Redsalt Summer Menu at Crowne Plaza Adelaide

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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Crowne Plaza at the menu launch. See the full menu on the Redsalt page.

Summer has hit Adelaide with a short sharp blast to remind us what is around the corner. Last Thursday he maximum came perilously close to 39°C. A cool change came through at 2am Friday morning and it’s been gorgeous Spring weather ever since … but that doesn’t mean that summer is far from our minds.

It was also appropriate for the Redsalt summer menu launch – how would it stand up to some seriously summery weather? You might remember that earlier in the year I attended the winter menu launch and found it an impressive affair so I was pleased to be invited back for seconds.

After pre-dinner drinks in the bar we sat down to suss out head chef Fran Ghidini’s latest creations.

Our amuse-bouche was a dish which is featured on the menu as an entrée. A warm pea soup topped with a pepper (pastry) crisp, goats cheese cream, mint and peas. This was served in some very funky little cups that were modelled on squashed plastic cups which caused a lot of comment. While my attitude towards peas is best described as ambivalent (ahem) I really enjoyed the soup and the goats cheese and both the pepper in, and the texture of, the crisp worked as a lovely counterpoint to the peas’ sweetness and softness.

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Next up we were served a tasting platter of other entrées. A prosciutto wrapped piece of mozzarella served with house-made kimchi and an olive puree worked surprisingly well. The olives provided a strong umami backbone and the excellent kimchi, while not for the faint hearted, contributed both punch and acidity to the richness of the cheese and prosciutto. The other stand out entrée (and the one I would order) was the smoked Coorong mullet with broad bean and daikon puree and a pink peppercorn dressing. This was a dish where every component worked together seamlessly and the two pink peppercorns sitting atop the mullet not only looked perfect but added a sour and hot finish.

The other entrées we tried were the pork and duck rillette (which I thought a little under-seasoned), an heirloom tomato salad and a beetroot and cashew cheese raviolo which appears in the main courses as a vegan offering. This was the only taster I didn’t like – the cashew cheese (something I have never tried before) didn’t work for me – it tasted in no small part like not particularly nice goats cheese. I’d be really interested in hearing a vegan’s thoughts on this dish (or, indeed, on cashew cheese in general).

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We chose our own main courses so I opted for the ocean trout with a beetroot puree, fennel and pernod compote, fennel salad and lime gel. I love fennel so I was never going to choose anything else! The fish was cooked beautifully (with crispy skin – the most important part) and while I question the attractiveness of the smear of beetroot puree (I have no alternative idea though, I’m afraid) everything again worked well taste wise. The finely shaved fennel retained its texture and its no surprise it paired well with the fish.

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The coffee trilogy wrapped up our meal. The Crowne Plaza’s desserts are very generous and this dish would be perfect if you are planning on sharing. The absolute winner on this trilogy was the coffee and chocolate mousse, served on a crisp almond toffee sheet. The mousse had a beautiful mouth feel and did not shy away from a coffee hit at all – bitter and powerful. I loved this and was really quite disappointed that we only received a quenelle of this because I would have been happy to sink myself into a full bowl. The almond crocante did the job of delivering the last of that coffee mousse goodness along with some jaw-sticking sweetness. The tiramisu ran a distant second and the coffee and grappa ice cream really didn’t quite work for me. I have some very strong feelings about grappa and in this ice cream the grappa really dominated. However, given the reaction of the people sitting around me, I’m very very much in the minority on that one!

During the evening we were also spoilt with wines from Bleasdale (the Pinot Gris which picked up Best Other White at the recent Royal Adelaide Wine Show) and Pike & Joyce (the Pinot Noir).

Redsalt still supports Eat Local SA and the new menu again offers innovative dishes alongside staples (and dishes that will cater to a variety of dietary requirements) – at very reasonable prices. It’s also a delight to see a seasonal revamp of the menu.

Crowne Plaza Adelaide
16 Hindmarsh Square
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8206 8888

Redsalt on Urbanspoon

Redsalt at Crowne Plaza

 

date of visit: Wednesday 14 May 2014

disclaimer: I attended the dinner as a guest of Crowne Plaza Adelaide.

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I love hotel restaurants – some of my most memorable (for good reasons!) meals have been in hotel dining rooms. The variety in decor and cuisine and the superb people watching opportunities usually make for a top lunch or dinner out.

The Crowne Plaza in Hindmarsh Square is (I think) the newest hotel in Adelaide but no longer the newbie. It sits where once upon a time there was a cinema and also around the corner from where I used to work. The hotel’s restaurant, Redsalt, has been on my to-do list for absolutely ages.

Fortunately for me, I was invited along to a bloggers’ dinner to preview the newly launched Winter menu. After a brief cold snap, Adelaide was back to some unseasonably mild weather, so winter dining might not have been the first thing on my mind but that’s something that can be overcome easily …

We started off with a few introductions (though, being Adelaide, everyone knew almost everyone else already anyway!), a glass of NV Croser and the chef’s tasting plate.

The chef’s tasting plate consisted of tastes of a few of the dishes you’ll find under ‘begin’ on the menu. There were three takes on salmon (the pan seared salmon with a black sesame seed crust the absolute winner in my mind – I could have eaten solely that and been happy), a scallop with chorizo and parsnip puree and the Balsamic pork belly with squid.

This was a very beautiful plate of food which not only looked good but worked well together. The trio of salmon was the highlight and something you should seriously consider. The one weak point was that the squid with the pork belly was a little chewy.

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Our second course was a taster of the pasta dishes that Redsalt offers. Roman gnocchi with harissa, goats cheese and lime ravioli and black squid ink and lemon risotto – topped with squid that was again slightly chewy. This was combination of dishes which worked really well together, and I’m surprised that it doesn’t feature on the menu as an entrée in its own right (it may well be too labour intensive though). The star here for me was the goats cheese and lime ravioli – the fattiness of the cheese was cut through beautifully by a really intense hit of lime. Our wine pairing with this was a Petaluma Sauvignon Blanc which worked really well (though, if you are a die hard Riesling fan, an intensely limey Clare Valley Riesling would work brilliantly too).

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For main course, I chose the braised beef cheek, with mixed wild mushrooms, garlic pomme puree and port jus. This was a really hearty dish. The enormous cheek was falling part and imparted a lovely stickiness to the both the mushrooms and the sauce. The potatoes were silky smooth and the sauce (while a touch salty for me – but I’m normally a super low salt person – I know my dad would have thought it was perfect!) was rich and dense. This dish is on the menu at $29 and considering the pedestrian fare you can pay over $30 for in Adelaide this alone makes Redsalt worth ducking into on a cold winter’s day.

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We finished with a coffee semifreddo, served in a little cup and topped with Frangelico froth. This would have done as dessert on its own but it was accompanied by two large cinnamon doughnuts. The doughnuts were really good but by this stage even I could only manage one, preferring to concentrate my efforts on the semifreddo and froth. I think with coffee desserts it is always a challenge to get the balance of sweetness, bitterness and coffee flavour right but this nailed it and, of course, Frangelico is a great pairing with coffee.

The menu at Redsalt treads a very clever line between comfort food and all things slightly trendy or novel. It’s the type of menu where that difficult family member who only eats meat and three vege will be kept just as happy as a more adventurous eater. The prices are really keen: some of the signature and grill dishes push past the $30 mark ($125 for 800g of Wagyu anyone?!) but most main courses come in at $25-30. Based on what I tasted, this is great value.

As an added bonus, Redsalt has a focus on local ingredients and is a member of Eat Local SA so you can enjoy your dinner knowing you’re supporting all manner of local food producers. It also makes it a great place to take any interstate or overseas visitors.

The bottom line with any review is would I go back (and pay my own money)? Aside from already having recommended Redsalt to a few people, yes, I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Crowne Plaza Adelaide
16 Hindmarsh Square
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8206 8888

Redsalt on Urbanspoon

Swissotel, Sydney

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bathroom photos – they rock!

date of visit: Friday 12 October 2012

I know this isn’t a travel blog but I love staying in hotels – can you tell it’s something I do infrequently?!

Our stay in the Sydney Swissotel (on Market Street, in the CBD) was for just one night. We were attending a wedding and the happy couple had opted to stay in the Hilton. At the best part of $400 a night it was a bit pricey so most of our group elected to stay at the nearby Swissotel. We snared our rooms for just under $200 a night, which I think is pretty good for a Sydney CBD hotel.

The hotel is a bit odd in that reception is on the eighth floor. The entrance is actually very small and you are greeted by a concierge/doorman who directs you upstairs.

The real reception is very spacious and is right next to the cleverly screened off bar. We didn’t get a chance to critique the bar but it was obvious that it’s had a recent refurbished. Andy was not so secretly disappointed that he wasn’t going to be able to while away a couple of hours there.

While our room was a reasonable size by the time we’d fitted in a cot bed (one of the best we’ve come across, incidentally) and positioned luggage so it was out of the way of small helpful hands, there wasn’t really a ton of space. For me, this isn’t a criticism of a hotel room but quite often you read those type of complaints on review sites.

The bathroom more than compensated space wise. Bath and walk in shower were separate and the shower was very generously proportioned. It was also hot and high pressure – most important! The usual toiletries were provided.

Everyone we encountered was unfailingly polite and helpful but one thing that needs to be addressed is the ordering of taxis. We ordered one at reception but the staff member was unable to give us a wait time, suggesting we check with the concierge. Of course, he had no idea and while we waited an age what seemed like 100 empty taxis went past the hotel.

Overall the Swissotel rated highly and we’d definitely stay again on a similar room rate. Of course, it is a big hotel chain so aspects of the stay were a little generic but if you’re looking for a slick hotel stay in a big city Swissôtel Sydney will certainly do the job.