Thanks to television's Masterchef, we've been introduced to plenty of talented Adelaide foodies who know how to cook up a storm. They've been pretty successful on the show, and you'll find them with book deals, cooking shows, and cooking schools. Adelaide contestant Andre Ursini became well known after the first season of the show, but now he is bringing great Italian food to Adelaide through his restaurant, Andre's Cucina and Polenta Bar.
The Frome Street restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside you'll find a warm and cosy environment, that really starts to buzz at around 7pm, when the room fills with conversation. Blackboards are up on many of the walls, showing the daily specials, and the fully stocked bar looks back onto the kitchen, where they're busy preparing the meals.
The dinner menu consists of 4 distinct sections, 'Stuzzichini', 'La Cucina', 'Polenta', and 'Insalate'. Or in other words small appetisers, polenta, salad, and then the tapas like platters that make up 'La Cucina'. If you're wondering where the mains are to be found, look up to one of the blackboards. The mains of offer change every night, which means the specials board stays pretty special. There are a range of options all encompassing delicious Italian cooking.
Each dish is brought out in order, and they are designed to share. Like a Spanish tapas bar, the style of Andre's Cucina encourages you to socialise, rather than just focus on eating your meal. Courses are all brought out in order, you're never left waiting long for something to eat, and nothing is brought out early to sit getting cold on your table. Make sure you save room for dessert, because there are some really mouth-watering options, including the delicious polenta ice cream.
One reason that this style works so well is all down to the staff. They are friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. Don't expect this to be like some 'high-class' restaurants where the staff can sometimes come across as snooty, everything at Andre's is far more relaxed, homely, and friendly.
The one complaint is that the toilets are located in the connected hotel rather than the restaurant itself. If you do need to excuse yourself, a little of the atmosphere is lost once you step into the hotel lobby. Thankfully once you're back inside you'll easily get back into the swing of things. The food is well-cooked, and flavourful, and very inventive. Just what you'd expect from a Masterchef, there were a few improvements that could be made, but overall everything was very tasty.
You can check out the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus all on the website, as well as taking a look at the wine list. To complement your meal, why not grab a bottle of Italian wine, or you could stay local with a bottle of vino from the Barossa or McLaren Vale. Andre's is open 7 days a week, but you're best to book if you want to ensure you'll get a table.
For top-quality Italian food, friendly service, and a not too hefty price, make sure you check out Andre's Cucina and Polenta Bar. It is a little piece of Italy in the middle of Adelaide.