Eat: Thanh Thanh, T-Chow, & Sweety

Last Thursday I ate. I think that is a good enough description of how my entire day was planned.

It all started with a Twitter call-out.

Where is the best pho in the CBD?

I’d been editing an article on pho the night before and staring at the writers photo just had me craving a bowl. See, I’m CBD specific because I was already in town and I don’t drive, so there was no way I could make it into the Western or Northern suburbs just to get a bowl. The resounding choice for CBD pho was Thanh Thanh, from people who loved it and people who had just heard rumours.

I’m getting a lot better at eating by myself, and this was a solo lunch. I picked the green paw paw salad & combination pho, plus a custard apple smoothie on Celeste’s recommendation.

combination pho, lemon soda, custard apple smoothie, green papaya salad. 

I’ll agree with others who have said the pho isn’t as beefy as some others, but believe me it was still delicious and completely hit my craving, it was just a bit subtle. The green papaya salad on the other hand was just delicious, fresh herbs with crisp grated vegetables, pork, and dripping in sauce. The perfect mix of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy that Vietnamese salad dressings are so well known for. I also grabbed a lemon soda- very reminiscent of the nouc chanh that was part of our staple diet in Vietnam, but with soda water.

I’m also so glad I read Celeste’s review before heading along, because the custard apple smoothie was just delicious. Smoothies are one of the things I miss from Vietnam. When we’d go down to the Tourist area of HCMC for breakfast we’d always grab a fresh fruit smoothie to go with our banh & egg. The flavours at Thanh Thanh were interesting: custard apple, avocado, and durian are the ones I can remember, and they were good value by Adelaide standards. I’ll admit though, it still hurts a little paying $10 for a bowl of pho.

Thankfully my large lunch meant that I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day, because my dinner date with Sam at T-Chow wasn’t until 9:30pm. He had work to keep him occupied beforehand, I had my nieces. I got there half an hour early and did a bit of people watching, with a bit of extra focus on the two cute Frenchmen dining across the road.

I ordered the Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab, San Choy Bau, and Eggplant & Pork Hot Pot. Sam had lemon chicken and some Asian greens.

Does anyone have a preferred spelling of San Choy Bau? I’m lost with which combo to choose. Anyway, the food. It was all tasty and filling. I would have liked a bit more of a crabby flavour with the soft shell crab, but the San Choy Bau was fresh and crunchy. I think it’s the perfect start to a meal. I of course over ordered, because I can never settle on one thing, so there was quite  a bit left over by the end of it.

Suprisingly we still at room for dessert at Sweety. I’d passed it earlier in the day on my way to Thanh Thanh, and figured I’d never tried it before so we may as well give it a go.

The room was a little too big to be quite as empty as it was, yet despite there only being a handfull of people inside our food took forever to come. We were starting to regret the choice because we were just so tired, and were hoping to just grab a quick bite to eat.

I had the Egg White & Almond Tea (hot). It was deliciously warm, and had just the right amount of sweetness balancing out the slight marzipan flavour of the almond. I really wished we didn’t have a 40 minute drive ahead of us, because this would have been the perfect dish to have right before hopping into a nice warm bed. I wasn’t a fan of my red bean on ice (drink), but I think that’s just a personal taste thing. Usually I’m jumping all over the place trying to get my hands on some red bean, but this just didn’t work for me, I did like it when I got a spoonfull of red bean and ice cream.

Overall Sweety left a lot to be desired, I’m sure we’ll be back to check it out again, but it’s not leaving any lasting memories with me.

Thanh Thanh on UrbanspoonT-Chow on UrbanspoonSweety on Urbanspoon

Eat: Eggless March Menu

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Eggless twice in one month, but March was a great month to do so. Eggless got into the Mad March spirit with their ‘Unearthly Delights’ Menu.

The first trip was with K & Miss C. I’d taken Miss C to a pretty fab Fringe show, but had to get baking the next morning, so K was giving me a lift al the way back home. As I treat to them both I shouted Eggless for the night. Miss C had the strawberry & hazelnut cheesecake and I chose the onde onde. I can tell you it was hard to resist the Unearthly Delight, but I already knew I’d be visiting again with Sam next week and I was saving it for then.

