Clay and Coal Indian Restaurant, Goodwood


date of visit: Saturday 20 December 2014

We’ve had our eyes on Clay and Coal for quite a while. We used to both catch the bus down Goodwood Road so we’d see it every day. That means it has taken us about four years to actually get to eat there …

On a weekend, the restaurant is open all day which is perfect for those of us with small children who need an early start for dinner. Given that the small child slept his way around the supermarket, it was touch and go for a while as to whether or not we would actually get there … but a babycino and the promise of pappadums perked him up and we arrived at 5pm.

Unsurprisingly, at this time of day, the restaurant was empty so we were seated and Kingfishers were under way in a prompt fashion. We started with a big pile of pappadums (of course) and ordered the Clay and Coal mixed entrée platter (prawn tikka, seekh kebab, chicken tikka and grilled fish tikka, served with a generous salad) for the small person, lamb rogan josh for Andy and saag gosht for me. We also ordered a plain naan, rice and a raita.

The food came out quickly and there was (thankfully) no confusion around bringing the entrée platter with our main courses. I didn’t try any of Andy’s rogan josh but his verdict was that I won. The meat in my curry was reasonably tender but perhaps not quite as well trimmed as you’d find in a home made curry. The curry had really good flavour and heat – something which is all too often lacking in curries in Adelaide. I really noticed this when we had curries while back in the UK. And by this I don’t mean that every curry needs to be searingly hot – but if you’re making a curry, you do need a good range of spice flavours.

I only got to try a couple of nibbles from the entrée platter but these also had good flavour (and in some cases good heat). I did think the fish (which I didn’t try) looked a little mushy which made me suspect it had been frozen. From a logistics point of view I understand why restaurants might be tempted to use frozen fish but from the point of view what actually ends up on the plate, I just don’t get it at all.

We were in and out of Clay and Coal in about an hour (the joys of eating out with a small child!). Service was efficient, quick and friendly – but obviously that should be an easy thing to provide in an empty restaurant. We spent just under $70 between the three (2.5) of us. The curries certainly aren’t the cheapest in town but they have plenty more flavour than those at some more expensive venues.


Overall Clay and Coal gets a thumbs up … although some melted ghee on the naan wouldn’t go astray!

Clay and Coal
482 Goodwood Road
Cumberland Park SA 5041
phone: (08) 8271 5822

Clay & Coal Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon



date of visit: Friday 12 April 2013

A few years ago, a group of us headed to Mantra for a friend’s birthday. It was my sole outing to the restaurant and when I heard last year that it was changing hands and closing in one fell swoop I was disappointed that I had managed just the one visit.

But, fortunately, as Mantra closed, Faraja opened and the quiet, city end of King William Road remains host to some interesting dining. It’s taken me a while to get there but I’ve finally managed it in my own roundabout way. A friend owed me lunch as a result of wedding present buying. No sooner was lunch scheduled than it was unscheduled by someone kindly writing off my car. Before I knew it, I owed said friend lunch (yes, I need to have cheaper taste in wine) and three months later, he took a day off work and we managed to wander into Faraja at 1pm on a Friday.

Because I am that type of person I had booked. Unsurprisingly unnecessary but it was gratifying to see that a few tables were occupied and, as we ate, a few more customers wandered through the door.

We settled ourselves in and had a look over the menu. Unfortunately, Faraja sports only a Facebook page, and not a proper website, so I was hoping that the menu on Facebook was up to date (it’s not) because my toddler had been on and on about sausage as soon as I told him we were going out for lunch.

The menu is focussed on sharing, so there are “pots and plates” and “small” sections, with a brief regular main course section. We ordered whitebait (mainly for the toddler’s benefit), the pork and fennel sausages with a tomato, onion and capsicum sauce, roasted pumpkin with goats curd and crispy prosciutto, pork belly with a mustard glaze and orange and fennel salad, and duck fat roasted potatoes. We asked that the food come out as it was ready, which meant we were able to graze our way through lunch.

While we waited, we nibbled on some very good bread and olive oil. It’s always a good sign when a venue has paid some attention to the bread: this was lovely, chewy, sour, textural stuff – just how I like it!


