Luciano’s, Glenelg

disclaimer: I was a guest at the Luciano’s influencer dinner

It was a sad day when Esca down at Glenelg’s Marina Pier closed. It had been one of the longer-lived venues in this somewhat tricky space and was also one of the best located – central, with both marina and sea views. And it was actually also good.

It’s space has been recently reinvented as Luciano’s – a modern Italian restaurant, with Adam Swanson on board as consulting executive chef and Loris Facciolo as head chef. While Adam is probably going to be a familiar name (Zucca’s, San Remo ambassador) Loris probably not so much. That’s because Loris hails from northern Italy and brings his Milanese experience to Adelaide.

The refit of the restaurant is very ‘beachy’ – my guest’s word to describe it – with a big open kitchen and lots of neutral colours, with a real white-washed feel to it. Mercifully, important things like carpet, upholstered chairs, tablecloths (and really lovely cloth napkins) have been incorporated into the new design. Great news for anyone who actually wants to have a conversation! Even at our very long (and noisy!) table, you were able to hear the people next to and opposite you. This augurs well for smaller groups.

Of course, lovely furnishings, a great ambience and incredible sunsets only get a restaurant so far. The most important things are food and service (and not necessarily in that order). The waiter at my end of the table was charming (Italian, so maybe that goes without saying), efficient and helpful – volunteering mocktails for the non-drivers and ensuring that glasses were always topped up.

We were incredibly lucky to be treated to an astonishing spread of food. It felt like almost every single dish on the menu was presented to us – the idea being that we take a mouthful of everything. By the time main courses arrived, most of us were full (pasta does that to you) – it was an extremely generous spread.

I’m not going to list every dish I tried, nor am I going to put every single photo up: I’m going to go for the highlights. All the photos (good and bad!) are in a Facebook album here.

Highlight of the antipasti was the vitello tonnato. This is a dish which, to my mind, should just NOT work. Veal with tuna sauce. In English it just sounds … average (to be kind). But it is so good – the veal was beautifully tender, the tuna sauce (dressed with bottarga) was delicious. I’d have this again – and someone suggested that it would make an amazing sandwich filling. I’m on board with this – if Luciano’s starts offering a vitello tonnato sandwich at lunch … I’ll be there!

For pasta, we had mezzi rigatoni (short ones) carbonara (“no cream!” explained Adam), the linguini con volgole and the gnochetti with crab (the restaurant’s signature) along with risotto milanese. I’m not not sure which was my pick here … possibly the linguini con vongole purely because I don’t eat it often. Alongside the pasta, three pizzas were served – the winner easily being the prosciutto rucola e grana on the smoothness and creaminess of the fior di latte alone.

At this point the mains came out – I managed a mouthful of each. Twice cooked pork belly – deliciously tender and moist with crispy skin, barramundi parcel – also tasty and the veal cotoletta which was a big thick chop, crispy crumbs and beautifully cooked. A shout out to the side of broccolini although this could be improved upon with just a touch of chilli!

If you can believe it – we then wrapped up with dessert. Of these, the star was the white chocolate pannacotta with raspberries and pistachio. You don’t hear me say that often because white chocolate is comprehensively the devil’s work but this pannacotta was delicious – wobbly, smooth, sweet and cut through by the raspberries and raspberry coulis.

As I was a guest, I didn’t have to worry about the bottom line but the menu prices are all standard – if you eat out often there’s unlikely to be bill-shock. The menu (and drinks list) is online and the ‘tutto’ (or feed-me) option at $60 for six courses sounds like it should be sensational value.

Will I head back and spend my hard-earned at Luciano’s? The answer is yes. I promised Master 9 I’d take him there for a meal if it was any good … maybe we’ll see you there during the school holidays!

Patty Mac’s at Adelaide Casino

clean plate
Clean plates says it all …

disclaimer: I was invited to a media dinner at Patty Mac’s.
date of visit: Tuesday 6 February 2018

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been in, as in actually inside, Adelaide Casino. When I was at uni, my friends and I used to go there quite a bit. Firstly, there was the excitement of actually being allowed in (I was the liability who was ALWAYS asked for ID, so I usually had to go in last …) and secondly, at some point, a mate and I figured out that the cheapest, and best, wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce were to be found there. More recently … Sean’s Kitchen and Madame Hanoi – absolutely I’ve been there – but actually inside the Casino … nope, not for ages. With judi online and online casinos, gambling is easier and can be done from anywhere.

