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!

The Moseley Kitchen and Bar, Glenelg

steak tartare, parsnip crisps
steak tartare with parsnip crisps

date of visit: Friday 8 Jan 2016

Back in winter I was invited to a menu launch dinner at the Moseley and never blogged about it. I’m guessing it was because I was busy writing because I was pretty impressed with the meal.

Sufficiently impressed, it turns out, that it’s a venue I’ve kept at the back of my mind but not managed to visit on my own dime … until a recent Friday night.

I’d love to tell you it was planned, but sadly … it was a case of me ringing around places at 3pm on Friday afternoon searching for that all elusive table for two.

The Moseley is part of the RD Jones group which owns quite a few venues across Adelaide. In a previous life, it was The Dublin, before being taken over and given a reno and a much needed rejigged reputation. Now there is a slick downstairs dining area and the bar area is upstairs. At the very front there is casual seating, so you don’t feel like you’re eating your dinner with the whole of Moseley Square peering at you!

The very first impression that I had of our evening was my phone call to book. This is something that a lot of venues manage to mess up but whoever took my booking set the standard service-wise for our whole Moseley experience. Service was always attentive and competent – and that lasted the whole way through the meal, including when it came time to pay the bill.

As we were without Master 5 we treated ourselves to a whole TWO courses each AND coffees. This is very very exciting for us – while I have plenty of opportunities for lovely meals out, usually Andy is at home and when we do eat out, it’s as a family so it’s always early and super quick.

spicy squid
Spicy squid

After some bread, Andy started with the spicy squid and I chose the beef tartare. The spicy squid got the thumbs up and the beef tartare was very good. It had BAGS of flavour – packing a serious caper-fuelled punch. It was also a very generously sized portion … although the parsnip crisps with which it was served weren’t quite as generous. With beef tartare you do need plenty of something crispy to break up what can otherwise quite a homogeneous texture experience. The dish is billed as gluten free and I understand wanting to keep it like that but the plate really did need either more crisps or some croutons.

fish, chips, mushy peas
fish, chips & pea puree

For main course, Andy ordered the fish and chips with mushy peas and I went for the ricotta gnocchi with kale (yay!), broccolini and almonds. This was another generously sized dish and had a really lovely touch of chilli heat to it. The gnocchi were also light and tender. Although I didn’t notice it immediately, it was quite salty and this really built up while eating it.

The fish and chips were also a success but it would be fantastic if the Moseley could invest a bit of menu real estate in telling us the provenance of the fish. We did ask and were told it was local but I’m not entirely sure I can figure out what ‘local’ cod is …

After drinks (2 beers, 2 glasses of wine) and coffee the bill came in at around $120 which we didn’t think was too bad at all. While the food was not flawless, it is certainly food I would bother to seek out and eat again. It is absolutely fantastic to see a pub in a popular location actually do some interesting food and not succumb to lazy menu writing.

The Moseley gets a thumbs up: somewhere we’d return and I’d be happy to recommend.

The Moseley Bar & Kitchen
11 Moseley Square
Glenelg SA 5045
phone: 08 8295 3966

The Moseley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zucca Greek Mezze, Glenelg


date of visit: Wednesday 17 September 2014

A few weeks ago now it transpired that a couple of my friends all had time off work – mid week, so we were able to pretend that we’re ladies who lunch. We decided to meet at the marina at Glenelg and, being a Wednesday lunch time, just try our luck.

There wasn’t too much umming and aahing until we settled on Zucca, Adam Swanson’s (he of San Remo pasta fame) Greek mezze restaurant. It turned out that I was the only one of us who had much experience of Greek food before so I was in charge of any menu interpretation that needed doing. Fortunately the menu is largely self explanatory and the staff at Zucca are reasonably attentive and more than capable of helping out.

After a bit of negotiation to suit tastes we decided on tzatziki and bread to start, followed by a large Greek salad, the SA calamari, the pork gyro (that’s a yiros) and the braised Clare Valley lamb. While we definitely had plenty of food, in hindsight I don’t think we did the best job of ordering dishes that really catered to everyone’s preferences. Which is a shame, because the menu at Zucca is quite extensive. There is really something for everyone, but I think the problem is that with mezze style dining you need to end up finding several things that suit everyone and that can be tricky.

The dip and bread was absolutely fine (there’s only so much you can say about tzatziki!) and was followed quickly by the main dishes. The calamari is simply floured and fried – so don’t be expecting anything like salt and pepper squid. The ‘condiments’ with which it is served are a cornichon, some tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon. The tartare sauce was actually pretty good and the squid was tender and not greasy (which, incidentally, is at polar odds with my mum’s experience of it here a year or so ago).

Greek salad is pretty hard to get excited about and I’m not sure about Zucca’s presentation where a slab of feta is placed on top of the salad. Great if you don’t like feta and want to eat around it but both a bit impractical and unattractive. The salad did get a tick from me for not being too heavily dressed.

The Clare Valley lamb with orzo and kefalotiri cheese was served on the bone so this also made sharing challenging. For me this was the most disappointing dish, as, even though the lamb was soft, I found it too heavy handed with the cinnamon.

Pork Gyro (Yiros)

The pork gyro was the stand out dish. Impressively plated up, it arrived at the table as a “build your own”, with salad, tzatziki, breads and even some crackling. Of the three main dishes we ordered this is the one I would order again. However, I did think it was a shame that when we ordered it wasn’t pointed out to us that the pork came with tzatziki as I felt we doubled up there and we might have ordered a different dip.

With only soft drinks ordered we spent in the region of $30 a head. I definitely had enough to eat and thought it was reasonable value, especially as mezze style eating can rack up in price quite quickly. The wine list offers a good selection of wines by the glass and a cross section of wines by the bottle, including some lesser known wines from Greece. Prices seem quite reasonable.

One thing I have noticed from online reviews (which, incidentally, are very uneven), which is not made clear on Zucca’s website, is that it does not seem to be particularly child friendly. If you do intend dining with a small person I recommend that you call ahead and check that it won’t cause problems.

While I left feeling reasonably happy, on reflection I’d best describe myself as ambivalent. I would go back again but it is not on the top of my list either. Zucca seems to trade a lot on position (stunning views of the sea or marina, anyone?) but my gut feeling is that it could try just a little harder.

Shop 5, Marina Pier
Holdfast Shores
Glenelg SA 5045
phone: 08 8376 8222

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