It is always nice to walk around Adelaide's beautiful Botanic Gardens. I slowly made my way to the restaurant located by the lake. We arrived at midday and there were quite a few patrons already.
We were offered sour dough bread to begin with, and there was two options - normal sour dough or sour dough induced with squid ink. I opted for the squid ink bread. You just can't get this bread anywhere else in Adelaide. It was rather interesting, a little saltier than the normal sour dough but I quite liked it.
There was definitely a lot more people dining at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant this time. A lot of them were businessmen and a lot of them were not dining from the Festival of Food menu. It was good to see that the food still arrived in a timely manner despite how busy it was.
To begin from left to right, the kingfish was seared slightly served with avocado, pickled kohlrabi and sprinkled with some garden ash. The crunchiness came from the puffed wild rice. The middle was the goats curd with baby beetroot, heirloom carrots, onions, pomegranate. It was topped with a herb meringue. I can't say that this was my favourite. The one on the right was the pork terrine with grilled shallots and a drop of quince puree on the side. I just felt like the three entrees had way too many flavours on the plate and some of which didn't marry so well together. It was dark, perhaps it would have been better if they were served on a white plate. Out of the three I would pick the kingfish.
Baby Barramundi was cooked beautifully, two chunky pieces of barramundi fillets on the plate. Once again there was a lot of elements to this plate. I loved the idea that the chef used a healthy base which was green wheat freekah to rest the barramundi fillets. The addition of the boudin, spinach puree and radishes completed the dish.
The waitress whom served us wasn't quite familiar with the menu, when asked what the fish of the day was. She couldn't tell us yet she had to run back into the kitchen and ask. Local fish of the day was the Coorong mullet. This is actually one of my favourite fish so I was looking forward to it. When it arrived at the table, I took a sniff of the plate, yes it smelt great. However the witlof had been roasted a little too much and it looked burnt to me. Wiflof itself is already bitter tasting, if it's roasted too much it wrecks the original taste. I left that aside. I do like the idea of the crushed capers and pine nuts underneath the fish though. Tuna bottarga - roes.. hmmm that was interesting.
Both dishes looked very similar, I would have liked the green wheat freekah with my Coorong mullet as opposed to the witlof on my plate.
I loved the look of my dessert, it was the perfect size to finish off my meal. A frangipane tart topped with quince which was slightly caramelised. I am not a big fan of white chocolate, but I enjoyed eating the whipped white chocolate this time. The dessert was complimented by a piece of violet meringue. It wasn't too sweet, it was just right.
I wasn't sure about my experience with the Festival of Food menu at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant this year. It seemed to me they were a little understaffed, it was quite busy at lunch. The fish was definitely enjoyable to eat as well as the dessert. There were way too many components to all the dishes, some had overpowered the natural flavours of the key elements. Sometimes I just think simple is the best.
Visit Botanic Gardens Restaurant - Plant Tree Drive, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Adelaide, SA 5000 - (08) 8223 3526