The Stag

date of visit: Thursday 21 July 2016

disclaimer: I was a guest at the ‘eat and tweet’ to celebrate the menu launch

So – apologies to both venue and reader for just two photos from this event. I’d spent the day at a wine tasting and exhausted my phone’s battery’s capabilities snapping away at wine bottles.

You may remember that The Stag has had a time of it of late. A few years ago it touted itself as “the worst vegetarian restaurant” (yep – it was a steak house). After a bit of financial excitement, new owners came in, and operating from a clean slate rejigged its dining offering as a fine dining restaurant.

A bit of tweaking and we see that The Stag has shifted to a more moderate position when it comes to dining. Venue Manager Robby Lippett describes the new menu as ‘gastropub’.

This means that the pub classics (yes, you can still have a schnitzel, burger or S&P squid) sit alongside a ‘tapas plates’ menu and a list of ‘big dishes’. Our tasting menu took in some of both (I think they figured we’d know what a schnitzel was like!). We were served tasting portions and the full size dishes were available to photograph but sadly technology failed me – just trust me, these two images aren’t representative of portion size!

chargrilled octopus
Chargrilled Octopus

We started with the chargrilled octopus – a $15 tapas plate. It’s served with black bean, cucumber and chilli jam. As we were having five courses, you can see that this was just a taster – or just a teaser because those two mouthfuls of octopus were really good. Definitely a dish I’d order again.

soft shell crab slider
Soft shell crab slider

Next, the softshell crab slider. For $14 you get two of these and yet another dish I’d order. It was delicious – the crab was crispy and both that and the crunch of the pickled carrot worked well with the bun and mayo. It was lovely to taste a slider that was something a bit different too.

The duck pie floater ($26) was a dish that sounded really interesting but I’m not sure how well it worked in its scaled down form. I think it’s really hard to miniaturise anything involving pastry – quite often, as here, you just can’t scale down the pastry enough and our tasting portion was dominated by it. I’m sure this isn’t a problem in a normal portion but unfortunately I’m not a big enough fan of pea and ham soup to ever revisit it!

The vegetarian option at this course sounded great – handmade gnocchi with cauliflower, blue cheese, porcini, kale and a parmesan crumb. Unfortunately I wasn’t sitting near to anyone eating vegetarian so I didn’t get a taste!

Our final savoury course was the scotch fillet mac & cheese. Now Andy loathes mac and cheese (seriously – what is wrong with him?!) so it’s not something I get to eat. In fact, it’s something you rarely see on restaurant menus – but here it is, with some beef, onion rings and truffle sauce. At $34 it is almost the most expensive dish on the menu (the porterhouse surf & turf at $38 takes honours) but from the taste I had it’s worth deviating from a schnitzel with gravy …

We wrapped up with the peanut butter parfait ($12). My love of legumes sadly does not extend to peanuts but this was a nicely put together dessert, complete with peanut brittle and salted caramel.

The dining room is set apart from the pub’s front bar and is actually quite a plush, relaxing space. Even though the Stag is returning to its pub roots, you do feel like you’re in a proper restaurant dining room and there are even soft furnishings. That’s right – you can have a conversation!

For those seeking pre or post dinner drinks, the Stag’s front bar is complemented by the upstairs Champagne Lounge.

From what I saw, the new menu hits its mark. By staying true to the pub staples, while allowing the kitchen a little foray into more interesting dishes, it should mean that the Stag has broad appeal.

The Stag Hotel
299 Rundle Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 8311 0392

The Stag Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Giallo, Kent Town


date of visit: Friday 14 December 2012

Giallo, a wine bar on Rundle St East, has been on my ‘list’ for absolutely ages. Kate and I were trying to line up a drink and, while a work Christmas function chose the date for us (that’s my fault, fitting as much toddler free activity as possible into one evening!) there was some umming and aahing about venue. Both Giallo and Cork worked, with Giallo winning out – largely on the basis of parking and the “I haven’t been there before” factor (on my part).

Giallo has a stylish but not in your fact street front presence. I was walking on the opposite side of the road and if I hadn’t been looking out for it I suspect I might not have noticed it. Hint: it’s next to the post office/depot which you simply can’t miss.

As it was a very pleasant afternoon we sat outside, so I have no idea what the interior is like. The menu and the wine list that are online are not up to date (tututut) but give a very good indication of what you can expect to eat and drink. I began with a glass of Good Catholic Girl Teresea Riesling from Clare. This is a very atypical Clare Riesling: it’s not relying on a steely acid backbone and a ton of lemon/lime at all. It’s a lot more subtle than that. It’s a wine I’d revisit with this in mind, because at the time I was a bit shellshocked by it not conforming to type. Kate tried the Ngeringa Rosé from the Adelaide Hills. Next up, I was tempted to try a Portuguese wine until the bottles appeared and I made a last minute hasty switch to the Fraser Gallop Chardonnay. A really wise move as this is a lovely wine and one I’ll be seeking out in future.

After one glass of wine I was ready for something to eat. Unfortunatley for me, Giallo wasn’t quite ready to start its dinner service but a bit of a chat to our waiter, who had a quick conflab with the kitchen, meant that they were happy to put together something for me. This was probably helped (a lot) by my attitude of “well I eat everything so whatever is easiest will be fine”. I was presented with a beautiful, beautiful plate of salmon carpaccio, dressed with pickled ginger and microgreens. In amongst the dressing (once I decided I could indeed messy up the plate!) were caraway seeds, which not only made a great textural contrast but worked really well with the fish and ginger.


It was a really delicious plate of food.

Giallo isn’t cheap: the salmon was $22 and the wines by the glass all hover around the $9 mark, but I think you’d struggle to find a venue that’s offering the same things at lower prices. I was also really impressed to see groups with babies and children arrive be made as welcome as those having post work drinks.

Although my visit to Giallo was only brief, I was impressed by the wine list, the food and the staff. Somewhere I’d definitely return for a more leisurely outing.

Giallo Wine Bar on Urbanspoon