Bread & Bone Wood Grill

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date of visit: Tuesday 23 September 2014

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that Peel Street is the new ‘it’ place to be in Adelaide. New small food and bar businesses are popping up all over the place (I’m not even pretending to keep up) and Peel Street in particular has zoomed past its neighbour, Leigh Street, in terms of density of offerings.

Bread & Bone already has a reputation for the best burgers in Adelaide and the people who I know who have already been there have all rated it very highly. While the exterior is quite imposing, and you can’t miss it, it’s not entirely obvious that Bread & Bone is the restaurant that’s tucked away upstairs from a small courtyard (downstairs is Maybe Mae, through its hidden door). I suggested it for lunch with a friend as I didn’t feel like spending a lot of money and the burger and hot dog side of the menu keeps everything under $20. For the evening or seriously hungry, there is also a selection of wood grill dishes that sit in the $20-30 zone.

It being lunch time, I took one look at the menu and chose the Bratwurst dog. A bratwurst with … kimchi and kewpie mayonnaise. There are three things that improve pretty much any savoury dish and these are sambal oelek, hot lime pickle and kimchi. Kimchi and rice is the highest form of breakfast, in my opinion. If kimchi is on the menu, the chances are I’ll order it.

My friend had the cheeseburger and ordered a green salad. The burger was a good size (we’d already spied on another table’s order) but neither burgers nor dogs come with fries (yes, that’s chips) as standard. My position on salad dressing is that it is mostly wrong and while this salad was dressed, at least the dressing didn’t have an overpowering vinegar flavour to it – it was much more subtle.

The hot dog (which you can see above) was excellent. The sausage was meaty, the kimchi was hot and packed a good vinegar punch and the kewpie counterpointed that perfectly. The bun did a good job of holding it all together and the napkins, while not cloth, are large, solid and more than up to the task of dealing with the inevitable mucky fingers.

Service was efficient and the food came out promptly – which at lunch time is a definite plus. I didn’t suss out the drinks menu but we did wrap up our meal with a caffè latte which also gets the seal of approval.

The bill came out at just under $20 a head which is certainly not the cheapest hot dog lunch you’ll find in Adelaide. However, you do get table service and an interesting and varied menu for your money. And considering that a sandwich can easily push the $10 mark, I personally would rather invest the additional money in a slightly slicker lunch.

I’d love to pretend I’ll go back and try the remainder of the menu … but … did I mention the kimchi?

Bread & Bone Wood Grill
15 Peel Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8231 8535
open from 11:30am

Bread & Bone Wood Grill on Urbanspoon

Curious Squire – New Menu Launch

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disclaimer: I was a guest at the dinner.

I feel like I start an awful lot of blog posts off with “XYZ has been on my to-do list for ages”. It makes me sound like I never get out and that I’m always a mile behind all the latest places to go.

The fact is that I should be confessing that I am pretty lazy and inclined to put off visiting places that require a bit of logistical forethought. And anywhere in North Adelaide almost always falls into this category because the parking can be horrendous. I do have a couple of secret squirrel parking spots, but I’m not divulging them here.

So while it’s true that the Curious Squire has been outstanding on ‘the list’ for quite a while I don’t have a good reason for not having been there. And when I was invited along to the new menu launch I was very keen to go.

The Curious Squire sits on the corner of O’Connell Street and Brougham Place, in the large space that was once occupied by the original Cibo (and then Sparrow). It’s a generous space, with an outdoor area and, in its current format, is unrecognisable from the Cibo days (the last time I was there!).

While the Curious Squire opened in late 2012 and has always had an American themed menu, it was only a few months ago that it welcomed a new head chef, bona fide American Drew Akin. Drew comes from Birmingham, Alabama and has overhauled the menu into an intensely personal and faithful representation of the food of the deep south. So faithful that the Curious Squire’s courtyard is now home to Gertrude, a one tonne Yoder smoker that was specially imported.

Our meal started off with chit chat and beers, iced tea or lemonade (nothing fizzy – house Omade from lemon juice and a simple syrup). The lemonade was amazing and while I’m not sure if it’s a regular on the menu, I recommend trying it if you spot it. For the record, the beer focus is James Squire (surely the clue there is in the name) and the wine list is short but solid, with all wines available by the glass.

Then the food started coming out. We knew the kitchen was showcasing its wares but my, we had no idea exactly how much food would be coming out.

The trio of dips, served with corn chips, was first cab off the rank. Of the three (spinach and artichoke, queso and tomato salsa) the queso was, for me, the definite winner. Topped with some candied chilli, it was a soft, warm oozy cheese, sitting somewhere between fondue and cheese toastie.

My focus on the dips was very quickly stolen by the chicken ‘buffalo’ wings, doused in a hot sauce and served with ranch dressing on the side. Oh my goodness – these were delicious. I ate a truckload of them, completely unmindful of the fact that even more food was yet to come. I love spicy food and while I have no doubt that some people may find these too hot or too messy, they were the perfect thing to eat on a cold night.

While I was packing away chicken wings, the cheesy chips were brought to the table. I wasn’t really that bothered by these (there were still chicken wings to eat, ok?!) but around me it seemed that most people had just discovered the best thing since sliced bread.

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After this we moved on to a succession of sliders – pulled pork, smoked chicken and Texas style brisket. These were all distinctly different and are available as individual meats, burgers/sandwiches or as a trio of sliders.

