Boatshed Cafe, Hallett Cove


date of visit: Sunday 15 March 2014

Again – just two months between visiting and posting! We don’t often go out for breakfast because on the weekends we take it in turns to have a lie in and by the time everyone is up, washed, dressed, fed, watered … well … it’s time for afternoon tea.

I should have written about this outing earlier … because all other things aside (food, ambience, service) as we ate we were treated to an impressive display of human flesh. And I’m not talking about someone wearing something a bit tighter or shorter than you might expect. Oh no, a heavily pregnant lady at the table next to us lifted up her top and treated everyone to the considerable expanse of flesh. Just to get things straight – this is not acceptable behaviour for anyone over the age of about 5. You’ve put the clothes on, they can stay on.

Anyway, the Boatshed at Hallett Cove has been on my list for a while and on this occasion there was no food in the house so heading out was our only option.

It was a lovely sunny morning so I took the precaution of ringing ahead. Toddlers don’t really understand turning up at venues and having to wait. I was told that yes, for three of us it wouldn’t be a problem, and did we want to sit inside or outside. A sunny morning doesn’t necessarily equate to a warm enough morning to sit outside and eat so we opted for inside and my name was duly noted.

But sometimes, things just aren’t that simple. And when we arrived, there was no table reserved for us – anywhere. There were a few seats available at the ledge in the verandah but having the three of us lined up wasn’t great and while the view was amazing, the brisk breeze from the ocean suggested that any food would be cold before it hit our lips.

Fortunately we were found a small table inside and we squeezed in, between a rather large, loud group of women and the coffee machine. The interior of the Boatshed is all hard surfaces so what started off as an unpleasant level of noise escalated to intolerable by the end of breakfast.


Which is a massive shame because the breakfasts were, actually, very good. I ordered scrambled eggs and bacon. It was a generous plate with really good quality bread. Andy’s Boatshed Classic was similarly proportioned and got a thumbs up (after he’d defended the hash brown from the fingers of a greedy toddler).

The menu is very light on things to order smaller punters. While our toddler normally loves eggs he had decided he didn’t want eggs which really limited our options. We ended up ordering him the sweetcorn fritter which Andy said was actually pretty good.

So overall, the food gets a tick. Service was OK – the problem with our reservation soured things a little and I did get the impression that there weren’t enough staff (or, the staff that were on were not experienced enough). However, the real killer was the noise inside.

We actually got to the point where we couldn’t finish quickly enough.

I’ve spoken to friends who have been there and they all tell a similar story – extreme noise inside and erratic service.

I would return to the Boatshed for coffee and cake on a warm afternoon when I could sit outside. But that would be it.

Boatshed Café
1 Heron Way
Hallett Cove SA 5158
phone: (08) 8322 4000

Boatshed Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cafe Brunelli


date of visit: Thursday 12 September 2013

The thing I learnt yesterday was to not meet Andy directly after work without having a definite action plan. As we stood in the office foyer trying to decide where to go to dinner he became grumpier and less helpful by the minute. I’d suggest somewhere and he’d say no. No alternative would be offered, just ‘no’.

So after some faff, and an attempt to eat in a hotel restaurant that didn’t start serving until 6 (too late with the toddler in tow), we ended up at Café Brunelli on Rundle Street. It’s the massive café next to the carpark at the Pulteney Street end. You can’t miss it.

Andy was still looking grumpy. “They’d better be able to serve quickly”, he muttered. Despite it being very early (before 5:30pm) I’d hazard a guess and say that Brunelli’s was about 10-20% full. The tables are reasonably tightly packed in and it’s all very casual. You wander in, grab a table, grab a high chair (should you need one), grab some menus and when you’re ready, you wander up to the kitchen to order.

The front of the café is dominated by a HUGE cabinet of cakes, biscuits and chocolates. I have no idea what they’re like but they look tempting enough to make you want to skip a ‘real’ meal and just do cake and coffee.

