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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Currant Shed (McLaren Vale, Adelaide)

It's that time of the year again. The Christmas season. Our research group usually goes out for a lunch for the occasion. And for this year... We went down to McLaren Vale. We hit a couple of wineries before lunch then went to the Currant Shed based on reviews on the 'net as well as word of mouths.

After we got there, we had a serving of nibbles to start with; pate, olives, dips and whatnot with two different kinds of hot bread. This happened outside under the shade. It was actually pretty good. We then moved to the tables for the lunch proper. We had some choices in the course but I chose as follows.

Slow cooked pork belly with a ceviche of scallop,
pickled strawberries and a Grenache reduction.

This was very yummy. Pork belly was done nicely with crunchy skin. Didn't know what ceviche was but found out it's citrus cured seafood with chilli accent. It's a bit different to how I usually have scallop (either raw or grilled). Pickled strawberry was also interesting.

We then went onto the mains.

Wagyu beef with roasted King Oyster mushrooms,
grilled radiccio,creamed potato and a shiraz jus.

The beef was done just right; very tender. This went quite well with the Shottesbrooke McLaren Vale 'Eliza' Reserve Shiraz. Shiraz jus was very good too. Maybe I would've preferred a little more rare but others on the table preferred it more cooked. Can't realistically expect to cater for everyone's taste in a situation like this (a party of 20+). Maybe we should've asked for sides as some of us felt it was lacking some green colours; we didn't think of it as it was not listed on our lunch menu (but available in the regular menu).

And finally we went onto the dessert.

Lavender creme brulee with pistachio shortbread.

Now, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. It tasted very good. It did have a hint of lavender note. The crusty caramelized sugar on top was okay. But for some reason I found quite a bit of oil separated out and settled between the custard and the caramel. I don't know why/how this happened but it felt oily. At least my creme brulee actually set to some solidness. Others on the table found theirs quite a bit runny. Again, we didn't know how that happened as mine was more on the solid side. It did go well with a cup of coffee though.

All in all, I really enjoyed the lunch. The restaurant was spacious, very green and had a very relaxing atmosphere.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tasca Viva (Jetty Rd., Glenelg, Adelaide)

Out of the blue we decided to go out for a lunch on Saturday. I saw this review on 'Tiser about this Tapas bar in Glenelg and we decided to try there. We didn't make a booking for a table but we thought there had to be some free tables as we aimed to get there just before 12; as this joint offers breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturdays, we thought that time of the day is way too late for a brekkie yet too early for a lunch. Anyway. The place was pretty much empty; when we got there, a couple of people were leaving and we were the only customers after that. We decided to sit inside but sat at a table next to Jetty Rd. We liked the decor and the food; we went for chef's selection of Tapas #2 at $45 per person. Maybe a bit pricey for a lunch but hey. They immediately started to bring the food out and it started with...

House flavoured olives. 

Salsa and bread. 

Plate of cold cuts. 

There were also stewed chickpea, a couple of meat dishes and a few more plates of food. At the beginning, since we started so lightly, we were considering the possibility of leaving the restaurant somewhat hungry. In the end, just about every dish they brought out, we were wondering if that was going to be the last; as we were getting very full. We managed to hog down the whole lot somehow (and not wasted any) and left the place with a very full stomach. As a whole I didn't think the food was as good as Mesa Lunga. However the location, atmosphere and the service made up for it. If we come back here, we'll probably go for the cheaper #1 tapas combo and leave a bigger space for a cone of Royal Copenhagen ice cream across the street from this place.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kenji Modern Japanese (Hutt St., Adelaide)

A bunch of us decided to go out for a dinner on a Friday. We decided to go to Kenji Modern Japanese Restaurant on Hutt Street. I've been there a few times and they never disappointed me. And again, they came through.

We had Zensai mixed appetizers and also a serving of puffer fish as entree. Then went on to have some nice mains.

Slow cooked Barossa pork crackling.

Didn't get to taste this one... Bugger.  Got pretty full on other stuff before touching this dish. I've been told it's good. Yeah. I'm pretty sure of it. Next time.

Beef Tataki.

This was quite nicely done. "Tataki" means striking or hitting in Japanese, and in cooking terms a piece of meat or fish is seared on the surface then rapidly cooled often by dunking it in ice water. Served usually sliced and with condiments including ginger and soy sauce. Bonito fish fillet is often cooked in this way (traditionally seared by cooking it in rice straws). It was very good. As expected.

A plate of Tempura. Lots of them.

Tempura batter was done properly, not cheap, nasty and thick gluggy kind. You get the nasty ones by not paying attention; the batter should be made in ice water and kept on ice to stop developing gluten. Came with dipping sauce you dunk these guys in. Was very nice.

A Funamori with sushi and sashimi.

Meaning "served up on a boat" in Japanese. Usually serving seafood such as sashimi and sushi in this style. At Kenji, they use this triangular shaped porcelain dish instead of traditional little wooden boat. Again, nice selection of sashimi and sushi served up.

Then we went onto dessert.

Ice cream.

Banana and chocolate souffle.

I had the souffle which was nice and fluffy. It was all very good and very much enjoyed. Not the cheapest restaurant, but always worth the price (to me anyway).

Kenji Modern Japanese on Urbanspoon
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