It was Miss C’s first Eggless visit, I can safely say I have another convert. I loved the onde onde, it reminded me a bit of mochi which I’m also a big fan of. The flavours change throughout the month, and they were calling for fans of their Facebook page to add in any suggestions.

The second time I was out with Sam. We knew we were after the Unearthly Delight and the Flourless Banana Slice with Lime, Elderflower & Black Pepper Sorbet weeks before we actually got the chance to visit. Now usually I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but how could I refuse this?

A wicked & delicious chocolate tard layered with raspberry jam, black cherries, chocolate ganache, pistachio cream, & pistachio fairy floss.

Oh my it was lovely. The black cherries popped in your mouth, adding a sweet & sour element, and I can never refuse a dish topped with fairy floss. I was also a little bit in love with the sorbet. Thankfully Sam let me tuck into most of that.

While the food was fantastic, and the ambience was great, as always the selling point for me comes down to the owners & the staff. Another win for Eggless.

Eat: Bliss Organic Garden Cafe

It was time for a brunch catch up with R, an old work friend. The location? Bliss Organic Garden Cafe. This was my first time at Bliss, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. R had raved about their brownies for a while, but the night before another friend had told me a few bad stories about her experiences. I was still going in with an open mind.

We sat outside, in a beautiful garden area. There was a wooden gazebo, and plenty of plants surrounding the table. There was definitely a very hippy vibe to the place, it felt like it was all about relaxing and unwinding. It actually reminded me of a few backpacker hostel type places in SE Asia, in places like Chiang Mai & Sapa.

I ordered banana pancakes with native syrup, a breakfast I used to get all the time when we were living in Vietnam, and a hot spiced apple drink that reminded me of something we had our last time in Sapa. Okay, yes I was trying to push the Asia nostalgia a little far. R ordered a BLT, but being vegan of course it was fake bacon.

My pancakes were light and the combo of banana and the syrup was very yummy, and the spiced apple drink was warming and delicious. R’s BLT was huge, and she couldn’t finish the whole thing. I made sure I tried a bit of her ‘bacon’, it had a strong smokey flavour, but definitely wasn’t much like bacon. R also raved about the vegan iced chocolate on the menu.

I loved the atmosphere here, even if it’s not my usual scene.

Bliss Organic Cafe on Urbanspoon

Eat: Chocolate Tree

It was time for a dessert date, and the toss up was between Devour and Chocolate Tree. As keen as I was to try Devour’s new menu I’ve never been to Chocolate Tree before so I thought I should give it ago. It seems silly when heading to a chocolate cafe, but I really wasn’t in the mood for chocolate. Instead I chose an apple and pistachio cake, topped with a little macaron. The other girls both went for waffles, one plain, and one nutty.

We decided to sit outside, it was a nice little area with a few small tables and fairy lights. It wasn’t too cold so it was nice to sit outside, that was until everyone around us started lighting up. I guess that’s apparently what you get for sitting outside, but it’s a pity because it’s a nice area and would be nice if people sat outside for the atmosphere not so they could have a cigarette. It definitely puts a dampen on dessert when someone else’s smoke is in your face.

The food was good, there wasn’t anything spectacular on the menu, but what they did have was good. I was surprised with my choice that the little macaron on top was actually an apple macaron, I assumed it would be pistacchio.

I think next time we’ll probably be choosing to sit inside.

Eggless Dessert Cafe

Tonight was spent at Eggless in the wonderful company of my food buddy Sam. It’s been months since I’ve been to Eggless, a place that used to be a regular haunt, but it was also Sam’s first time.

Peach Mille Feuille, Scraping Plates, Clipboard Menus. 

There is something about Eggless that always feels to warm and homely. Perhaps it’s the always amazing staff, or the mood lighting and happy chatter that can be heard throughout the cafe. It always remains one of my favourite places.

Of course we couldn’t choose tonight. Sam had narrowed down to two dishes before we came, as had I with two different dishes of my own. Instead of picking and choosing we were very happy to find the tasting platter had three out of our four dishes, and we ordered the Peach Mille Feuille  as well.

Tea Pot for One, Tasting Platter, & Lanterns. 

Everything was yummy, although the Tiramisu was a bit much for me. I’m not a coffee person, and so it’s just a personal preference, I know I would have loved it if I was a fan of coffee flavouring.

