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.

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

Sunny’s Pizza

tomato salad
Mostly eaten tomato salad … YUM!


date of visit: 12 April 2017

Bad lighting – sorry for horrendous photos …

A friend of mine recently got married and before she embarked on a six-week long honeymoon a group of us bossed her into a dinner out. In hindsight, she was probably knackered from the wedding, from sorting out work before heading away and from sorting out the honeymoon … but she graciously squeezed us into what was probably a very packed schedule. Sorry Tash!

We decided on Sunny’s as our dinner venue because none of us had been there. Sunny’s is the new (well, opened in late-2016) kid on the block – in the west end but away from Peel and Leigh Streets, yet still sporting the ubiquitous Studio Gram design. It’s cool. It’s hip. 

So cool and so hip, it doesn’t take bookings. For five or six of us, on a Wednesday night, where people are sorting baby-sitting and travelling from outer suburbs this is almost a deal breaker. We were told we should be fine. In fact, we were only fine because one of us was in town an hour earlier, bagged a booth and ordered drinks while the rest of us straggled in …

Pizza
Pepperoni, olives … on a pizza. Check that crust!

The menu at Sunny’s is short – divided into pizza and not-pizza. It’s a simple menu and I’d recommend not taking your fussiest friends there. Fortunately, none of us is fussy, so after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we decided on three pizzas and two not-pizzas between the four of us. One pizza had a gluten-free base.

Our not-pizza options were a stunning heirloom tomato salad which I would have been happy to eat over and over again. All I needed was a plate of that to myself and some good crusty, chewy bread and I would have been happy. Dressed with basil oil and scamorza (a soft, cow’s milk cheese which featured very heavily on the menu) and microherbs – it was GREAT!

We also had the green salad which was basically a big pile of mixed lettuces dressed lightly with olive oil.

Pizza
Porky fennelly goodness on a pizza

On to the pizzas … Well, bad blogger that I am, I didn’t take a photo of the menu so I can’t quite remember what we had. For our gluten-free pizza we had a cheese and mushroom pizza, while pork and fennel and pepperoni and olives appeared on the others.

I’m not an aficionado gluten-free bases but, to my gluten-oriented palate – it was horrible. Flat, dense, without the right taste or texture. The topping was dominated by cheese and this was the only pizza that didn’t get demolished.

The other two pizzas were pretty good. I preferred the porky-fennelly number (I love fennel so that was always going to happen) but enjoyed the pepperoni one too. I particularly liked the fat, chewy, charred and blistered crusts. The dough was good. It gets a big tick.

One thing that gets a big cross, however, is the service. It vacillated between friendly, helpful, jovial … to, um, not great at all.

While the wine list is to be commended (small producers, everything by the glass) but the amount of time I waited for a glass of Grenache was untrue. Not only waited, but asked about it too … Really? Pouring a glass of wine isn’t difficult and the markup on alcohol is usually pretty generous. Get that glass of wine out pronto – the customer might order a second …

When we asked about dessert we were told that they don’t do desserts because they don’t have a freezer. Eh?!

And when we asked for the bill? Well, that was the same place my glass of Grenache was …

The upshot? I hope that Sunny’s isn’t too cool for school. Relaxed, casual, laid-back – all awesome things for a venue to pursue. So relaxed your customers aren’t getting their wine (or their bill)? Not so great.

Personally, the fact I can’t book and the uneven service means that I wouldn’t put Sunny’s out there as a recommendation and I wouldn’t go out of my way to return. However, the pizzas were good enough that, if someone else suggested it (or I were nearby and there happened to be space) I’d be happy enough to go for take-two.

Sunny’s
17 Solomon Street
Adelaide SA 5000

 

Cellar Door Fest: Insider Sneak Peek

Tidswell Wines
Tidswell Wines’ Norwood Cellar Door

Disclaimer: I was a guest at the event

Now we’ve all forgotten about Christmas and New Year, Festival season is well and truly kicking off in Adelaide. I can read through my Facebook feed without tripping over events, street parties and must-see acts.

One event which South Australian wine lovers should look forward to is the Cellar Door Fest, held every February at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

This year, the Fest kicks off on Friday 26 February and, as a sneak peek, a few of Adelaide’s food and wine lovers were treated to an urban cellar door tour.

The beauty of the Cellar Door Fest is that, in one weekend, you can (try to!) visit 180 wineries covering 15 of South Australia’s wine regions. Every year the Fest adapts and changes, and this year sees a strong focus on experiences. Alongside the masterclasses and long table lunches (an extended program) 2016 also sees the introduction of a beer garden. There’s a strong emphasis on food (especially cheese) so you’ll also be able to taste new products and chat to producers.

Charcuterie and cheese
Charcuterie and cheese by Bottega Rotolo

We started at Tidswell Wines, on Sydenham Road in Norwood. Tidswell’s vineyards are on the Limestone Coast and when they were planted in 1994 they were part of the Coonawarra. Unfortunately, when the Coonawarra GI was established in 2003 the vineyards fell outside the boundary. Today, Tidswell produces a range of red and white wines, all of which we could try (unfortunately I was driving – something of a fail for a cellar door tour). We also snacked on a lovely plate of charcuterie and cheese, provided by Bottega Rotolo.

Signature Wines
Lots of oohs and aahs when the door was thrown open to reveal the setting at Signature Wines

Next stop, and literally across the road, was Signature Wines. You’re unlikely to find Signature in a big bottle shop – Dan and Bec focus on on-trade sales, partnering with many of Australia’s top restaurants, as well as sales through the Norwood cellar door. Here we enjoyed a flight of four wines, accompanied by a pulled beef burger, put together by Jackie Singh of Ruby Spice.

Chocolate
Chocolate – from bean (far right), through nib, cocoa powder and finished products

Finally, we moved on to Tomich Wines‘ cellar door on King William Rd. We were greeted with more bubbles and wrapped up the evening hearing about chocolate. Marcus, from Stirling’s Red Cacao, took us through the chocolate production process and we enjoyed coffee and truffles (his raspberry ganache chocolate I HIGHLY recommend).

Throughout the evening we heard from people who have been involved in the Cellar Door Fest for many years. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming it’s all about wine but there is so much more on offer. And really – you can either take a week or two off work and spend a LOT of time driving, or … you can high-tail it to the Convention Centre and spend a couple of days checking out the best our state has to offer.

As something of a Cellar Door Fest veteran (I remember the very first one!) here are my four top tips:

1. Book online. Sure – you can buy your tickets at the door but you’ll save money and queuing time by booking online.

2. Get your timing right. That means – go early. The Friday evening session is usually quieter than the full weekend days so it’s a good option. If you are going on Saturday and/or Sunday – arrive early. As in, arrive when the doors open. There are fewer people so you’ll have the opportunity to talk to producers who aren’t faced with a phalanx of punters and who haven’t yet said the same thing over and over and over.

3. Make use of the pick ‘n pack service. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. Sure … you can pretend you’re not going to buy wine but you are and pick ‘n pack will look after your goodies and deliver them safely. Who’s to argue with a whopping 75% of last year’s Fest-goers?

4. LEAVE THE CAR AT HOME. This is a Cellar Door Fest and there’s never an excuse for drinking and driving. The Adelaide Convetion Centre is immediately adjacent to the train station and North Terrace is well served by buses and trams. There are also plenty of taxi ranks for the journey home.

Cellar Door Fest runs from 26-28 February at the Adelaide Convention Centre.