Out and about in Radelaide

I worked out whilst mid-flight to Adelaide (henceforth knows as Radelaide) that this was my first trip back to the City of Churches in over 10 years, so basically when we arrived it was like having never been there at all. I could remember little from my previous trip apart from Rundle Mall and Glenelg, neither of which was on the itinerary this time.

First stop was dinner – we chose Assaggio, because it was located at the end of the street we were staying in, off King William Road in Hyde Park/Unley (and it was recommended by the gorgeous lady at Vincenzo Cucina Vera which we’re hitting on our next trip). The staff at Assaggio (and now that I come to think of it, everywhere we went in Adelaide) were EXCEPTIONALLY nice. I mean, super friendly, accomodating, and helpful.

We started off with some breaded scallops, which were excellent – plump and juicy, and served with a spumante zabalione, which was well executed, but perhaps just a little too sweet for my taste. The stuffed zucchini flowers with gorgonzola and pinenut ricotta mousse were HEAVEN, the ricotta a perfect foil for its bitey cheese counterpart.

We also tried the grilled salmon wrapped in speck, served with asparagus, and a spinach, pine nut and pea pesto, and the ragu of pork, fennel and chilli sausage with persian lentils. Beautifully presented, bursting with flavour, perfectly cooked and simply delicious.

Finishing off with dessert, Assagio hit a home run with the ‘fiore di latte cream with white chocolate and crushed pistachios, espresso and hazelnut syrup. Bellissimo.

We visited The The Pantry on Egmont for breakfast the next morning. You’ll find this quaint yet hip little place on Egmont Terrace, which runs along the railway line in Hawthorn. Filled with the sort of knick-knacks your nana would have treasured in 1973, it’s homely and funky at the same time, and our waiter was one supremely cool cat, freshly-inked and full of morning pep. Coffee was excellent, and the french toast was a work of art. Lovely vibe and great service.

After breakfast we had to make a detour to Bar 9, since I’d heard great things (from an Adelaide ex-pat buddy in Melbourne). The place was packed with people waiting for a table, and for takeaways. Good sign. We ordered some coffees to go, and returned the next morning for breakfast. Again, the joint was pumping, but we were seated quickly and the staff were delightful. I had the breakfast special of home-cooked baked beans with chorizo and a side of avocado. These were quite easily the best baked beans I have eaten in my life. Spicy, tasty goodness. The coffees were consistently fabulous. Definitely on the return list!

An unexpected gem we stumbled across on the way to elsewhere was Cafe Troppo. Apparently newly-opened, sitting across from a large expanse of green on Whitmore Square, this place was so inviting with its recycled timbers, flowerboxes full of orange blooms and outdoor seating that we pulled over and stopped for lunch. A more gorgeous roasted pumpkin, spinach and risoni salad I’ve never tasted, and the coffee, if a little weak for my taste, had a great flavour.

Radelaide was full of delicious and delightful surprises. The Central Market is a haven for great local organic produce, the beautiful sandstone architecture everywhere is ridiculously photogenic, and we encountered great coffee and service everywhere we went. Can’t wait to come back!

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