An opinionated foodie that loves to write. Or maybe an opinionated writer that loves to eat.
Published June 15th 2012
Having visited many years ago I was swayed to return to Red Ochre by recent good reviews and the convenience of BYO – a seemingly diminishing option in many restaurants across Adelaide.
What can I say; I hate it when I am right.
The Australiana themed carpet appears to be overcompensating for a menu which doesn't live up to their boasted "passion for local produce and unique Australian ingredients". While the menu offerings are no doubt tempting, it seems there are merely hints of uniqueness hidden amongst a menu you could expect to see in any modern restaurant these days.
To their credit, staff are accommodating and friendly, despite not being able to elaborate on the more unique ingredients on the menu with any great depth of knowledge.
Red Hog pork belly & gulf prawn - pineapple & chilli caramel, blood lime, young coriander & diced apple forms a tasty combination of flavours (just don't ask what a blood lime is, or expect the prawns to enhance the dish).
From prawns lacking in flavour, to a soggy macadamia crusted lamb backstrap, the kangaroo appears to be the redeeming dish on the menu. But more surprising than anything is the house specialty – The Ochre Grill Platter, which accommodates a few less-than-usual selections including emu and crocodile, amongst some old favourites such as kangaroo, quail, lamb and venison sausages all complimented by a pepperberry jam, tomato and native current glaze. The Hahndorf venison sausages however are overpowered with spices (not alluded to on the menu), and the crispy Gawler river quail almost inedible due to its sogginess - surprising treatment for such a delicate ingredient. At $46.50pp the dish can easily be over anticipated and over priced.
The Ochre Grill Platter - venison sausages too spicy to appreciate the flavours and marinated crispy Gawler river quail too soggy to enjoy.
The wine list plays host to a good selection of mainly South Australian wines. For larger groups this list may become useful, given the BYO rule of three bottles per table – a detail not noted on the website, menu or when enquired at point of booking, instead only stated when a fourth bottle surfaces. The other surprise is the $5 surcharge, in addition to corkage, should you wish to have your wine decanted.
The waiter's recommendation for dessert? The Callebaut Chocolate Fondant. For those less familiar, Callebaut chocolate hails from Belgium – a distance from Australia even Google won't calculate for you.
On paper the Apple and Quandong Crumble is hard to surpass – but with its heavy pastry and crunchy filling, it's also a little hard to stomach, especially given the toothpick which found its way to the middle of the plate. Presumably the rhubarb puree smear was satisfying enough to its creator to leave the apparatus amidst their work. Credit to the wait staff for swiftly removing the item from the bill; however a swifter move would be for patrons not to see the error at all. The Native Brulee Trio appears to be the most popular choice throughout the restaurant – one that could be reserved to be shared by two given its rich flavours.
Apple & Quandong Crumble - can you see the toothpick? The kitchen couldn't.