Il Mondo Caffe Bar

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date of visit: Tuesday 4 March 2014

There are way too many interesting bars opening up around Adelaide at the moment. One of the things that I loved about Leeds was the small bar scene. Yes – there were the arena sized Wetherspoons, the cheesy nightclubs and the shopping (oh, yeah, I never got into that!) but there were also so many small independent bars where you could get something interesting to drink.

This is something that Adelaide has lacked for far too long. Too many of Adelaide’s old pubs have had the homogeneous makeover treatment and, if you want to feel trendy, you can have a boring pint in many shiny establishments.

I don’t know if it’s the small bar legislation, but a bar revolution has been under way for quite a while and now, when faced with an all too infrequent drink after work, I find myself spoilt for choice.

Tuesday’s drink after work was postponed for a week which meant even more bar-prevarication on my part … but I held my nerve and headed along to Il Mondo Caffè Bar, located on James Place. Surprisingly central to Rundle Mall, for anyone needing a restorative retail tonic …

Il Mondo opens at 9:30 so breakfast, coffee and lunch are well catered for.  At lunch and after work (from 5:30pm) you can indulge in ‘il aperitivo’: a drink and free run at Italian bar snacks for $15. If you’re up for more serious food there’s plenty available, including my all time favourite, spaghetti con alio, olio e peperoncino.

Unfortunately I was there for a super quick drink so I couldn’t indulge in any aperitivo snacks and I certainly couldn’t wolf down a bowl of pasta (well, I could have … but at home, Andy and dinner were both waiting for me) so I had to console myself with the wine list.

The wine list is (unsurprisingly) Italian wine heavy with pretty much everything available by the glass (and mostly under $10). It is SO refreshing to see a wine list which doesn’t start by listing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc …

As it was a warm day, white wine was definitely in order. I’ve recently become a little concerned about the quality of wine by the glass being poured in Adelaide so when it came to ordering a glass of Falanghina (there are two Italian Falanghinas on the wine list – on its own, impressive!) I was cautious. After all, it was just gone 5 so would I be drinking from yesterday’s open bottle? And how many people in Adelaide are actually drinking Falanghina at the moment?

I’ve clearly spent far too much time thinking about the ‘stale wine by the glass conundrum’ because I’ve actually come up with an approach to counter it.

I approached the bar and asked “which of the two Falanghinas would you recommend and which have you opened most recently?”. This enquiry was met with a broad smile, an immediate recommendation and the offer to open a new bottle for us. You can imagine – I was sold.

My friend and I sat at a wine barrel outside, had a couple of glasses of wine and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. of course, the highest praise of all is that Il Mondo is definitely now on my “to return to” list.

And let’s face it – today’s Friday and you should really try somewhere new for that after work drink!

Il Mondo Caffè Bar
20 James Place
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: (08) 8212 3626

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Pork Chops with Sage, Italian Style

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Despite putting together fun meal plans for Eating Adelaide, our own meal planning has been pretty shambolic of late. We are getting back on track, but a lot of our choices are being driven by how quick something will be to put on the table. The toddler seems to be in the process of dropping his nap (we’ve done well – he’s almost 3 and until the last couple of weeks has routinely been napping 2-3 hours a day!) and Andy has just started a new job.

So there’s not a lot of time for leisurely kitchen activities. Dinner needs to be of the “put in pan and serve” variety. And, of course, I have the sage plant …

A quick trawl through my delicious bookmarks threw up this simple recipe for pork chops, from The Goddess’s Kitchen, an English blog I’ve been following for ages. Maria doesn’t blog as frequently as she used to, and a lot of her posts are baking oriented (one of the reasons I started following in the first place) but this simple pork chop recipe hit the mark.

I served it with mash and a few steamed vegetables, and made a simple tweak to the sauce (I opened the cream for the mash, so I figured I might as well enrich the sauce at the same time!). It’s a great way of using some kitchen garden produce and jazzing up a very simple supper.

Pork Chops with Sage, Italian Style

Ingredients

  • 2 pork loin chops
  • fresh sage leaves, to taste, but at least 3 per chop
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • generous splash of white wine
  • 1 tbsp cream

Instructions

  1. Add some oil or butter to a pan and cook the chops.
  2. When the chops are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. If there is a lot of fat in the pan drain.
  3. Return the pan to a gentle heat and add the garlic and sage leaves. Season. Add the white wine and reduce a little before adding the cream.
  4. Cook for a few minutes, until the raw alcohol taste is cooked out and the sauce reduces further.
  5. Serve the pork chops dressed with the sauce.
http://eatingadelaide.com/pork-chops-sage-italian-style/

Sage and Bacon Gnocchi

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Last week, after nearly four years at the one job, Andy said goodbye to a pile of workmates. Only just back from Spain, there was no way I was going to be the life of any party (or surrender up the toddler to babysitters – or maybe that should be “be surrendered”?!) so I stayed in.

I had a pretty lazy day and only once shops were closing and the toddler was in bed did I discover that the cupboards were pretty bare. Normally I would have spaghetti, chilli, oil and garlic but there wasn’t enough plain pasta for dinner so I had to put my thinking cap back on.

Fortunately the freezer was home to a small bag of gnocchi (of indeterminate age, naturally), the fridge had some bacon and we have a big pot of sage in the back garden.

Now, I could have done something healthy because we always have tinned tomatoes to hand but … I wanted super quick. Taking inspiration from the countless variations on sage and butter that you find in Italian cooking I whipped up a tasty, but also not very healthy or very balanced supper!

Absolutely perfect for a night in for one. But a word of advice – you absolutely HAVE to use fresh sage. Dried simply will not work at all.

Sage and Bacon Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • butter
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • fresh sage leaves, to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • gnocchi, for one

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan that is big enough to fit the gnocchi in.
  2. Chop the bacon and add to the butter.
  3. Start cooking the gnocchi in boiling water.
  4. When the bacon starts to brown and crisp, add the garlic and the sage leaves.
  5. When the gnocchi is cooked (it all floats), drain and add to the frying pan with the bacon, sage and garlic.
  6. Give this a quick fry and then serve in a warm bowl, topped with grated parmesan and plenty of black pepper.
http://eatingadelaide.com/sage-bacon-gnocchi/