Hill of Grace
Where's the hill? Does everyone here have to say Grace? So many stupid questions. So few answers. :|
Above the stands of Adelaide Oval. This place is very fancy and spacious. Reminds me of a first class airport lounge I snuck into. :)
Currently doing coriander check.
This is eight-course degustation tonight. Degustation is their main shtick, so I'll go for that. No price has been stated, but I don't want to look like a chump by asking, when I'm going to eat here regardless. :)
I assume the parsley on top is parsley. It's not. It's coriander!!!
It takes me about two minutes to get the taste of the tiny fleck of coriander out of my mouth.
This tastes like a combination of pickled onion and citrus. That's an interesting taste. The texture of the fish doesn't add much here, and its taste is completely masked by the citrus and onion.
Coconut cream, salt & vinegar prawn cracker.
Kilawin is raw fish.
This is fairly similar to the previous course. The fish has a pleasant taste this time, but the calamansi (a small citrus) adds an odd sourness, and the flaky prawn cracker adds a strong and mildly unappealing "bread crust" taste.
Pickled kohlrabi, tamarind chutney,
This adds up to surprisingly little. The meat is very soft, and I can't really tell the difference between it and the chunky chutney. There's a bit of tang in there, and the candied chilli is interesting, but this is basically a pleasant mince. :)
Laing (taro), cockles, shaved squid.
Again, the fish here is so soft that I can't tell what's fish.
This dish has literally ten garnishes, and they all combine together into a green paste that's pleasant, and has a mild seaweed flavour. The jelly atop the fish has a mild lemon flavour. This isn't really amazing for a dish with so many components.
Roasted mushroom, butternut pumpkin puree, sour cherry jus, brandy soaked prunes, blackened pearl onion.
This is a very nice piece of beef, but nothing has really been done to it… other than add some kind of faint coriander-laced sauce to it. I'm not sure why the surface of my beef has coriander on it.
The butternut pumpkin has a nice nutty flavour, but it's not really a useful garnish for the beef. The cherry jus is like golden syrup. It's a bit harsh, and not appropriate.
The mushroom patch is interesting. Prune and mushroom are actually a good combination.
Excellent tip: Do not eat long enoki mushrooms unless you have dental floss with you. They're basically little bundles of fibre that WILL get stuck between your teeth wherever you bite them.
The waiter tops up my water with tonic water. :|
Update: the coriander was "red elk". When I taste coriander in something, there's definitely coriander hiding in a "herb paste" or something.
This is actually a bit much food. I'm full already.
Kumquat marmalade, calamansi curd, calamansi sorbet, crunchy mandarin.
Again, the calamansi is here. The sorbet on top is calamansi. I know what it's like now. It's not like sour lemon, it's like eating the peel of a fresh orange. It's just not pleasant, even as a sweet sorbet.
Once I evict the calamansi creature, I can eat the central cake. It's not set or tasty, but it is dense and smooth, and the dollops of milder calamansi around it add a more pleasant citrus taste.
Roasted dates & pecans, Henschke Prue's Verjus jelly, guava custard, marshmallow.
The stout (beer) ice cream is strange, but full of interesting taste. There are all kinds of textures and strong tastes in this dessert. The freeze-dried raspberries have a great tang, and the marshmallows and weird granola stuff add every texture imaginable.
The guava custard underneath is overpowered by the stout, but it still adds more interesting flavour.
There have been some reasonable dishes tonight, but over all, the food was below the average of the top 200 restaurants in Adelaide, and nowhere near the quality of Penfolds Magill Estate, to which it compares in price and fanciness. I know not everything here was to my taste, but the food was often too similar, with many of the dishes being meat-citrus combinations. Also, the service here was definitely better than a typical restaurant, but not up to the extremely high polish of Penfold's. More than one of the staff were inaudibly quiet, and didn't keep a consistent demeanour. I was also served coriander at least once. Small stuff I know, but a super-fancy place like this needs to get this right.
Head chef (I assume) Dennis Leslie comes out and has a chat with me for a while. He's read The Feed Report. He tells me about his plans and ideas for the restaurant. It's the only restaurant overlooking a stadium in the world, apparently. The Filipino food is something very different for Adelaide, which has almost no Filipino food.
On my way in, it took fifteen minutes to find the place, and on my way out, I got locked in for another fifteen minutes, before being directed out through a construction zone.