A couple of years ago, in another lifetime unconcerned with mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, just as the Fringe came to town, so did an interesting new option in Adelaide's dining landscape: Siberia Restaurant at 6 East Terrace in the old East Terrace Continental site, where it can not only capitalise on overflow action from the Garden of Unearthly Delights in Mad March, but also add an extra element to East End dining attractions. Host Serge Ambrose and his chef wife Elena have imported a tasty sliver of the endless Siberian tundra and forests and have recently added an upstairs bar that features an eye-wateringly large array of boutique South Australian-distilled liquors.
The restaurant menu is centred on recreating the tastes and smells of a Siberian forester's cottage, albeit one occupied by a master chef with a genius for distillery. As the dank Siberian forest surrenders its mushrooms to the expert forager, Serge and his team forage the Adelaide markets for the best fungal delights that provide the basis for many of its dishes.
Serge and his team enjoy developing thematic dining based on the premise that Russian royalty dined on the kind of game meat and foraged forest fare they offer. There is rabbit night and suckling pig Sunday, and 'black box' mystery degustation menus, all paired with wines from an impressive list, heavy with heavyweight SA names like Penfolds and d'Arenburg, Paulettes and Skillagolee. A nine-course degustation Kings' feast menu is in the works for August 28. Bookings are essential.
To give you an idea, the recent 'Christmas in July' happened on the evening of July 31. Serge donned the Santa suit, and with a theatrical clanging of festive bells announced the following course described below:
The mushroom blini is an expertly executed crepe wrapped about a succulent blend of porcini, enoki, flat mushrooms, truffle-infused parmesan and smoked sour cream, a modern fusion take on traditional Siberian forest flavours.
The first of two mains featured medium-rare venison, delicious, gamey, melt-in-the-mouth red meat goodness, with a madeira sauce, just the way the tsars liked their condiments, complemented by seasonal roasted vegetables.
The second main featured boar, sourced from Cobar in Western New South Wales and a gamier, leaner experience than standard pork. Falling apart at the touch of the fork, it melted in the mouth with its marinade of red wine, herbs, spices, prunes, apples and carrots.
To conclude and cleanse the palate, the signature Siberian blue tea ice cream over orange mousse proved to be an ideal conclusion to a feast that a tsar might well have enjoyed.
Siberia is a fine dining experience that adds something different and memorable to Adelaide's offerings. The portion sizes are respectable and the prices commensurate with the quality on offer. The six-course Christmas in July menu came in at $95 pp. The suckling pig lunch is $55 a head. Serge and Elena delight in their Siberian heritage and encourage you to retire to the upstairs bar to cap off your experience with something from the extensive drinks list.