Eggless can be a strange place, usually there is a line outside, but they still make you feel completely welcome and you don’t feel like you need to vacate your seat at the nearest possible moment. The food is always great, but I honestly think that the staff are the reason this place has so many die-hard fans.

Eggless on Urbanspoon

TGI Friday’s at Westfield Marion

I heard a lot of TGI Friday’s when it opened. Not all of it good. Not all of it bad. So my sister and I headed there with three of my nieces to check it out. My sister, the 12, 7, & 3 year old nieces, and myself. We checked out online beforehand and saw that children eat free Monday-Wednesday, 1 child’s dish per adults dish over $15.95. It seemed like it would be a fairly cheap day out.

When we got there we were a little surprised to see most of the dishes were over $30 for a main. Perhaps we should have checked out the full menu beforehand. We ended up ordering entrees: buffalo wings & potato skins for my sister and myself. Thankfully they still counted these as mains.

The kids menu was quite good. Dishes were around $8-$12, and we got two of these for free. Miss I, 3, ordered a cheeseburger which she didn’t eat. Although she did happily finish Miss E’s hotdog, which Miss E refused to eat. Miss C, decided on the kids fajitas. Chicken, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, in a tortilla you wrap yourself.

The potato skins were good, but not quite as good as the ones up at the German Arms, the buffalo wings were alright, but a pretty small serving for the price. TGI’s best selling point? The cocktails. They have such a great range. I had a Singapore Sling, and my sister had a Pina Colada. There is also a good range of, cheap, mocktails.

Everyone there was really friendly, unfortunately they forgot to place our order. We were waiting for quite a while, with two quite hungry children, before being told that they had forgotten to actually place the order. We were offered a range of free things, although we would have preferred if they’d just taken one of the dishes off the bill, in the end we got three ice creams at the end.

Would I go back there? Not unless someone else was paying. Problems with food and service would be fine, if we were paying a lot less for it. I compare the price of an entree, main, and dessert with some of the other great places in Adelaide I could eat out at, and TGI’s probably won’t be on my to do list again in the future.

Rigoni’s Bistro on Leigh Street

The other night I headed to Rigoni’s with Sam, an old friend from school. We’ve recently realised how much more often we should be catching up. Not only is he so lovely, and great to chat with, but we also share a love of dining out. So when he messaged me about catching out I pointed out that I was hoping to get to Rigoni’s soon, and then we were booked in.

I’ve been to Rigoni’s a few times in the past, but unfortunately only for coffee. My dad works just across the road on Currie Street, and so on occasion I’ve popped in for a coffee with him. Back in December I tried their breakfast for the first time, something I’d been looking forward too. I took Roxy along for her birthday as a bit of a treat. She had poached eggs, and I had pancakes.

I loved that Rigoni’s breakfast consists of mainly staple breakfast items, each with an deliciously special twist. The poached eggs were not only done perfectly, but came with a tomato chutney that really made the dish. My pancakes weren’t your average pancakes. White chocolate and strawberry pancakes, with double cream, lavender sugar, and a quandong syrup. Prices were pretty average for breakfast, and we were very happy.

Poached eggs with spinach and sauce maltaise, white chocolate pancakes. 

Back to dinner. I borrowed my parent’s entertainment card for the night. Out of the hundred and something restaurants on the card, they’d visited a grand total of 0. I used it for the first time when heading to the Brasserie, so I’ve decided I’ll have to give it a workout before it expires in June/July. This meant we got one main meal for free, up to $35. Mains range from $25ish to $40, so it was a pretty good deal.

Appetisers: mixed greens & gravadlax, pork fillet, pumpkin gnocchi, lime panna cotta. 

I couldn’t pass up the gravadlax, beetroot and ocean trout gravadlax with caper berries, baby herbs, and black garlic croutons. It was really light, and the beetroot was quite subtle, but definitely noticeable. There were so many of my favourite things in this dish, there was no chance I wasn’t picking it. Sam had mixed greens, which were technically a side but they brought them out as an entree.

Mains were a bit muddled, I could have sworn I’d ordered the beef fillet, but it was under much deliberation. I ended up with the pork fillet. I honestly couldn’t say where the mistake was, but I’m guessing with me as I was tossing up between the two, and probably just forgot which I had ordered. The pork fillet was delicious. Pork fillet with mustard fruits, baked potato, taleggio & pancetta and caramelized garlic salsa. Sam ordered the pumpkin gnocchi off the specials board, but we were a bit too deep in conversation, and he missed that it had pancetta. He eats vegetarian, so when it came out they were really great and offered to take it back and bring back a meat free version. He felt terrible about it.

