date of visit: Wednesday 14 May 2014
disclaimer: I attended the dinner as a guest of Crowne Plaza Adelaide.
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.
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).
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.
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