The whitebait were a massive hit with the toddler. I thought they could have been a bit hotter (thermally, not spice wise) but they weren’t at all greasy. The pork and fennel sausage was delicious and I’m sure that’s quite a crowd pleaser. The roast pumpkin with goat curd and crispy prosciutto was a great mix of flavours but I thought its presentation a little clumsy. The two large pieces of roast pumpkin, skin on (which I don’t like, so that’s just personal preference) seemed a bit like they’d been plonked on the plate, with the (delicious) goat curd and prosciutto added to pretty it up.

In contrast to the pumpkin’s presentation, the pork belly was very pretty: two neat squares of pork belly, with a mustard glaze and delicate orange and fennel salad. Perhaps a very safe dish but one that works deliciously: the anise and acidity of the salad working as a foil for the richness and unctuousness of the pork. Somewhat miraculously, I didn’t even have to share my piece of pork belly with the two year old eating machine.

All this was wrapped up with, or mopped up by, the duck fat potatoes, which did exactly what they said on the tin – especially once I’d given mine a good sprinkling of salt!

Drinks wise, the wine list was quite short. As it was lunch, I only looked at the by the glass selection which wasn’t particularly exciting: I settled on a Kilikanoon Riesling (which, to be honest, rather tasted like it had been open just a little too long). My lunch partner chose a Prancing Pony Pale Ale.

By the time we finished our spread, we were full enough to not need dessert, so we just wrapped up with coffee and tea.

While we ate, we were able to do some good spotting of other dishes, which all looked good. One of the main courses (from the grill) looked so impressive my dining companion suggest I ask the recipient if I could photograph it (rest assured, I did not do that!). And later in the meal a huge dessert appeared too.

Faraja has a spacious dining room, an area that can be used for private dining, a massive bar and a courtyard area. For a midweek lunch, the vibe is suitably relaxed, with very friendly service but I daresay that come Friday beer o’clock the ambience at Faraja picks up a notch.

The bottom line: lunch for two (& a bit), with drinks $85. A few small niggles but somewhere I’ll definitely head again.

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Manee Siam

Thailand: Bangkok

photo by puuikibeach

date of visit:  Tuesday 25 October 2011

Manee Siam happens to be more or less over the road from a friend’s house so it’s quite a surprise it’s taken us so long to get there. I have to admit that I’ve often wondered whether or not the restaurant is open – one of its street front signs looks unbelievably worn and tattered for an open business … It turns out it is very much open for business and after a bit of a false start (double booking by me – ouch!) we finally made it for a very early (6pm) dinner on a Tuesday night.

Even at this early time we weren’t the first people in the restaurant – another family had beaten us to it! We were quickly settled at our table with proper table linen and high chair and plastic cutlery and crockery thoughtfully provided for the baby.

With a baby in tow there’s not usually very much mucking around when it comes to perusing the menu and choosing food. With beers at hand, we settled on sharing some entrées before the mains. We started with spring rolls and fish cakes which, if we’re being brutally honest, were really nothing special at all. In fact, after the meal we all admitted that we were a little bit worried about the rest of the meal. The fish cakes in particular were the chewy, rubbery type that you can’t help thinking have gone straight from the freezer to the fryer and been just that bit over cooked.

But we all held our disappointment in check and our main courses soon arrived. I had chosen the hot chilli pork: a stir fry with green beans, capsicums, chilli paste and basil. At a ridiculously cheap $12.50 the portion size was perfect and there was plenty of heat from the chilli paste along with sweetness from the basil. The dish wasn’t overloaded with beans or capsicum as a filler and wasn’t drowning in sauce. I was very pleased.

Also at our table we had a beef massaman curry which passed its test with flying colours – especially on the beef tenderness front. And Andy had the seafood combination stir fry with basil which he cheerfully polished off. Both of these dishes came in at just $15 each.

Service was perhaps a little slow – it wasn’t an issue for us because we were dining so early on (although, by the time we left around 7:30pm, quite a few additional parties had arrived) but I can see how this could pose an issue at busier times. For me, the slowness of service was made up for by attentiveness and thoughtfulness: no restaurant yet has brought out dedicated baby friendly tableware and the staff were all friendly and helpful.

Of course, the icing on the cake was how ludicrously cheap and good our meal was. We spent $30 a head, which included a generous tip (so we could easily divide the bill by three!) and included the entrées, mains, rice, one dessert (ice cream and lychees – I don’t think you need a description of that!) and drinks. If you were trying to save money you could easily leave having spent less than $20 a head.

We don’t eat Thai very often but we’d be more than happy to return to Manee Siam and I suggest you try it out too!

Manee Siam Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon