Walkers Arms

Today on the Dining Diaries

Empty dining rooms leave a lump in our throats,
An interesting menu makes selection hard and
Can a vegetarian dish really cost over $25?

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Diners today we found ourselves at Walkers Arms on North East Rd.

I have so many memories of Walkers Arms before the restoration. That is, when it still had the buffet restaurant with those delicious selections that you could avail yourself of, over and over and over again. It was a gluttons wet dream. It definitely was my favourite all-you-can-eat restaurant in Adelaide!

But like anything else in life, things change.

Hubby and I knew there no longer was a buffet part to this restaurant but were still interested to see how it had changed since it’s refurbishment. And as we liked the buffet food, the a la carte menu food had to be good too right?

We were struck by how few people were around as we entered. This place was hustling and a bustling on a Sunday in the past!!! In the past…. when the buffet was still happening… Today only a handful of tables were occupied and it was a Sunday afternoon. That can’t be good for anybody…


The picture on the right shows the now empty buffet dining area. I’m not to sure what the plans are for this area but it was sad to see it sitting there not being used. No doubt they will do something amazing with this space in the months to come…

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Hubby and I got a nice, heated, spot outside (pic on far left above) and started off with the classic, Salt and Pepper Squid with aioli and lemon

I thought this wasn’t bad value for money. The Squid had a nice texture to it and the aioli and lemon were just perfect.

It was a great way to whet our appetites.

The menu was pretty good. It had your usual pub fare plus a few different things. I was a bit undecided as to what I was going to have for mains but ended up choosing the Vegetable Tagine – Seasonal vegetables in Moroccan style sauce, cous cous, labna, preserved lemon, mint and dates.

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I thought there were beautiful flavours throughout. The vegetables were just gorgeous in the Moroccan sauce. The lemon was unexpected and added a bit of zing in your mouth. I enjoyed this dish a lot but I wasn’t sure if $25 was too expensive for a vegetarian dish. I know there’s a lot of work/elements that go into it, but when you consider that you can get a beef or chicken parmigiana for under $20 it seems a little over priced but maybe I’m wrong.  In any case I did enjoy it so I didn’t mind.

Hubby decided to go for the ribs. Unfortunately I couldn’t find them on their online menu so I can’t tell you how they were described on there.

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I thought they looked great when they came out! Hubby got that glazed over look again and could barely wait for me to take a photo before digging in.

He said they were very tasty. The sauce was kind of sweet but also had a tanginess to it.
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I wanted to see the inside after he’d cut into it and had to take a pic because it looked so good!

That even makes MY mouth water and I don’t usually go for ribs!

With regards to the empty tables, I hope what hubby and I saw on this day wasn’t the norm for Walkers Arms as the food was pretty good and I’d hate to see people not coming here anymore just because the buffet is no longer here.

In fact, I’m looking forward to going back and trying a few different items from the menu or I’d go back even just to sit outside in the comfy outdoor area and watch a game of footy on their big screen TV’s.

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

Till next we chow…

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2016 – My Top Ten List

2016top10.jpgDiners I thought it might be a nice way to finish of the year, by listing the Top Ten places we dined at this year.

These are listed in no particular order and are included for a variety of reasons.
If you hover over and click on the name of the restaurant, you will be taken to our blog entry for that establishment.

I’m sure you all know but I want to say again that these reviews are based on our experience on the day. There are so many variables that could change a dining experience but I can only comment on what happened to us the day we went into a certain place.

Carmel’s at McLaren Vale

carmels2Oh there were lots of reasons why we loved Carmel’s!

From the service to the menu, to the way our food was cooked and presented, it was just a fantastic experience.

Carmel’s is the place that gave me the courage to go from ordering my meat medium-rare to rare.

I will also admit that I’m charmed by the McLaren Vale region so that probably has an influence in including Carmel’s in our Top 10 list but even so, there isn’t too much that this restaurant does wrong.

The Unley

IMG_5499We loved The Unley because of many things, one of which was the way it made us feel as we walked in.
Decorated in a modern style, with friendly staff throughout; We really felt welcome here.

Besides all that, the food that came out was presented beautifully, tasted amazing and was generous in size!
Everything we want from a dining establishment!

Portobello

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I can’t go past Portobello as it was one of the first restaurants after I started reviewing, that really left an impression on me.

Even looking at that pasta is making my mouth water – I can remember and almost taste how beautiful that ragu sauce was.

I love when staff are passionate about the place we’re dining at too and the server we had definitely was – telling us about the history of Portobello.

It’s a shame that this restaurant is a little difficult to get to but I really hope people get down there and try it out for themselves.

Le-Riad

FullSizeRender (19)With Le-Riad we became a bit more adventurous.

Instead of the usual Pub or Italian restaurant, we visited a restaurant where the cuisine was Moroccan and we were definitely won over!

The staff treated us and each other like family (and I suspect they were) and were very proud of the food they brought out; and so they should be!

The meat, so tender, so full of flavour. Le Riad was a wonderful dining experience from the moment we walked in, till the moment we walked out.

Lockleys Hotel

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There were a few things that set Lockleys Hotel apart for us.

Firstly, the service was just amazing. We had arrived early and yet the servers went above and beyond to accommodate us, even when we said we didn’t mind.

We just weren’t expecting to be wowed and yet we were.

We were also impressed with the amount of diners who must have been regulars as many of them spoke to the servers as if they knew them.
Besides all of this, the food itself was amazing with such attention to detail that left us very impressed.

Two Bit Villains

FullSizeRender (80)With Two Bit Villains, I experienced my first Vegetarian Restaurant.

I’m certainly not opposed to having a meat free meal, in fact, I often do, but I’d never been to a place that was exclusively Vegetarian.

I loved everything from the decor, to the staff, the menu and those amazing soda selections!!

Again, you can tell that the staff are proud of the food they’re bringing out of the kitchen and all this good feeling is very infectious!

I’m so glad we went to Two Bit Villains. It’s definitely a little gem in Adelaide Arcade.

Coopers Alehouse

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We weren’t expecting much the day we went to Coopers Alehouse and it had been a bit of a stressful day, but all was forgotten as we relaxed into our surroundings.

It was busy when we were here and immediately we noticed that the food coming out of the kitchen looked amazing and they seemed to be generous serves.

We definitely over ordered by accident, but everything we had was cooked so well and I had to be impressed because there was a lot of staff, trying to do a lot of things yet it all worked really well.

This is definitely a place to visit.

Parlamento

par1Ah the good old Adelaide icon, Parlamento. Everyone knows Parlamento in the CBD! Most people have probably already been there too!!

I walk past there most days and had always wanted to try out the food because it seems to be always busy so they must be doing something right!!

And when I visited for myself I could see why. Again, the love of what they do shines. They are passionate about their food but not only that, they want YOU to be passionate about their food too!

We had a lovely rapport with our waiter and that made the whole night really special.
I still can’t stop thinking about Jacki Weaver and that carafe of wine though….


Nonna and I

fullsizerenderThis place is still recent in our memories and I’m still gushing over how good everything was here.

From Chef Khalil’s passion, to the food he served, it was absolutely a perfect dining experience.

Out of all the places I’ve reviewed, this is probably the one that I’m most keen to revisit.


Fedoras Restaurant

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Last, but certainly not least is Fedoras Restaurant, another place that took us completely by surprise.

Again, the attitude of all those working from the guy in the parking lot, to the people behind the bar and wait staff made an amazing different.

We were treated as if we were the only ones dining in that restaurant that night.

There were four in our party when we were at Fedoras and each one of us got an amazing meal – That’s not always something that easy to do!

So there you have it, the first Spoon You Fork Me Top 10 list!
I hope we’ve given you something to think about for the next time you’re looking to dine out.

There were many more places I could have mentioned but alas, there is only room for ten in a Top Ten list!

The Spoon You Fork Me team are going to take a little holiday break, but don’t despair, we’ll be back with you early in the new year with lots more views and reviews to come!!

We wish you much love and happiness as we enter this holiday season.
Stay safe, and eat well!!
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Till next we chow….

Nino’s Cafe

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Aromas entice and dictate our menu choice,
We find a Bolognese that wouldn’t offend a Vegetarian and
Someone’s eye’s were way bigger than his stomach….

ninos-of-victor-harbor-restaurants-fleurieu-peninsula-2.jpgDiners today we were at Nino’s Cafe in Victor Harbor. There were proud signs displayed that told us they’ve been around since 1974.
Simon and Kirsten Pitman  have owned and operated Nino’s of Victor Harbor for the last fifteen years.The business was previously owned and established by Nino and Angela Solari about twenty five years earlier.
Nino’s is a Victor Harbor icon which is located in the heart of Victor’s main street precinct and well known by locals and tourists alike.

It was just a regular weekday and it was almost two thirty when we arrived and yet there were lots of diners inside and out. Some were lingering over lunch while others were having a coffee and sneaky cake and if I forget to mention it later, their cake selection is just awesome!

The staff were friendly and although we weren’t greeted right away we felt like we’d walked into a friend’s home and felt immediately welcome. It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere. We found ourselves a table and were brought a couple of lunch menu’s.
I don’t think the decor has changed much over the last few years but I also think that there’s a charm and sense of comfort to this familiarity.

The menu was ok for a lunch menu. There was a good amount of pizza choices, a few pastas and some other lunch type foods such as burgers and focaccia’s.

Hubby kept looking through the menu but that smell of the pizza’s cooking did not allow him to consider any other menu item. It was really enticing!!
I decided to go for a pasta but as I didn’t want chili, seafood or a cream base, was limited to the spaghetti bolognese.  We also ordered some fries to share while our food was being cooked.

fullsizerenderOur waiter was lovely but he took this order by memory and fifteen minutes later I wondered if he’d forgotten because the fries still hadn’t come…
A little while later, all the food came out at once. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a starter…

There was nothing wrong with the fries and they were a decent serve, I just didn’t really feel like having them when I had my pasta in front of me.

Hubby’s pizza looked delicious!
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You never really know what kind of pizza base you’re going to get. Myself, I like them the traditional way.. .a little spongier but still with a firm base.
This one here was ok, but (Sorry Nino) it felt like a pre made base I could have bought from Coles.
Hubby really loved the toppings which were generous and fresh and honestly, the base was ok too, I guess it just depends on what you’re expectations are.  I’m an Italian-Australian and my mama would not make a pizza base like that.
In any case, hubby had all of it minus the crusts which he lovingly gave to me (we have a perfect marriage – one who loves crusts, and one who doesn’t) but realised his stomach had forgotten to signal that he was full and was quite uncomfortable for the rest of the afternoon!

I felt like I hadn’t had pasta for a while (though I have) and was really craving this meal!

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I took this photo from the “good” side. The other side didn’t have much sauce or cheese. I really wish they’d let you put your own cheese on. I hate when they bring it out to you like that already.
The pasta was ok. I didn’t have any major complaints. I normally choose a “napolitana” sauce because I really just love good tomatoes and basil over my pasta so I wasn’t disappointed that there was barely any meat in this Bolognese sauce. I really had to search for it. If you advertise something as being “Bolognese” then you should be able to taste it right? Still, it wasn’t bad and it did hit the spot.

My complaints are little ones and I would have no hesitation in going back to Nino’s. There’s just something about that place!

And next time, I’d definitely have to leave room for a cake and coffee!!

Have you been to Nino’s?
What did you think?
Let me know int he comments below!!

Till next we chow…

East Taste Cafe

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A lovely waiter just makes our night!
We discover that it’s ok to use Pressed Metal on your walls and
Food so delicious you’ll definitely want to come back for more

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Diners today we had the pleasure of dining at East Taste Cafe which was first established in 2003 on Gouger st, the heart of Adelaide’s China Town.

My kids had actually taken me here a few years ago and we had a really great dining experience but a few years down the the track, when I wanted to revisit, I had no idea which place it was as there are so many great Asian restaurants on Gouger street.

Tonight I was catching up with a friend and she told me of a great place she had recently visited on Gouger street and wouldn’t you know it, it was the same place my kids had taken me too!!
I really couldn’t wait to see what the food was going to be like!


It was relatively empty when we walked in but it was still very early but most of the tables had “reserved” signs on them. In fact, by the time we were leaving every table was full and there was a lot of good eating being had!

You may have noticed the pressed metal on the walls. I’m not sure what I thought of that but I think it suited the place. The dining room was definitely very clean and that normally gives me confidence in the food that’s going to come out of the kitchen.

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Our waiter was just so adorable he could have sold us anything!

He was happy to engage in a bit of non intrusive small talk and we just thought he was so cute we had a photo with him.
I ended up cutting us out of this picture and I hope he doesn’t mind that I posted it but isn’t he cute? Such a lovely man and definitely an asset to this place.

We decided to order a few different things from the menu and share.

We started with a serve each of the  Shallot Cake. All I can say is “wow”! They were seemingly so simple, yet so full of flavour.

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The outer pastry was crunchy and light while the inside was gooey and full of the gorgeous shallot taste. I’m so glad we opted for a serve each! Just looking at that picture is making me wish I was eating them again.
Not too sure about the carrot and cabbage on the side. I just think it’s better to have nothing than to have something that can only work as a “filler”. There was no dressing on it, just a bit of colour on the side. That’s a very minor criticism though!
This was really a great way to start our meal.

We chose three items to share,
Coriander Chicken, Sizzling Black Pepper Beef and Vegetarian Fried Rice.

I must confess, I had to stop  myself from gobbling it all up myself instead of sharing.
Every dish was just so full of flavour and made you want to eat more and more.

First the chicken…
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I know some people don’t like Coriander. I don’t get it, but I know it.
This was very heavy on the coriander which just lifted this dish. The chicken was tender and everything else on this plate just married so nicely together.

My favourite of the night though was definitely the sizzling beef.

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Our waiter brought it to our table and did the final preparations before placing it down, sizzling heavily, on our table. It smelt so divine!!! And honestly, I don’t know how they get their beef to be so tender! It was just a pleasure to eat.
It was definitely a different flavour combination to the chicken, yet was equally, if not more flavoursome in its own way. I could have had double this serve on my own but had to show restraint! The mushrooms were definitely a stand out.

