date of visit: Monday 6 February 2012
There’s been a great deal of chat on both twitter and foursquare about Eden Dining Room and Bar*, a relatively new … dining room and bar, down at Glenelg.
I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while and found an opportunity to drag my parents along for a Monday lunch. It wasn’t a very organised trip – I rang and booked about an hour before we turned up. My dad complained because the restaurant we had originally planned on going to had had sweetbreads on the menu and he was most displeased to have his lunch plans changed on him!
It’s hardly surprising that on a Monday lunch Eden was hardly packed. When dad first ducked in (to let them know we’d be a bit late for our reservation) he reported the place was empty. When our party was complete there were only a couple of other tables with diners. I understand that this is very much NOT the case on a Friday evening … reservations required!
Eden faces onto the marina at Holdfast Shores and you can sit outside and look at the big boats while you eat or drink. Or you can sit inside – where the space is divided into two. The bar area is super stylish with a gorgeous white tiled bar, limited booth seating and some sofas. The restaurant area is all marine plywood and very pale cream and brown. I think it’s best described as inoffensive.
As usual, I had the baby in tow and his high chair was all set up and ready to go. The table height was perfect so we were able to tuck the high chair in – I daresay he felt like a proper grown up! The staff were lovely with him too – but I would say that if you are going to take the smaller members of your family along to Eden choose your times wisely. Monday lunch – perfect. A busy evening, or weekend lunch – probably not such a good idea. Eden’s a little bit on the noisy side and I can imagine that by the time the bar is in full swing and the restaurant busy “baby friendly” is not an apt descriptor.
Settled at our table, our waiter ran through the menu and specials. She lacked a bit of confidence but knew enough to get the message across. Mum and I chose to have two entrées while dad did entrée and main, but requested a main portion of an entrée. Yep – restaurants must really love us turning up.
I started with the woodfired octopus – this arrived as pieces of octopus, served on slices of kipfler potatoes with tapenade. The plate also had (white) anchovies and rocket. Not only did it look very pretty but it was also delicious. Octopus and tapenade isn’t a combination I’d necessarily think of but it definitely worked. The octopus was tender and my only crticism would be … more anchovies!
For my second course I had the sweetbread special (dad ordered a main size portion of this too). The sweetbreads were cooked perfectly, with an every so slightly sweet glaze on them. At the end of the meal I was chatting to one of the staff who said that the sweetbreads had only just come on the menu and that they’d already sold 6 portions. She also said that they always try to have at least one offal dish on the menu. Very good to know if you are in my family.
Mum started with the crispy fried zucchini flowers and followed that with the pressed pork, while dad started with the Woodside goats cheese.
We washed all of this down with a bottle of Dandelion Riesling but Eden also offers the novelty of a blending room, where you can make up your own wine to go with your meal. You don’t really need to go to that effort though because the wine list offers plenty of by the glass options, as well as a reasonable selection of (mostly) South Australian wines. Although you could criticise the wine list for being too SA focussed it’s commendable that it doesn’t feature the same old-same olds that you find everywhere else. Someone has put some thought into it.
Eden isn’t cheap – we spent $120 on our lunch which we thought was quite reasonable for three people, given the quality and presentation of the food. I did find aspects of the service a little uneven – our first waiter (who knocked off part way through our meal) really needs to brush up her confidence with the menu and specials.
But that is just a minor quibble. I will definitely head back.
* The website is just a holding page – there’s more information on Eden’s Facebook page but don’t even attempt to read the menu there on a mobile device!