Adelaide has jumped aboard the ‘rooftop bar’ bandwagon with 2KW, a sleek, sophisticated venue with stellar views across the city. Dear friends of mine treated me to lunch there, and we worked our way through the ‘Let Us Feed You’ menu ($65 pp). The first course was 2 freshhly shucked West Coast oysters each – large, plump and perfect with a drizzle of lemon. Next up was the Chacuterie plate, with proscuitto, peach, blue cheese, and greens, all coming together to create a delicate balance of flavours that was pure pleasure. The portion was generous and delicious. There was quite a long wait between courses here, but the Clare Valley chicken with achiote (a Caribbean spice) and chargrilled orange was worth the wait. Drizzling the orange juice on top, we devoured the tender meat, relishing the coriander on top and keen to find out where to get achiote from (it’s amazing!). The final dish was the Jack Creek 120 day grain-fed scotch fillet, served with chimmichurri and grilled spring onions. I was pretty full at this point, but oh man was that steak good. My only criticism was that it was served medium, without having asked us (we definitely would have gone medium-rare), but otherwise it was a delight, tender and well-matched with the accompaniments. Oh, and the side of triple-cooked salt and vinegar potatoes deserves its own blog post – to die for! Please eat some for me on your visit.
2KW Bar and Restaurant, 2 King William Street, Adelaide SA, https://www.2kwbar.com.au/
As you may be aware, XO is one of my favourite restaurants in Canberra, and I made it my first stop for dinner after coming back from holidays. My friend and I decided to only order dishes we hadn’t tried before, and so started with the KFC wings, marinated in buttermilk and served with kewpie mayonnaise ($10). It was a very good place to start. The wings had a perfectly crisp coating on the outside, but were beautifully tender and underneath. Kewpie was a perfect match and we didn’t speak much while devouring the portion. Next up was the sexy squid with sweet chilli salt ($16). This was another winner, and with a drizzle of lime on top, the combination of flavours really packed a punch. Finally, we had the Lo Bak Gou as our large plate, which is a radish gnocchi served in prawn chilli butter, with dehydrated scallop, prawn, lap cheong and dusted with umami ash ($30). This was probably the pick of the bunch. The gnocchi parcels were delightfully fluffy, and didn’t sit heavily in the stomach the way traditional gnocchi does. The seafood toppings were a punch of flavour, and the umami ash added to the mix. Maybe not the healthiest choices, but certainly tasty ones!
XO, 16 Iluka Street, Narrabundah ACT, http://www.xo-restaurant.com.au
Jones & Co has a great summer menu, with plenty of cold food options to enjoy in the warm weather. I had a weekday lunch with friends, and we started with Pacific oysters. We tried the mignonette ($3.5 each), bloody mary and kilpatrick ($4 each), with the latter being the pick of the bunch (although the mignonette was beautifully refreshing too). Each oyster was huge, fresh and plump, and I could have eaten a tonne more. Next up were the pork belly bao ($6.5 each), with fatty, crisp pork and a great combo of hoi sin sauce and kewpie mayonnaise. Tick. The zucchini flowers ($17 for 2) were delicate and tasty, although trickier to share with 4 people, packed full of goats cheese and honey, done in a poppyseed tempura (for photos of all dishes, check out my Facebook page). We loved the sashimi plate ($24), which had slices of salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallops, and then followed on with the large meat board ($34) – packed with cold cuts, terrine, pickles, beetroot relish and char-grilled bread. Yum, yum, yum. Every dish was done well, beautifully presented and tasty. Oh, and I’d recommend the cucumber mojito mocktail ($9) – very refreshing!