Finally the fried rice was again, just perfect fried rice.

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Again I tried to think of what they could have done to improve it and really, there was nothing! It was not too full of ingredients and there was a slight smokiness to it all.
I could have had a full serve of this to myself too!!

We were really in raptures over everything and as mentioned, by the time we left, the place was full and buzzing! I’m glad we’d got there early, enabling us to have a bit of a chat with our waiter. The fact that he was passionate about the food they produce was evident.
I really can’t wait to go back again!

 

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

Till next we chow…

 

Lone Star Rib House

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We’re nuts about nuts,
We must have looked very, very, very thirsty and
I told a waitress “I’m a big eater” in a solemn and serious voice.

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Diners today we were at Lone Star Rib House at Glenelg.

Lone Star took over the building where McDonalds had been located at Glenelg.

You may recognise it from the picture.

Hubby and I had been here quite some time ago, before I started reviewing, and didn’t have a great experience. While the food was ok and the serves were large, the dishes took a VERY long time to come out and the restaurant wasn’t full. In fact after about 90 minutes I had to ask a waitress if we were going to be getting any food…
When I checked out other reviews online, I found this to be a common complaint.

However some time has passed since that visit and I was curious to see if anything had changed.

There were four of us in our party today. When we walked in, a server greeted us immediately, gave us a bucket of complimentary nuts and took us to a table.

ls7I have to say, I love the decor in this place. I love the wooden benches, the brick walls and the decorations on them, and the country and western music that plays! It really sets the mood and gives you an expectation of the food you will receive.

They have the slogan “Our food is Bucking Awesome” on the walls with the added suggestion “Better read not said”

Hubby and I greedily ate through the nuts while Miss 22 and Mr 21 watched in astonishment. We barely stopped to give the waitress our order. It was a little embarrassing but we didn’t care. We could have only looked more “Bogan” if we’d started shoveling them into our purses…

On first sight the menu seemed quite big but there were a lot of similar options on there. For example, lots of different burger, hotdog, and schnitzel options that took up a couple of pages. They did have a few chicken and fish options too. As far as meat went, they had one Steak, one T-bone and a Prime Rib option. I thought for a “meat” place, there really should have been a few more steak options.

I didn’t know what I was going to have when I saw the nachos with chili con carne option in the “Teasers” section of the menu. I really had a craving for nachos but wasn’t sure this was going to be a big enough serve. Embarrassingly, I asked the waitress and she said it was a substantial serve but I told her quite seriously “Are you sure because I’m a big eater”.
To her credit she didn’t react like she was talking to a crazy person and showed me the plate it was served on and that sealed my choice.

Miss 22 is a vegetarian and was a little worried about menu choice. I guess you can’t really expect vegetarian options at a Rib/Steakhouse however she did find a vegetarian burger.

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It looked like a pretty good size dish. She said the veggie patty was mostly peas and corn which is not her first preference but it still tasted ok and said the beetroot gave the dish a nice sweetness.
I tried one of the fries later on and thought there was a heavy old oil taste but I could be wrong. They were seasoned really well though.

Mr 21 went for the smaller sized T-bone with a Garlic Shrimp Topper add on.

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Everything looked really fresh. He really loved this dish. He said the meat was cooked well and was really well seasoned too. The salad was fresh and colourful. His only complaint was that the mashed potatoes were a little lumpy… it’s a wonder he didn’t think that was normal considering the mashed potatoes I’ve served him in the past…

Hubby decided to choose from the “Teasers” section also.
He chose the Amarillo cheese fries (With cheese and bacon) and the Lone Star Tex Mex Chili

The fries were quite a generous serve and had a good amount of cheese on there, just like hubby likes it! He said the chili was really good too. He certainly didn’t have any complaints.

I was in raptures when my nachos came. Nachos all to myself!! I was so excited.

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The dish was large enough for me and the topping were really good. I couldn’t have any complaints about this. I enjoyed every mouthful. The only thing I could have wished for was perhaps a little more chips, but that’s only a minor complaint.

The food came out pretty quickly! I was pleasantly surprised.
The only minor annoyance was that we were asked at least three times if we wanted more drinks, and this was while we all still had full glasses!
I guess the servers are told to really sell, sell, sell but it was just a little annoying when you’re having a conversation, to have to stop and tell the server “no, we’re fine for drinks thanks”

When the bill came I thought “My god this is cheap!” and then realised our food was not on that bill. They’d brought us a different table’s bill.
It ended up being half of what our bill was and I almost wish I “hadn’t noticed” and just paid the wrong bill… I thought the server could have comped us a drink or something for my honesty but no big deal.

In summary, Lone Star have definitely given us a better experience this time around. The food is reasonably priced and mostly presented and cooked well. The serves are generous and… there’s always that bucket of complimentary nuts!!!

Have you been to the Lone Star at Glenelg?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…