The menu is a pretty standard Italian café menu. The toddler became hugely animated at the prospect of meatballs, so polpette in umedo was duly chosen for him. For speed, I chose the gnocchi Roma: gnocchi with a tomato, bocconcini and basil sauce (a simple, but boy, do you have nowhere to hide dish), and Andy the salsicce pizza. With drinks (a humour rescuing Boags for Andy and a glass of Annie’s Lane Riesling for me), and after Entertainment Card discount, the meal cost $55*.

After ordering and paying at the kitchen, I collected our drinks from the bar. I was a little concerned when I saw how little Riesling was left in the bottle and I was right. The bottle had obviously been open for a day or two longer than it should which is disappointing. While I commend Café Brunelli for a very impressive list of wines by the glass (almost everything, it seemed!) if the turnover is not such that the wines can be kept fresh, don’t do it!

The food arrived super quickly. The toddler’s entrée size meatballs consisted of two huge meatballs in a tomato sauce. He was extremely pleased with this, even more so when he learnt that it wasn’t one for him and one for daddy but that they were both for him. Both meatball and tomato sauce appeared to hit the spot but he was unimpressed by the rocket and the fact that it was served with thick chunks of toast (they had to be removed very quickly). It was a ridiculously large portion: had I ordered it there would have been no way I could ever have eaten anything else.

Andy’s pizza looked really good: the base was thin and crispy (I could tell that from the other side of the table) and he said he quite liked the toppings. His complaint was that the tomato sauce had been used a little too heavy handedly. This meant that the pizza sat firmly in the middle of the pizza awesomeness spectrum.

My gnocchi was very ho-hum indeed. The gnocchi themselves were small and light but the sauce was pointless. It was a mix of overly sweet tomato and tomato that had not been cooked out enough. The basil had been cooked too much and turned a little bitter. Had some freshly torn basil been added just before serving that could have made all the difference. As it was, the basil looked scary and didn’t taste good at all. I really liked the addition of torn chunks of bocconcini to the sauce but as a dish it was utterly underwhelming.

If you are in town and looking for a quick meal then Café Brunelli can fulfil that need. Depending on how you choose, you can eat for a reasonable price – but just set your expectations accordingly.

Café Brunelli
187 Rundle Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 8223 2221

* Without Entertainment Card, it was just over $70.

Cafe Brunelli on Urbanspoon

Balthazar Cafe

Balthazar Cafe

date of visit: Thursday 4 July 2013

We first ducked in to Balthazar Café quite soon after it opened and while we’ve been there a few times it has only been for a restorative coffee and cake after a shopping trip.

The food has always looked pretty good and we have meant to time a shopping trip so we could do an early dinner, but somehow we’ve never quite managed it. We’re either there a touch early or we’ve just bought something highly perishable for dinner.

However, a couple of weeks ago, the planets aligned and we were finally able to try out the food. We were so early we certainly didn’t have to worry about finding a table and soon we were all settled in, with the toddler happily demolishing a babycino and us tucking into the complementary (and very good) bread.

Andy chose one of his pub favourites – no, not a schnitzel with gravy, but the seafood platter: salt and pepper prawns, petite whiting (what on earth is that?) and chargrilled calamari, served with salad, chips and tartare sauce. At $22 this is not only cheaper than many pub seafood platters but Andy announced that it was significantly better. It was a generous plate of food – even if he did have to share his chips with the toddler.

Balthazar Cafe

Because I figured the toddler would be very interested in Andy’s plate of food, I ordered the penne al gamberi: penne with prawns, crab meat in a chilli, tomato and cream sauce. This was a very generous plate of food and the prawns were big, fat and juicy and not stinted on. The sauce had plenty of flavour and the chilli was obviously there without being overpowering. I did think that the pasta was a touch overcooked (do bear in mind that I prefer my pasta very al dente) and I thought there was a bit too much sauce. This was a shame because the crab meat was in the rich sauce and unless you like scooping up sauce just by itself you’ll miss out on some of the crab. I’d put these down as very minor criticisms.

The service was, as previously, excellent. The staff are efficient while being friendly and the café is very family friendly.

I’m pleased we tried the food because for a family meal while out doing the shopping, it definitely hit the spot.

I still haven’t tried a siphon coffee so I guess we’ll just have to head back in future …

Balthazar Cafe on Urbanspoon