Jones & Co, Cnr Giles & Kennedy Street, Kingston ACT, http://jonesnco.com.au/
Sadly, Akiba don’t offer their $18 Bite and Bolt lunch in December, but that didn’t stop us heading in for a team lunch. We got a tonne of plates to share (yes!), with some particular highlights. Firstly, the bao/bun. We ordered the pork belly bun ($8 each), served with asian slaw (including pickled cucumber, yum!), char sui and kewpie mayonnaise. The pork was fatty and tender, the bun soft and springy, and the slaw plus sauces packed a great flavour punch. Yum. The next highlight was undoubtedly the Shanghai noodles with pickled shiitake mushrooms, garlic and chilli ($13) – the noodles were thick and looked handmade, and the sauce stuck well to them, making each mouthful fabulous. The mushrooms stole the show, though – plump, tart, earthy and garlicky all at once, I’d highly recommend this dish on any Akiba share table. We grabbed a serve of my favourite Japanese Fried Chicken ($20), and then tried the fried rice ($21) – it all tasted like that wonderful part at the bottom of the pan that picks up all the flavour and crispiness. With a large group, the value is excellent – this food is made to share.
Akiba, 40 Bunda Street, Civic ACT, http://www.akiba.com.au/
Part one of this review is here. We ordered two of the hot meze, starting with the charcoal octopus served with witlof and tomato ezme, a salad made from tomato, garlic, onion and parsley ($23). The dish was simple and very effective, with the perfectly charcoaled octopus meat packed with flavour and presented to its best advantage with little adornment. The ezme was a refreshing accompaniment, balanced well by the bitterness of the witlof. Finally, on the manager’s recommendation, we chose the Hanger beef fillet, with field mushrooms and maple-cured pastirma ($38). The beef is sourced from butcher Victor Churchill, and is rested for 250 days. Cooked medium-rare and sliced to reveal beautiful marbling, this prime cut was tasty and tender. But it transformed into something magic in combination with the juicy, plump mushrooms that melted in the mouth and the sweet pastirma straps – a mouthful with everything was utter perfection. We all sat there, stunned as each dish came out as excellent as the last, wishing we had stomach space for another one. Sadly we didn’t have room for dessert either, but this will not be our last visit, for sure.
Anason, 5/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW, http://anason.com.au/
Wandering through Barangaroo, Anason’s vibrant blue doors stand out against the concrete and hanging plants. Headed up by chef Somer Sivrioglu, Anason brings a taste of Turkey to Sydney’s newest district, the plates structured as meze to share. Everything here is done with class, and first up I have to say the service was above and beyond. All the tables are alfresco (with a few bar stools inside), and heaters were turned on to combat the evening breeze. We were stepped through the menu, and I couldn’t resist the call of white cod roe tarama ($16), topped with fingerlime and served with tiny rounds of sesame bread, like croutons. The dip was perfectly salty and creamy, with a delicate roe flavour and a fabulous pop and slight tartness from the fingerlime. We ordered a side of pita bread ($3 per piece), which was sprinkled with very fine dukkha and went perfectly with the dip. Dish two was generously provided on the house – cured salmon pastirma (usually $21), served with fennel and pickled chilli. The salmon is coated in the same spices as beef pastrami, and left to hang for 18 hours. The dish retains the salmon’s flavour, while absorbing the gorgeous mix of spices – the pickled chilli is flavoursome rather than spicy, and the portion is generous and filling. Part two to follow.
Anason, 5/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW, http://anason.com.au/
When an old friend came to visit from Adelaide, it was a tough call deciding where to head for dinner, but in the end Joe’s Bar won the day. The place was buzzing, and we managed to snag a couch seat. We started with the Ollo d’Oro ($8), a selection of three olive oils with bread for dipping. The different oil flavours were quite apparent, making the taste-test fun and a perfect way to whet our appetite. A little more bread would have been nice, for the amount of oil. Second was the polenta chips (without gorgonzola sauce, for our lactose-intolerant stomaches, $10). These were beautifully cooked and presented, topped with rosemary, salt and edible flowers, we polished them off quickly and with relish. The crisp outside was matched by a delightfully soft inside, and they weren’t dry, even without the sauce. Finally, we indulged in the D’Affettatl, a selection of cured meats and salami ($24 for the large). This cornucopia of meaty goodness included proscuito (probably my favourite), bresaola, mortadella (with a nice peppery hit) and ‘Nduja Calabrese, a spicy, spreadable meat, plus pork salami. Oh, and a cold salad of eggplant, capscium and tomato. And some olives. Phew. All was delicious, and we enjoyed an evening picking away at the shared platter. All dishes highly recommended.
Joe’s Bar, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston ACT, http://www.joesateast.com/