Review: Andre’s Cucina & Poleta Bar, Adelaide

Review: Andre’s Cucina & Poleta Bar, Adelaide











There is something charming about the fact that every place we visit becomes a memory, a story to tell. If you look around you, you will realise that everybody is a storyteller. Everybody has a story to share, and everybody has the power to enchant. The difference I guess, is whether or not you want to harness that power and share that story.

I will always remember Andre’s Cucina as the first restaurant we went to after the big move away from Melbourne to Adelaide. It was the first time I met PZ (K’s cousin) who is now quite a dear friend. She turned up looking like a smexy lady that she is, and I felt instantly uglier and grubbier next to her. It was also my first foray into polenta and to this day, I am sadly not taken by it.

However, Andre’s Cucina serves more than just polenta. I should really point out that in fact, Andre’s Cucina serves amazing food. If I had been upset by all the good food I was leaving behind in Melbourne (And I was.) Andre’s did an amazing job in comforting me, letting me know that Adelaide does have its charms as I would soon find out myself.

The food at Andre’s is absolutely beautiful. The produce is top-notch, and the care and precision put into every dish shines through like a beacon. The flavours complement but shine through, having parties on your tongue, while you sit there enthralled by the stories Andre is telling you through his food. The service is nothing but efficient, and while the establishment is a little on the small and squishy side, it takes but just a bite to bring you into your own little private world of food bliss.

If you are in Adelaide, you should grab yourself a table at Andre’s. Sit back and let the stories roll over you. Trust me, you will be amazed by how much our little Adelaide has to tell.

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar
94, Frome Street, Adelaide
08 8224 0004

Monday: 5.30pm – 11pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 11.30am till late
Friday & Saturday: Specific dinner seating times.

Food Trucks in Adelaide: Sneaky Pickle

Food Trucks in Adelaide: Sneaky Pickle

Sneaky Pickle

Sneaky Pickle

Food trucks in Adelaide are becoming less and less uncommon, but are in no way in danger of losing their novelty cred. The minute I heard that a new food truck was on the streets of Adelaide, I made it my first priority to sink my teeth into their latest offerings.

In this case, it was Sneaky Pickle with their claim to fame with pickles and pulled pork that caught my attention.

For a simple $9 you receive the above: Pulled pork burger, BBQ corn and pickles. Nine dollars!? I couldn’t believe it. Often, $9 wouldn’t even get you a complete burger let alone one that came with corn and pickles. A-hah, Sneaky Pickle was already well on its way up in my heart!

Biting into the burger, you cannot but help marvelling at the juiciness of the pulled pork and the crunchy slaw. My one problem with the burger was how messy it was. Or maybe, I’m just a messy eater. I ended up having to hover in a rather unsightly manner over the little cardboard tray in order to catch any of my runaway pulled pork.

Still, you cannot deny that they are tasty and flavoursome burgers. Wash it down with BBQ corn and pickles, and I sat back happily satisfied. This combined with the lazy afternoon sun in Hindmarsh Square while I hid beneath the shady trees made for a very enjoyable lunch indeed. Would I go back? Next chance I get!

Eating Out: Bar 9 @ Glen Osmond, Adelaide – The beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Eating Out: Bar 9 @ Glen Osmond, Adelaide – The beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Bar 9
08 8373 1108
96 Glen Osmond Rd
Parkside, SA 5063
Bar 9

Sometimes, relationships grow over time. Sometimes, it’s love at first sight. My relationship with Adelaide is definitely of the former, rather than the latter, and Bar 9 in Glen Osmond was definitely one of the reason for that relationship with Adelaide to grow favourably.

Breakfast is one of those meals that I tend to skip. I know it’s not exactly the healthiest thing to be doing, nor something I really should be all that proud of (I’m not!) but between sleep and breakfast, I tend to vote sleep. During weekends and holidays though, that’s a different thing. I love having breakfast and it usually starts my day on an incredibly positive note if I have a breakfast that I’m happy with.

On that particular morning, I sat in Bar 9 with the boy and Sherry. We had trekked to the other side of the city for breakfast because Sherry had highly recommended the place. She was nervous, she said, of recommending places to me. Nervous that I wouldn’t like the place. I didn’t think she needed worry as her favourite breakfast place didn’t disappoint, Bar 9 was really quite superb!

The decor of Bar 9 is that of a quirky nature. With their mirrors painted over with images of cups and coffee machines, I couldn’t help but relax into the easy going atmosphere. It really reminded me of Melbourne and its easy going breakfast cafes and I felt right at home instantly. Already in love with this place even before the food and the coffee, this can only mean better things are yet to come, right?

