I'm ridiculously behind my travel eats.
So we were in South Australia late last year, stocking up on a 6-month supply of vino, and eating up a storm. (then again, when am I not stuffing my face, amiright?)
I've found that sticking to the restaurants that are most lauded with Chef Hat Awards by the Australia Good Food & Travel Guide is a failsafe. We tend to have the best meals when following said guide's recommendations. In contrast, we ate at this other Italian joint that the concierge of the Mayfair Hotel suggested was extremely popular with locals, and it was abysmal.
Chianti, one of Adelaide's top Italian trattorias, was where we had the most sublime Italian food. It was soulful and hearty, but polished, and inventive without being contrived. Every dish we had was a hit, and every dish, a must-try.
Service at the white linen-ed but still casual restaurant was also top-notch, efficient and gracious with that typical easy-going Aussie-warmth.
The Insalata d'Antra (A$23.90), a salad of lightly cured and smoked free-range duck breast, pickled fleurieu cherries, bitter & sweet leaves, red wine jelly, and roasted walnuts was absolutely smashing, in no small part due to the fact that the duck breast was outstanding.
The Flori di Zucchini (A$24.50), lightly battered zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta & smoked mozzarella, served with a spicy black olive sauce, was incredibly balanced and nuanced. So so good.
A seasonal off-menu special, the Insalata di Pomodoro (A$16.90) was simplicity at its finest. They just picked the fattest and juiciest heirloom tomatoes, drizzled a little local evoo and threw on a few arugula leaves for a peppery kick, and voilà, magic!!
The Frutti di Mare ai Soffocato (A$43.90), a towering melange of South Australian blue swimmer crab, pipi clams, mussels, king prawns, and oysters, suffocated in white wine, was seasoned with shallots, olive oil, garlic & fresh herbs. The seafood was sparkling fresh, and so wonderfully sweet the juices imbued the broth with an amazing flavour. Scrumptious to the last drop.
The fish-of-the-day, or Pesce del Giorno (A$39.90) was a luscious pan-seared coorong mulloway with the crispiest skin ever, set on a bed of fregola pasta cooked with roasted tomato sugo and vongole.
A complimentary refresher was served to cleanse our palates before dessert, and the Scropino, an icy pear & raspberry granita was tart and bracing.
The Tiramisu (A$17.50) a mess of savoiardi sponge fingers, espresso, marsala wine, mascarpone, and bitter chocolate may not look pretty, but wow was it sumptuous. It was rich, potent, and balanced all at once.
Part of the reason why the tiramisu looked so ugly, was coz it was dished out from a communal pot.
Complimentary crusty bread, baked in-house, and locally sourced evoo.
The complimentary amuse bouche, Stuzzichin, a crostini topped with ocean trout salsa with fresh tomatoes, wild fennel, and white balsamic, was so yummy I was tempted to ask for more.
The restaurant facade for reference.
160 Hutt Street
South Australia SA 5000
Tel: +61 8 8232 7955
Open weekdays from 7.30am to 12midnight;
weekends from 8pm to 12midnight