Then there was dessert. I had the panna cotta with watermelon sorbet, quandong compote, and biscotti. It was such a light and refreshing dessert, perfect for the hot summer night. Sam had the white chocolate, cranberry, and almond semi fredo. It was really interesting, not quite as light as mine, but a nice mix of flavours.

Overall we couldn’t have been happier with the experience, it’s such a lovely place, and I’m always a big fan of Leigh Street. My mouth still waters a bit when I flick through the food from the night.

Flying Fish & Port Elliot

I was invited to go down to Port Elliot a few weeks back to stay at the YHA Port Elliot Beach House. I jumped at the chance, because who doesn’t love a free holiday? Also, I love any opportunity I get to further explore the Fleurieu Peninsula, and Port Elliot is somewhere I’d been meaning to get back to for quite sometime.

Turns out I didn’t quite pick the best weekend to go down, we spent the weekend running between shelters and cars, as the rain belted down. Not that it made the area any less stunning. Our room at the Port Elliot Beach House overlooked Horseshoe Bay, and watching the rain and lightning over the water was quite a site.

We made sure we didn’t stay cooped up in our rooms, and we still got out to explore what we could. First we made it to the Mill at Middleton, to visit the Ulithorne Winery cellar door. We also made it to the Port Elliot Bakery, and Cockles Café. Although, I think we’d both agree, that we had the best time visiting the Flying Fish Café & Restaurant.

I had plans to head here for breakfast, until flicking through a book I saw it referred to as ‘the best seafood in the Fleurieu Peninsula‘. So plans were changed, and we managed to make a last minute booking (they do book up very fast), and this was our dinner for the weekend.

Inside the restaurant, complimentary prawns with sorbet, beer-battered oysters wakame, drinks. 

They were battling a bit against the rain, trying to stop it coming inside, but we were given a cosy table in the corner well away from the rain. We felt a little bit special when they turned up at our table with a complimentary entree, although, they did the same for the rest or the restaurant. The combo of prawn, tomato sorbet, and fresh cucumber was refreshing. It was almost like enjoying brawn with a shot of gazpacho.

We also ordered some of our own entrees. I couldn’t say no to beer-battered oysters with wakame, roe, and wasabe mayonaise, and then mum picked the scallops with coriander, ginger, and fresh lime. For mains I chose the king prawns, and mum beer battered fish and chips.

Thankfully dessert was also on the cards.

We didn’t get the chance to try them for lunch, they are popular for their takeaway fish and chips during the day, as the restaurant and cafe is right on the beachfront of Horseshoe Bay. You can grab something to eat, and a beer, and enjoy it as you watch the waves crash.

I can’t wait for my next chance to head down there, and see a little bit more of what is on offer, perhaps on a day when the weather is a bit clearer.

The Brasserie

On Thursday night Roxy and I were lucky enough to have free tickets to go see A Chorus Line. Lucky for us, because it isn’t really the kind of show that I would personally have bought tickets to myself, but I was interested in seeing it. It was an 8:00pm show, so we had time to kill before hand, and so with dinner on the cards we took it as an excuse to head back to the Brasserie.

I spent my 21st here, and we were so blown away by the food that I couldn’t wait to come back again. Unfortunately I never got a chance to visit the Grange, with well-known head chef Cheong Liew, the famous Hilton restaurant that closed down in 2009. The Brasserie doesn’t follow the same degustation style, and the prices aren’t as outlandish, and I’m still yet to have a dish from there that I haven’t enjoyed.

Beer battered zucchini flower, stuffed with woodside goats curd, vin cotta $15

After some public transport debacles on my behalf, and a spur of the moment meeting for Roxy, we were running a little late to our 6:00pm booking, which also meant we were on a tight time budget. Thankfully the staff were amazing, and easily accommodated for the fact we were stretched for time.

We decided to each get a main, a side to share, and then dessert. The zucchini flowers we had were incredibly tasty, with that rich flavour that only beer batter can have. They were crunchy, and the melted goats curd oozed out of them. Ever since my trip to Yok Thai in Sydney I’ve become a little bit obsessed with zucchini flowers, so its hard to resist when they’re on the menu.