And come it did.

House Cured Ocean Trout – served on creme friache and dill on rye – $16 was Sherry’s dish. I couldn’t help feeling a pang of jealousy when the waitress popped this dish in front of her, it looked spectacular! Luckily, my table of friends seem to have adopted the unspoken rule of breakfast sharing and I managed to get a share of this absolutely beautiful breakfast as well. And just as well I did, as the freshness and cleansing feeling the dish contains needs to be tried to be believe. Incredibly refreshing, this is a breakfast dish that is destined to wake anybody up with a burst of sunshine in the mouth with just the nice touch of sea breeze to give you that extra morning kick.

Creamy Truffled Mushroom Ragu – on toast with poached eggs and finished with truffled honey. $17. Nothing screams indulgence more than truffles, and definitely nothing is more rich in the mouth than this creamy truffled mushroom ragu. I was rolling about in my ecstasy and couldn’t stop bragging about how amazing my breakfast dish was to my companions. Not that I really had anything to brag about, since their breakfasts were equally as good and I was going to have to share my breakfast with them anyways. But for that first few minutes, I must admit to a tinge of: “Ha Ha, this is awesome and you have none!”

Runcimans Breakfast – breakfast of champions: bacon, eggs, tomatoes and swiss brown mushrooms $17. This is the boy’s standard breakfast fare. If there’s a big breakfast of sorts on the menu, he’s bound to get it. Perfect really, that way he gets to gauge a cafe on a standard that is found in almost every breakfast cafe. This big breakfast was quite nice. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was definitely right up there with one of the best big breakfasts. Yummy bacon with juicy mushrooms, can’t get any better than that really.

Bar 9 definitely has something special going on. Even though it’s on the other side of the city to where I live, I’d still happily trek over on a weekend and indulge in some incredible food. Yum.

View Larger MapBar 9 on Urbanspoon

Eating Out: Brown Dog Cafe, Goodwood, Adelaide.

Eating Out: Brown Dog Cafe, Goodwood, Adelaide.

Brown Dog Cafe
08 8172 1752
143 Goodwood Rd
Goodwood, SA 05034

I don’t remember who recommended Brown Dog Cafe to me anymore. But in my hunt for more good breakfasts around Adelaide, this suggestion popped up from somewhere and never being one to turn down a recommendation, today found me nursing a chilli hot chocolate at Brown Dog Cafe.

The decor of Brown Dog Cafe is really quite homely and enchanting. There’s something about the place that just seem to ooze with ease and gently nudges you to relax into the embrace of Brown Dog Cafe. I noted with amusement the fact that they were licensed and wondered who would be drinking quite that early in the morning. (Then of course, I remembered that I was in Australia.)

There’s not too many tables in the rather small establishment. However, as more and more customers were ushered through their backdoor, I came to the realization that there was outdoor seating outback. “With a real good heater!” came the sales pitch from the staff as I watched them try to sell the idea of an outdoor seating to their customers in the midst of winter. I should point out that they were hugely successful in this pitch as all of the customers disappeared through the backdoor in search of this heater.

There’s been many mixed reviews about the service at Brown Dog Cafe. Mixed reviews make me nervous as it feels like I’m gambling. Will today be my lucky day? As it turns out, it was. The service could not have been better. Attentive staff that snapped to attention even with the slightest wrinkling of the brow, keen to ease out your pretty forehead with the beautiful aromas of coffee.

I went with a Chilli Hot Chocolate and the boy opted for his usual Cappuccino . I’ve never been all that pleased nor impressed with the chilli hot chocolates I’ve tried around the place. It’s never quite enough heat for me, and it feels rather lame to be drinking a hot chocolate that touts itself as having chilil and not being able to taste the chilli nor feel the heat. But I was bent upon my quest to find a good chilli hot chocolate so in went the order, with hopes that this would be a good one.

The verdict? This was one of the best, if not the very best chilli hot chocolate I’ve ever had the fortune to taste. Flavourful, not overly rich, and yet still bursting with heat. The sprinkling of cayenne pepper over the top brought life to the hot chocolate and I smiled contentedly over my hot chocolate over at the boy. Life was good.

The boy ordered the Spanish Dog Breakky – eggs, paprika flavoured baked beans, chorizo sausage, roasted tomato, relish and toast $16.90. He also requested for extra hash browns ($3.50). I suspect that the many elements on his dish was ultimately the fault of our long wait. Tables around us that had ordered after us received their order before ours even made an appearance, which was a little depressing. Still, you couldn’t fault the generosity of the portions on the plate. They were huge!

