15 June 2011

my radelaide adventures pt 1 - Andre's

This long weekend I managed to dodge the ash cloud and take a trip down to the city of churches. Being in a job where I am surrounded by all things South Australia, I thought it was time I discovered Adelaide for myself.

I consider myself a bit of a planner (possibly a control freak) so the weeks leading up to my weekend away were spent researching restaurants, wineries and all the foodie things to do and as it turns out, SA is a foodie's paradise.

Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar was the first restaurant stop on my carefully detailed itinerary. First impressions last and my first ever introduction to polenta wasn't great. Before Andre's I had never had good polenta plus I always thought of it as "Northerner food" which you can blame on a Sicilian upbringing. I grew up with the steadfast belief that Southern Italian food is just better and it is in most cases (you can't take Sicily out of the girl) but I consider myself an open minded Southerner so I booked Andre's in the hope of being converted. 

Andre's bar
We have quite an early dinner booking as we want to make it in time for the opening night of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The greeting at the door was lovely when it eventuated, it seemed as though the restaurant wasn't quite prepared for us as it took quite a few minutes for someone to seat us. After being seated the waiter was lovely and suggests we choose a few starters, entrees and two mains to share as the food is made for sharing. 

Fritto misto di mare
We start with a bit of a crowd pleaser, delicately fried seafood with lemon aioli. It came with battered calamari, whole baby prawns and sardines (a personal favourite). The frying really was delicate, not over oily and super crispy especially those whole baby prawns.

Piattata di salumi misti
If you aren't drooling at the site of this delicious plate of antipasti, there is something seriously wrong with you (in the nicest way possible of course). To me, nothing is better than a plate of fresh Italian salumi, you know you're Italian when the sight of this is more appealing than a plate of chocolate. This plate was a mix of prosciutto crudo, mortadella, salame, porchetta, cacciatore, bresaola, lombo and guanciale finished with a drizzle of notably great extra virgin olive oil and fresh bread (another weakness of mine). 

Swordfish carpaccio with zucchini lemon, grapefruit and chives
This swordfish was as pretty as a picture (although my picture doesn't do it justice). The uber fresh swordfish was wrapped around zucchini and finished with a light lemon and grapefruit dressing. It was a great way to finish off our entrees because it was so fresh and easy to eat amongst some of the heartier dishes. 

Polenta with duck ragu in bianco and roasted chestnuts
Now onto the polenta, I will admit I was skeptical but this was genuinely delicious. The polenta was smooth, creamy, and not even the slightest bit grainy and the duck ragu was cooked beautifully so that the duck was soft and tender. I love chestnuts and they were a beautiful addition to this. I haven't had them in a while and soon as I tasted them  there was instant memories of eating them warm on a Winter's night after my nonno had roasted them outside.

SA prawn and bug meat ravioli with cauliflower, beetroot and pancetta
Now the lovely ladies I was dining with commented on the serving size of this dish and it was quite small if you are sharing. The pasta was al dente, the filling was so meaty and genourous and I loved the cauliflower but the beetroot was a little confusing, I'm not sure how well this worked with the dish. Apart from that, the ingredients were noticeably good quality.

We didn't get to order dessert as we grabbed the bill, payed and rushed out the door in time for the festival. I would definitely return to Andre's when I'm back in Adelaide, it was home style Italian food done exceptionally well. Plus I can now say I have been converted, Andre's polenta has changed the mind of a stubborn Sicilian. 


  1. Adelaide is such a beautiful city...I remember visiting their as a kid with my Mum & Dad, as my sister and her hubby lived there for a while. We went to the Barossa Valley wineries, which was so beautiful - the scenery that is (I was only about 8 or 9 years old, so no wine for me!) I also remember going to the parks and picking the cones off the multitude of pine trees - we took them home, pulled the nuts out and carefully cracked off the outer covering with a hammer to release delicious pine nuts (a popular ingredient for Lebanese food!) Great memories.
    Thanks for sharing a great post that reminded me of my own Adelaide adventure B!

  2. I really enjoyed all of the food that I ate in SA. In fact I don't think I had a dud meal. The produce is so fresh there and delicious. Love the look of the swordfish!

  3. Lucky you for dodging the ash cloud, which then made an unwelcome return!

    I think all food-lovers tend to be planners when taking holidays because it means maximising the amount of food consumed into your days and making sure you don't miss out on any bookings-only places - I'm definitely in this boat =)

    And chestnuts! They always make me think of winter.

  4. @ NotQuiteNigella

    I only ever hear good things about SA and it's food, everyone is always pleasantly suprised.

    So glad i'm not the only planner and chestnut lover!

    Thanks for your comments ladies