T: Sous vide of Venison loin, pickled Adelaide hills cherry, shallot tarte tatin, Willabrand fig & almond salad. $34. B: Pan Roasted lamb rack, Dirty Inc & Goodies Grains super grain salad, lamb cigar, minted yoghurt. $35.

Roxy had the lamb, and I had the venison.  I would have enjoyed my venison if it was slightly on the rarer side, but I forgot to ask, and they didn’t ask me. It was still deliciously tender. One thing I love about the Brasserie is all of the extras on your plate, you can tell care has gone into creating every individual aspect.

We had to order dessert while we were still eating dinner, and pay the bill before we were done, all so we could quickly hop in a cab and make it to the Festival Centre on time.

T: Fresh peaches, frangipane, candied fennel, blood orange sorbet, almond biscuit. $16. B: Milk chocolate water mousse, roasted cocoa nibs, warm salted caramel, micro mint. $16

You can understand why we needed to stay for dessert. My tart was really night, and the perfect end to a summer meal. Especially with the blood orange sorbet that just exploded in your mouth. The mousse melted in your mouth, but as I’m not a huge chocolate lover, I don’t think I could have eaten a whole one. Roxy and I both agreed that we could probably never eat mousse again, unless it was made with Haigs chocolate like this one.

I can’t wait to go back there again, even if there is another year between visits. I love the passion they have for local ingredients, and think anyone in SA should head here at least once in their life.

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar, Adelaide

When it comes to my ‘food buddies’ we usually stick to specific meals. Hannah is my café buddy, and this usually means we catch up for lunch, Roxy is usually breakfast, and Rhi is dinners. When it comes to desserts, I share them around. Last night it was time for me and Rhi to catch up, we don’t work together anymore, so these dinners are usually our big gossip sessions. Our place our choice, Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar. As soon as we found out this was opening we had it on our sights, the word polenta was enough to get us there, but unfortunately it took us forever to actually book a night.

Last night was that night, and it was worth the wait.

Pork Belly, Polenta Con Spinaci e Gorgonzola Dolc, & Crostini di Pate Misti

Everything is shared at Andre’s. I suppose it doesn’t have to be, but that is one of the things that makes the meal. We started with the Capesante (not pictured), half shell scallops crusted with breadcrumbs. Then picked a main, a cucina, and a polenta to share between the two of us. The dishes were brought out one at a time, except the main and the polenta which are designed to be eaten together. We never had a moment where we were sitting, waiting for food, and we never had to worry about our food getting cold as we tucked into another dish.

The pork belly had a little too much meat on it, in my opinion, I would have preferred a much larger ‘fat’ ratio. They were generous sized pieces, and it had a good flavour. The polenta was smooth and creamy, it had wilted spinach and gorgonzola cheese. The gorgonzola gave it a strong aroma, but the flavour was very subtle, which we both loved. We both picked the crostini straight away off of the cucina menu, a platter of toasted breads with Italian patè. Our favourite was probably the basil pesto, it had such a strong flavour. There was also peperoncini, artichoke, and canellini bean and truffle patè.

Dessert menu, Polenta Gelato, & Bomboloni

We were feeling pretty full after dinner, but we still knew we wanted to try dessert. Once again we decided to share, rather than pick one each. The whole menu was tempting; a coconut, pineapple, and mint panna cotta, or a delicious chocolate fondant, in the end the two we chose were ones that we felt we’d be less likely to find at another restaurant. The Polenta Gelato was amazing, not only did it come in two individual portions, so that we both had one, but it was beautifully presented, had a great mix of textures, and a lovely sweet taste. It was topped with fairy floss and a pretty little flower, and had a pistachio praline, that gave it a nice crunch.

The bomboloni were small banana filled doughnuts, with a chocolate sauce in the centre. There was a sort of vanilla bean cream to dip them in, and it was all very delicious.

The staff were friendly, and attentive, and made us feel completely at home. We were very impressed with the whole experience. The only downside is they don’t have their own toilets, and instead you have to go through the lobby of the hotel next door. It just broke the atmosphere a little bit, but other than that we loved everything.

I don’t rate lovers, and I don’t rate restaurants, but know that this is somewhere we hope to get back to soon.

 

To keep things interesting, the mains menu changes every night, so you can always hope to find something different.