Apple Slaw
Apple Slaw – $7

So, on a hot Tuesday night, venturing into the Casino to check out the new restaurant, Patty Mac’s, was a whole new adventure in itself. I entered off North Terrace and Patty Mac’s is easy to find – straight up the stairs (OK, past a few glittering poker machines with their distinctive plink-plonk noise). The restaurant is housed in what used to be the station’s conductors’ office. It’s now a bright, light space (and very well airconditioned!). While the interior is by Studio Gram, it’s a lot more toned down (perhaps by that I mean ‘less distinctively Studio Gram’!) than many of their other Adelaide venues. It’s 1950s American diner chic: clean lines, chequerboard floor, and diner quotes adorn the walls.

Cobb Salad
Cobb Salad – $12

The menu follows suit – it’s short and sweet but laden with quick, comfort-style dishes, with burgers and hot dogs taking pride of place. We were treated to a selection of sides and quick specials and then our choice of burger. Anyone with space could also sample a milkshake and we wrapped up with the chocolate cherry pie.

Mac & Cheese Balls
Balls of Fire (mac and cheese) – $7

The restaurant’s strapline is ‘there’s always room for pie’ … this may not be entirely true.

Buffalo Wings
Buffalo Wings – $10.50

Our shared starters were the ‘Balls of Fire’ (mac and cheese balls, with a really tasty Sriracha-ranch dressing – these just edged the wings as my pick), the buffalo wings (maintaining their crispiness despite the clever sweet-sour-spicy marinade and sauce), the Cobb salad and the apple slaw. Both of the salads were great – despite the Cobb being loaded with things like blue cheese and avocado, it still felt really light, with soft juicy chicken rounding it out, and the slaw was very fresh and crisp and not bogged down by a ton of dressing. I’m pretty picky about salad – too often venues drown salads in dressing, so Patty Mac’s gets a big tick from me on this one. If you were hungry, the Cobb salad would work a treat as a light lunch.

Southern Fried Chicken Burger
Southern Fried Chicken Burger – $14

Burger-wise, I chose the Southern Fried Chicken burger – topped with fried chicken, lettuce, tomato and a really tart and crisp red onion pickle. Obviously, chips are on the side. I was particularly pleased that the burger bun was neither falling apart nor soggy – top marks there.

Chocolate Cherry Pie
Chocolate Cherry Pie – one slice is $6

We finished with the chocolate cherry pie. The kitchen brought out the whole pies to the table – they are normally served in wedges with whipped cream. I was pretty full by this point so requested I knife so I could have a slightly smaller portion. After that … I was fully full! The chocolate and cherry pie was delicious – but really ever so rich. Perhaps go easy on the savoury dishes (or duck in for a coffee and pie mid-afternoon …).

Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Freakshake
Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Freakshake – $15

So it goes without saying that I didn’t try a shake (sorry, but I took a picture of one). I can imagine children would go MAD for the shakes so, from that point of view, it’s a real shame that the restaurant is inside the Casino and off-limits for anyone under 18.

John, the Casino’s sous chef, stepped out of the kitchen to give us a few insights into the menu and the day-to-day functioning of the Casino. The aim at Patty Mac’s is to produce food that can come to the table quickly. With one eye on the football season (and I guess the Festival and Fringe will have given them a good trial run) the idea is to feed the hungry quickly. Even though the brigade is small the menu has been planned around this. He wasn’t giving away any recipe secrets (unsurprisingly) – so you will just have to go and check the food out for yourself. However, for a fun fact, he did say that the Casino turns out over 700 (SEVEN HUNDRED) covers a day on internal meals alone.

Double Patty Mac's Burger
Double Patty Mac’s Burger – the one that elicits the oohs and aahs – $17.50

Since dining at Patty Mac’s I’ve shown a few friends pictures of the burgers and they always get the same response (ooohs, aaahs). If you love a burger, Patty Mac’s is one place you should definitely check out.