The hero of the dish for me was definitely the relish. Tasting decidedly homemade and very delicious, I could have eaten the relish on everything. In fact, I ended up buying a takeaway container of the relish to bring home! (I’ll be making burgers with it, yum!) The baked beans were also very tasty, none of that mushy overcooked baked beans stuff you get from cans! I marvelled continually over the skill of cooking they had shown to the hash browns and the chorizo sausage, they were impeccable and so very tasty!

The downfall of the dish, I am sad to say, was the eggs. The boy had requested them poached, and one would normally expect a gush of rich golden yellow yolk as the knife broke open the white. But this was not the case with his poached eggs. Sadly overcooked, the yolk made a pathetic attempt at being runny, but failed short of being anywhere near spectacular. The bread was also nothing remarkable. Pity.

For myself, I had ordered Miss Florentine – poached eggs, baby spinach, smoked salmon, hollandaise & toast – $15.90. I tend to opt for a more delicate breakfast and I couldn’t go past the hollandaise and smoked salmon. If those are on the menu, then they belong in my tummy. In fact, this particular menu item seemed to have been very popular as I saw multiple copies of this dish making their way around the cafe.

As a whole, I think the dish worked together nicely. However, I was disappointed by the hollandaise sauce. While the texture was beautifully silky and smooth, it also didn’t taste of hollandaise. There was no richness, no flavour. I think I am eternally spoilt by the homemade hollandaise sauce Sefie made. Nothing will ever compare.

And similarly, the bread was a bit of a letdown.

The eggs weren’t as overcooked as on the boy’s plate, but they were still more cooked than I’d normally have them. Ah well.

So while this dish had been pretty spectacular visually, and was generally pleasant, there lack any sort of wow factor to it. Still, I finished up my dish and smiled happily as I wiped up the rest of my chilli hot chocolate. Maybe sometimes, you don’t always need a dish to wow. Maybe sometimes, being pleasant and generally yummy was enough.

As I got up to pay, I saw this corkboard filled with pictures of different dogs. I had read on Yelp that this cafe had been named by the owner in reference to his own labrador retriever and such a show of love for our four-legged friends filled me with warm fuzzy feelings.

So while this place hadn’t wow on so many levels, it also fulfilled me in so many corners of my heart that other cafes hadn’t. The beautifully warm atmosphere, the caring environment, that wonderful chilli hot chocolate….

Would I come back? Oh yes, I would. Some things, you can’t buy with money, and this is one of it.

View Larger MapBrown Dog Cafe on Urbanspoon

Eating Out: Zedz Cafe @ Adelaide Central Market, Adelaide

After going back to Zedz Cafe for the umpteenth time for the Laksa Sorbet I decided it was high time I actually tried some food there. After all, Zedz does serve more than sorbets and smoothies. The trouble was, where to start? The menu looked absolutely scrumptious.

Do I try the breakfasts, or the lunch soups? Do I go for more sweets or try something savoury? There was obviously more to Zedz than just their Laksa Sorbet, so it was really hard making that decision. As it turns out, I had my decision made for me by pure virtue of the fact that I went at the wrong time. After much angst, I decided that I’d go try their lunch soups, but turned up at the wrong time. So take note, diners. Lunch only starts at 11.30am. I was there much too early, and that was how I ended up with breakfast.

Bacon and Eggs – $13.90 to be precise. I was alone that morning as the boy was busy learning how to make tofu at TAFE and my friends were busy. It’s relatively rare for me not to have a dining companion when dining out these days, so I busied myself watching the hustle and bustle of the Adelaide Central Market while waiting for my order.

My dish didn’t take too long to come. Not having a dining companion for me to wax lyrical about the appearance of my dish with, it didn’t take me too long to tuck in. Two snaps and I was straight into it. The bacon was well cooked, the mushrooms ($2 for it to be added on, I believe) were juicy but oddly cold. In fact, my entire dish was oddly cold. But I put that up more to the fact that I was practically sitting in a wind tunnel and the central market really isn’t the warmest place there is during winter than anything else. The temperature of the dish didn’t really bother me too much. What would be more cause for concern would be how the eggs had been poached. Time for the truth.

A sigh of relief, as the beautiful golden yolk comes gushing out. It’s a gorgeous sight to see! Happy now, I proceeded with my breakfast. And realised to my dismay that the eggs hadn’t been drained properly. Maybe I’m overly sensitive, I know that you do have to poach eggs in water, but draining eggs are such a simple act, and these had not been drained well at all.** A very small flaw, but it ruined my eggs for me. Water and eggs do not mix. Sadface Celeste.

Eggs are my everything. I adore them in any form and I would eat five a day if I could. In fact, that used to be my staple when I was doing exams during school days. And to have my eggs ruined meant that the rest of the dish just didn’t go down so well anymore. I left Zedz feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. Was Zedz a one trick pony?

**I am well aware that this could be a one-off thing.

As luck would have it, Zedz had invited me to try some of their soups. (This invite had nothing to do with my breakfast since they had no idea I had been there for breakfast.) Seeing as my initial attempt to try their soups had been thwarted by my own poor grasp of time, I accepted.

Zedz does a range of soups for their lunch hours along with other menu items. Seeing as it was winter, soups were their hot items on the menu and Franjo the owner of Zedz has been diligently coming up with new recipes and new soups to wow his diners.

There are five soups that are currently on offer: Potato & Leek, Moroccan Spinach & Lentil, Winter Vegetable, Pea & Ham, and Beef Potato Paprica. They are all priced at a very reasonable $9.90 each and comes with two slices of bread.

Pictured: Pea and Ham Hock

I won’t be putting up a photo of every soup they have there. Instead, I will give you a quick run down on them. I was fortunate enough to have been given the chance to taste test all of them, but be quick as Zedz do change their menu every so often so if you see something you like, you better get there quick.

Potato & Leek

This was oddly grainy. The texture was off-putting and the flavour didn’t come through. Definitely the most unmemorable of the lot. I wouldn’t recommend it. Plus, the boy makes a better one, if I do say so myself.

Moroccan Spinach & Lentil

I was impressed to hear that this soup had been on the menu since Day 1 of Franjo taking over Zedz Cafe. That’s a whole 8 years ago! It’s one of their popular soups and taking my very first sip, I can immediately see why. Punches of flavour, generous use of spices, the serving was generous and with the soup overflowing with lentils, it was definitely a substantial lunch. I loved how filled with spices it was which was in line with what you’d expect from a soup claiming to be Morrocan.

Winter Vegetable Soup – pictured above.

Easily my favourite soup of the lot, hands down. Brimming with flavours, you could smell it coming a mile away as it was that fragrant! It wasn’t just my favourite, this was the boy’s favourite as well. The ingredients of the soup can sometimes change according to what Franjo finds in the market. This time round, we were fortunate that he had been able to obtain Kale and the soup was chock-full of it. Yum! The carrots gave the soup its sweetness and this incredibly tasty soup found its way back home with me to be eaten that night as dinner. Highly Recommended.

Pea & Ham

A beautiful soup that was also gorgeously peppery. Very suitable for a winter dish, this soup had the boy spellbound and you could easily see why as the flavours were honest and true. It was surprisingly heavy for a pea soup though not as heavy as the Moroccan soup. Another bowl? Don’t mind if I say yes.

Beef Potato Paprica

When you taste this soup, the first word that comes to mind is hearty. The next word that comes to mind is wine. Quickly followed by open log fireplace. It’s the kind of soup that you want to curl up with on a wintery night with a glass of wine to savour. The beef is tender and the different flavour elements of the soup meld together well to form a beautiful soup that would have made anybody weak at the knees and asking for more. My second favourite from the range! Highly recommended

The ingredients that Franjo uses are clearly top notch. Through my conversations with him, his passion for food is clear to be seen and his excitement and enthusiasm is both catchy and inspiring. While there were hits and misses in his soups, I do think that the winter vegetable soup is an incredible show of skill and also displays his deep understanding for how flavours work together.

Through my numerous visits to Zedz, the service has been consistently top notch. Friendly wait staff that were quick to respond and fast thinkers on their feet, whether or not the boss was around. I know that Lucia’s and Zuma are usually at the tip of people’s tongues when it comes to eating at the Central Market, but I do think that Zedz is rather underrated and needs some love as well as they do serve good food with quality ingredients.

And if you need more proof of his attention to detail, Franjo slices up various fruits and vegetables to pop into the water jugs to flavour the water. Just water? Think again! Now that’s smart thinking right there.

Do say hi to Franjo if you pop by Zedz. Tell him Celeste sent you. And sit back and soak in his knowledge while you embrace the love in his food. There is nothing quite like it.

There are gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options available at Zedz Cafe.

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