was super excited! I just loved everything about this place! Even the cobwebs that were spun liberally about the place (no spiders in sight) seemed to add to the experience.

While we waited for our food to be ready, Sarah and I wandered through the antique store that is attached to the restaurant. We were surrounded by beautiful items and it felt like we were somewhere very special!

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Falafel Bowl

 

 

The food came out and again I didn’t know what to look at first!! It was all so colourful and beautifully presented. My bruschetta was on crusty continental bread just as it should be!

The soup looked delicious and was a gorgeous colour. It was all almost too good to eat! It was deliciously creamy and quite temperature hot which is how I usually prefer it. It was served with sour dough bread and sour cream on the side.

Hubby wasn’t too happy with his pizza. He wasn’t a fan of the crust and didn’t think it had been made on site. I took a bite and it had a wholemeal kind of taste to it which I didn’t mind, but I guess you have to like that taste. At least it was firm, unlike the pizza we ate at Melt

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Roasted Capsicum Bruschetta

 

I ended up giving hubby a piece of my bruschetta and he said it was more filling than his pizza.
Although he’s surely entitled to his opinion, it did look like there was a lot of food on his plate so I’m not sure that I would have agreed. Maybe it was more that the pizza he got was not what he was expecting.

Sarah’s Falafel bowl was beautifully and colourfully presented also. She said she was expecting the falafel to be a bit firmer.
It tasted lovely (better when paired with the salad) however it had the texture of mash and she wasn’t expecting that. It was coated nicely in Sesame seeds and who doesn’t like sesame seeds?

She had a few sauces included with hers and one was an eggplant pickle which was really tasty and gave your taste buds a nice kick!

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Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup

We don’t normally order dessert but today just felt different so Sarah and I went up to the counter and picked out three we liked the look of.

We picked a Berry and lemon cheesecake, a Peanut butter stack and a Protein ball. The waitress did describe all these desserts and how they were made and which were organic, made from raw ingredients or vegan friendly but honestly, I just wanted some sweetness in my mouth so I wasn’t really paying too much attention.

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Desserts!

The Berry cheesecake was exquisite in that the cheese part of it was very tart, but the berry top and biscuit base were sweet. A wonderful combination!

The Peanut stack was one of those desserts that you kept eating even if you didn’t really know why. It had a bit of an unusual texture but peanuts are nature’s own goodies aren’t they? It had a chocolate topping and it felt a little like spooning a bit of peanut butter together with a bit of Nutella and shoving that into your mouth. That’s “yum” in anyone’s language! It was very rich but also a little crumbly but that didn’t stop us from digging in and enjoying it.
The protein ball had a perfect texture in that it was dense and moist. I had forgotten that the waitress said it was a mint chocolate protein ball so what a nice surprise when I got that mint taste! The only thing I would have left out of it was the dates. Not a date fan.

I tried to pick my favourite dessert but it was hard. It would really depend on what mood I was in on the day I think. They would all have their time and place as my favourite.

As I went up to pay our bill I noticed they had Ed Sheeran playing and it just seemed to finish off the afternoon nicely! I had to stop myself from gushing to the waitress. I really loved everything about what I ate and my experience at The Fleurieu Pantry.

Have you been to the Fleurieu Pantry? What did you think? Please let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…