I can’t believe it is already June and half of 2018 has nearly gone! 😦
A couple of weeks back was the National Reconciliation Week. Did you participate in any events? I went to some to learn more about the Aboriginal and Torrens Island cultures and see how our nation is united. On this note, many people from overseas asked me what is typical Aussie cuisine. I cannot answer – Is it Aussie barbecue our national dish? OR modern Australian typical enough to stand for Australia? OR perhaps any dishes using our native plants and meat?
When comes to dishes using native produce, Red Ochre is the most famous to go in Adelaide. Nested together with the River Cafe, the restaurant specialise in using native produce in all sorts of dishes.
This venue is also participating in the Festival of Food 2018 program. Diners can choose to a 3-course menu featuring a tasting platter, one main each and a share petit fours.
However, for people who wants to experience their menu more, the Chef’s Feed Me Menu is available at $50 each. We went to Red Ochre a couple of weeks back to experience the menu and it was such a feast!
Quandong Bloody Mary $17
This was Tina’s drink on the night. Drinks are not included as a part of the food menu.
The Chef’s Menu contains snacks, entrees, sorbet, mains and desserts. Below are the snacks that we had on the night.
Spencer Gulf prawn tom yum on shrimp cracker – The very fresh prawn was pleasant on the palate and being “tom yum” it gave the slight chilli, fragrant and creamy flavour. Combined with the crunchy shrimp cracker, it is really great to start the dinner with.
Smoked Mussels, whipped fetta and pickles on toast – This was my favourite appetiser. The smoky flavour of the mussels and the toast worked well and the whipped feta improved both the creamy flavour and the mouthfeel. The pickle is very refreshing too. Highly recommended.
Streaky Bay Oysters, samphire and fingerlime – This dish is a good showcase of native plants in modern cuisine. The so-fresh oysters combined well with the fingerlime, which has higher acidity than lemon, to give a much more fragrant flavour on the palate. The samphire looked like caviar and added slight saltiness to the dish as well. This dish also highly stimulated our appetite too. Recommended.
After the snacks/appetisers, the dinner moved onto entrees, which exhibited more native produce.
Seared Emu Fan Fillet, with native muntries, whipped fetta, eucalyptus and fried salt bush
This was my favourite entree on the night. I never thought emu meat can be so tender and moist that it melt in the mouth with less chewing. Over the years, I have tried alpaca, crocodile, horse, venison, kangaroo and wallaby meat but none of them had similar feeling and experience as the emu fillet. Served rare (maybe blue), the emu pan fillet was very delicate and exhibited plenty of flavours which led me to continuously bite! The muntries added refreshing fruit flavour while the eucalyptus really lifted the flavour. I am a big fan of salt bush as it added salty flavour without the need for salt. Highly Recommended!
The second entree is a crocodile dish.
Salt and Pepper Fried Crocodile Fillet, compressed watermelon, cucumber, onion, chilli, peanuts, Asian herbs and nahm jim dressing
No feast with native ingredients is complete without crocodile in Australia, isn’t it?! As you can see from the ingredients and the presentation, this dish had very strong influence from Asian cuisines. Crocodile after deep frying tastes like chicken and the other ingredients provided saltiness and peppery flavour while the watermelon and cucumber added the freshness and fruit hints.
Slow Cooked Lamb Ribs, crispy fried, glazed with reduced masterstock, bush tomato relish, red cabbage slaw and puffed quinoa
This lamb cannot get any better! The extremely moist lamb was deep fried but the meat was soft, off the bone and melt in the mouth with balanced amount of fat and meat. It is not greasy but rather it felt like to have a splash of fragrant of oil on the palate. The bush tomato relish is a highlight to add the acidity to equilibrate the fat content. Recommended.
After the three entrees, a palate cleanser, Parsley sorbet with frozen yogurt was served. It cleaned the palate quite effectively and removed any fat or spicy flavours from the entrees that left on the palate.
The mains are coming… On the night we had three mains, a kangaroo, a barramundi and a pumpkin dish.
Orroroo Kangaroo Loin, char grilled, eucalypt smoked mash, charred leeks, slow cooked beetroot with native jus
This is a must try dish! The kangaroo was grilled to perfection. Served med-rare the meat was still pink and was so tender and delicate in the mouth. It maintained the succulent kangaroo flavour while the charred leek and eucalypt smoked mash added creaminess and the smokiness, taking the dish to a completely different channel. The beet flavour and its slight sweetness really balanced the meaty flavour well. Most importantly, I did not need to add any salt! Highly recommended!
The second main course was the Barra.
Cone Bay Barramundi, pan fried fillet, pea and rivermint puree, sauteed warrigal greens, caramelized leeks and cooked speltwith native salsa verde
The fresh barra fillet was pan-fried and served with greens and leeks. The skin was as crispy as possible while the white flesh was soft and easy to break. The fish itself has already been well seasoned. It worked very well with the leek which has been caramelised to give the charred flavours. The puree added thicker mouthfeel and the rivermint fragrant, making every bite a pleasant journey.
Redgum Smoked Pumpkin, wattleseed chevre, seaweed & macadamia crumb, native thyme
This is a pure vegetarian dish. The pumpkin was smoked with redgum and the flavours and smell have been diffused into the flesh. The cherve added creaminess while the crumb added slight acidity and sourness. All flavours worked well by itself but did not excite me personally as a whole. If you have it with the other main dishes, this may improve the flavour and later I heard from the waiter that this was what the dish was designed for, Be sure to accompany it with the other two dishes.
At this point, Tina and I were more and full and we soon found there were more to come – a dessert and petit fours.
Macadamia Cream Meringue, disk atop macerated native fruits, macadamia nut whipped cream, quandong yogurt sorbet, native thyme sherbet and strawberry gum
This dessert was sooooo good! I am not praising for it but it really has the wow factor. The cream was full of macadamia flavour and the disks was crunchy with fruit fragrance. The quandong yogurt sorbet provided sweetness and freshness on the palate and this really lifted this dish onto the next level. Highly recommended!
Petit Fours – The lamington really made my day! 😀 Sweet and fruity!
As you can see, native ingredients are actively used in recipes of this venue. They make better flavours and improve dishes and their tastes significantly. If you are keen, why not try yourself? Otherwise, I would strongly recommend all of my local readers to try to cook with Australian native produce – there is a lot to be investigated!
War Memorial Dr
North Adelaide, SA 5006
P 08 8211 8555