After being introduced to the Festival of Food last year by a fellow food lover I was counting down for this year’s festival to begin. The Festival of food is a great Adelaide promotion which offers a selection of high-end restaurants at a discounted price to encourage diners to go out during the colder weather.
Sarah and I began our Festival with the Botanic Gardens restaurant for Lunch on Saturday. I love everything about this restaurant. From the moment we walked through the garden gates beautiful trees and lush green grass surrounded us. Walking down the garden path towards the restaurant, we felt like we had entered wonderland. Making our way down the tree-lined path they towered above us and we stopped to admire the huge old trees and discussed intently how long ago they must have been planted and wondering if the person who had planted them had any idea how beautiful this garden would one day be.
Once we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our table. The decor is lovely and mirrors the English garden feel of its surrounding scenery. Through the festival of food we are given a set entrée and dessert, with a list of mains to choose from, and the option to purchase additional sides and dessert.
The meal begins with a choice of house-baked sourdough or squid ink infused sourdough bread with cultured butter. Both Sarah and I went with the classic sourdough, but I have tasted the squid ink infused bread before and find it slightly more salty than the classic sourdough. For entrée we each received a tasting plate with three items:
- Woodside buffalo curd, heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions, saltbush tapenade, olives
- Hiramasa kingfish crudo, avocado, compressed apple, native ginger, miso, wild rice, sea parsley
- Pork hock persillade, caramelised apple mousse, horseradish, pears, fennel seed bark
All were delicious, the flavour combinations worked so well together and the textures of each dish perfectly complemented each other with combinations of soft, crunchy and creamy. As anyone who has eaten with me will tell you I am all about textures, I believe the right combination of textures is just as important as the combination of flavours.
For our main dishes, I ordered the Coorong Angus rump cap, beef shin, puffed tendon, smoked potato, beetroot emulsion, caramelised garlic and Sarah ordered the 16-hour lamb neck, lamb bacon, Lebanese eggplant, ras el hanout, chickpea sprouts, preserved lemons. We also ordered the roasted heritage carrots, cumin, mint, caramelised buttermilk dressing and the dutch cream potatoes roasted in sage butter & olsson’s macrobiotic sea salt as our sides. To be honest, we would have been fine with the one side but they were both delicious so we weren’t too disappointed that we had over-ordered. My dish was delicious; the beef shin was so tender it was perfect comfort food for the cold autumn day. Sarah and I aren’t really huge red meat eaters and will usually opt for chicken when ordering out, but we were both happy with our choices.
To finish they served us a Petits Fours of macadamia ice cream, dark chocolate and puffed wild rice. It was perfect; the smooth sweet nutty ice cream paired with the crunch of the bitter chocolate and salty rice perfectly combined everything I love. Sarah even mentioned how perfectly the textures worked together.
The entire experience was perfect, the food was delicious; the staff were absolutely lovely and the surrounding gardens provide a tranquil view and a lovely setting to walk around in after our meal.
The Festival of Food runs from May to August each year. You can find out more information about the program here. I’d love to hear what you think about the other dishes on their menu; was there a dish even more delicious than the beef?