By this point, the staff could see that the pace of eating was slowing considerably and so gave us the option of trying some of all of the meats or just the pork ribs. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and just the pork ribs came out with a platter of all the sides that the Curious Squire offers, as well as some still warm cheddar and garlic biscuits (that’s scones). The sides seemed to really split the people around me. My favourite was easily the collard greens while the baked beans I found too sweet. Yet opposite me, the feeling was that the baked beans were the best thing on the plate with the candied sweet potato a very strong contender.

Drew explained to us that the ideal rib in the American south is NOT a soft, fall off the bone event (you’d be disqualified if you served that up at a bbq competition) but is rather something with some texture and chew to it – think baked ham. Because the rib is more highly prized than the belly the butchery of the pig is also somewhat different and so Drew has worked with his supplier to ensure that his ribs are delivered with that bit of belly meat attached.

The meat was amazing – easy to handle and delicious. And while it was not falling off the bone, it was tender. The Curious Squire will dress you up with an enormous bib but, to be honest, I didn’t find them messy to eat at all.

The meal wrapped up with some peanut butter pie which somehow I managed to eat about half of, despite not being a fan of peanuts and being full to bursting. Even the non sweet tooths at the table were impressed by this.

We finished the evening with a quick visit to Gertrude before heading off, not really needing to eat for another week.

I left incredibly full and impressed. Drew’s enthusiasm for his food really shines through. Every dish on the menu has a a story – from the jerk chicken he learnt on a beach while on holiday through to the peanut butter pie which is his grandma’s recipe.

As far as I’m concerned, I’d head back in a heart beat and would need nothing else to eat than the wings and ribs (which, happily, are available on the menu in concert in a Yoder platter, ideal for sharing). While this might not be every day food, it is fun food well done.

If you’re looking for a casual meal I would definitely recommend The Curious Squire. While the team did a brilliant job of catering for a vegan at the dinner, the menu is very meat focussed so head along with a group of protein seeking friends who perhaps don’t mind getting a little messy.

And … try the wings. If you head in before a football game you can buy them for just 50c a pop!

The Curious Squire
10 O’Connell Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
phone: 08 8267 6835

The Curious Squire on Urbanspoon

Plant 13 Bowden

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date of visit: Sunday 2 December 2012

Another venture out Thebarton way saw me looking for another place to eat. For a part of Adelaide that, on the surface, looks decidedly industrial and unloved, there’s a surprising number of eateries. Since our September visit to The Loose Caboose, another new place has popped up: Plant 13.

After sitting in Stereosonic traffic on Port Road, I was pretty pleased that we were able to park easily and have a nice, quiet sit down (yes, grandma-mode was well and truly on!). Plant 13 is a former pub, in a lovely Federation building – so right away it’s pleasing to see that the building has been loved rather than ripped down.

The Plant 13 philosophy is a holistic one: meat is sourced from happy animals, many ingredients are grown on site and they make as much as possible on site. Personally, this is the type of thing which makes me happy: low food miles, ethically raised meat and good, hard work in the kitchen.

Menu wise, the dishes have a strong American slant: things like buttermilk biscuits (which I think is really scones for the rest of us!), pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and Philly cheese steak all feature on the menu. For drinks Plant 13 produces all kinds of interesting combinations (mostly served in jars, from what we could see) – so if coffee isn’t your thing, you can have iced tea, an apple pie smoothie or a citrus blitz (which is what was recommended to us, but you’re going to struggle to get me to drink a mix of blood orange, lemon, lime, mint and sugar syrup – especially when coffee is in the offing).

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We arrived in time for what could be called a ‘late lunch’ (around 2pm I think) and Plant 13 was busy but not so packed we couldn’t be seated. I had already sussed out the menu online (and Plant 13 is to be commended for keeping the online menu absolutely up to date – as I write this it’s the December menu, dated 5 December) so I knew I was going to be ordering the gnocchi with brown mushrooms, black garlic (I bet that’s one of next year’s trend ingredients …) and brown butter. Andy ordered the pulled BBQ pork bun with coleslaw. Plant 13 does also provide a short children’s menu but after some umming and aahing we asked if we could just order a single sausage for the toddler (he had already had lunch).

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We both really enjoyed our food. Andy rated his pulled pork as superior to that at The Loose Caboose, and while the toddler turned his nose up at the pork part of Andy’s dish, he did like the white cabbage from the coleslaw very much indeed. The gnocchi was really good too: obviously housemade which is always a plus, it was very light (though it did have a slight bounce to it) and the simple sauce of mushrooms, garlic and butter worked really well. The sauce also had some kind of vinegar through it (I’d guess balsamic) and that little line of acidity worked really well to cut through the butter and keep the dish tasting fresh right through to the last mouthful.

The sausage was also housemade and duly demolished.

So, while portion sizes aren’t massive, food wise, Plant 13 gets a big tick from us.

But even better than the food was the fabulous service. Our waitress (Phoebe) was really lovely – she made sure we were all settled, suggested drinks to go with our food, offered us a high chair (we had a booster seat in tow but it was looking for a while like I was going to fail to operate it!) and absolutely nothing was too much trouble. Cole, who is described on the website and ‘chef and host’ was very affable too – making sure that everyone was happy and chatting away to us about the toddler. Nothing tells you how much a venue knows about service more than how they treat parents with a small child.

Our overall view was that we preferred Plant 13 to The Loose Caboose. It was marginally cheaper ($40.40 was the final bill) but that wasn’t the clincher. It was the much more personal and sincere service, the tasty food and the fact that it’s a menu planned with a conscience.  I’d love to see more venues like this in Adelaide – and preferably closer to home.

And best of all? When we left, the construction site next to the carpark contained a DIGGER. It took us 20 minutes to get the toddler into the car …

Plant 13 Bowden on Urbanspoon