Patty Mac’s
Level 1, SKYCITY Adelaide Casino
North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8212 2811

Great River Korean BBQ Restaurant, Gouger Street

kim chi fried rice
kim chi fried rice – no one was allowed to touch Master 6’s egg!

date of visit: Thursday 12 October 2017

School holidays might have been wrapping up but the onslaught of activities certainly wasn’t. Master 6 had a Come’n’Try Kung Fu session in the late afternoon in the city. A perfect opportunity to meet Andy after work and head for an early meal.

As an aside – if you have school-age children, the Come’n’Try program, which runs most holidays, is excellent. There’s a range of sports on offer for children to try out and the sessions usually cost around $5.

Anyway, during the afternoon, I asked Master 6 what he’d like for dinner (and frankly, if he’d answered sushi I probably would have gone crazy!). He had a little think and came up with Korean. This did rather surprise me, but as I love Korean I was going to roll with it.

A bit of research suggested that Great River would provide us with Korean BBQ but not force us into a buffet (quite possibly my single most loathed way of serving food). I scored a fantastic park on Gouger Street and we headed in.

As Great River is Korean BBQ, the tables are set up with the tabletop grills and above every one, an extractor fan. This gives the restaurant a slightly odd look – as you have the brown wooden tables and generally muted decor, with the silver tubing of the extractor fans and the bright individual table lights.

There is an à la carte menu at Great River but there are also ‘sets’, which serve various numbers of people. We opted for ‘Set A’ which comes in at $60. Our waiter tried to up-sell us to ‘Set B’ which she said served 3-4 people but I’m glad we went for the smaller set as we had a TON of food (and given that Master 6 can more than hold his own, I’d be recommending you err on the side of caution).

Set A came with pork belly, chicken and two types of beef, as well as a green salad, Korean fried chicken and cos lettuce for wrapping the meats in. We also ordered the kim chi fried rice (a very generous portion, topped with a fried egg) and, of course, we were served a range of pickles.

Drink ordering was a bit of a farce. Andy wisely chose a Boags, whereas I went for the Korean beer. I started by ordering a Hite. Our waiter came back – sorry, they are out of Hite. So I asked for an OB. Our waiter came back … and I ended up with a Cass. Maybe I’m unreasonable, but this is a Korean restaurant – if you’re going to list Korean beers on your drinks menu then expect that people might order them and either have them in stock or know your stock levels.

Korean BBQ grill
cook your own – an opportunity to incinerate some food!

My grizzle over and our grill plate heating up, food started arriving. Our waiter started us off with our BBQing before leaving us to it. We weren’t as expert as we might have been and a couple of the thinner pieces of beef in particular we rather overcooked (but burnt crispy edges are good!). The pork was my favourite, while Andy’s was the chicken. Although initially a bit scared of the fire from the BBQ, Master 6 quickly got into the spirit of the meal and ploughed his way through egg and rice, the cucumber pickle, and at least his fair share of the meats.

The green salad was lovely – quite simple and with a sweetish dressing but at least it wasn’t drowned in it. The highlight for me was the Korean fried chicken – small drumsticks that were a combination of sweet, salty, spicy, crispy and saucy. Despite eschewing the beef that had bone it (‘ewww, no bones!’) Master 6 enthusiastically chomped his way through the chicken, stripping the bones bare of meat … so if you have a child in tow, take baby wipes!

We thought that value for money wise, Great River wasn’t too bad. We had a ton of food, doggy-bagged our leftover rice and came out spending under $100. You can easily spend a similar amount of money on a pub dinner. The service is friendly but not particularly professional or efficient. Cooking your own food does make for a much slower meal than usual, so if you are in a rush, this is probably not the venue for you.

Also – the toilets are not the most glamorous in the neighbourhood … just keep that in mind!

Would we go again? Hmmm, not sure. I think I’d be making the effort to try out some of Adelaide’s other Korean BBQ.

Great River Korean BBQ Restaurant
103 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8221 6866

Great River Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato