How did your winter go so far? My one started off great but after catching virus and being sick, I was inundated with all things occurred in the past several weeks. Never mind, things will get better.
To overcome the winter ‘fever’, Tina and I headed down to one of the iconic cafe in town, River Cafe, to try the Festival of Food 2018 Menu.
The River Cafe is co-located with Red Ochre Grill (upper floor) along the riverbank and specialises in modern Italian cuisine. The view is certainly impressive during the day and at night. Sitting next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, the AHMS building of the University of Adelaide and other Adelaide major building sites can be widely included under the view.
The Festival of Food 2018 menu at the venue is priced at $32.50 for lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday. The menu includes bread, a tasting plate, one main course each and a house made petits fours. Diners can order any main from the A lar carte menu but if the dish price is higher than the “Festival of Food 2018” dishes, you can pay extra. There are also sides you can choose to add on. You will see the side we ordered.
Parking outside the venue is 2 hours free but diners can request a parking permit from the restaurant.
Wood oven ciabatta with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic – a nice ciabatta with a good layer of crust on the outside with soft centre. It went well with the extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
For drink, I had a lemon lime bitters and Tina had sparkling water. These are not included in the above mentioned price and the Festival of Food menu is for food only.
The tasting platter is a highlight of the night. It consisted of both meat and vegetable dishes.
Lamb and veal meat ball peperini salad
The tasty and tender lamb and veal mixture was made into meat balls and was served with the peperini salad. It is slightly warm and the meatball was very moist. Covered in Italiano sauces, the meatball was flavourful and worked well with the salad for diners to crave for more. Recommended.
Salumi with pickles and crostini
No Italian lunch or dinner is complete without antipasto dishes. The salumi and the pickles at the River Cafe was quite good in quality and taste and is definitely authentic Italian style. The acidic flavour and the cured meat worked really well and complemented each other.
Wood oven roasted beetroot with whipped feta
This was Tina’s favourite of the night. The sweet beetroot was roasted to perfection with soft texture. When served with whipped feta, the creaminess and the sweetness combined really well to give an extraordinary experience. The crispy bread added extra crunchiness and lifted the experience to another level. Highly recommended!
At the end of the tasting platter, we were rested to be ready for the main.
Slow braised Angus beef cheek with baby blue lentils
When we ordered the mains, I did not know that the main size is HUGE! No, giant actually. There were two big beef cheeks and all the other goodies and I am sure a hungry belly will be satisfied. The flavour was good too – the beef was slow cooked and was soft to melt in the mouth and I could easily taste the slightly hot yet spicy beef cheek with a hint of bitterness of red wine. I was well seasoned and worked well with the lentils, not to mention that I don’t normally eat lentils. Other flavours were just right for the dish – not over-arched by any flavour but I could taste a bit of everything. Well done!
Tina ordered a barramundi dish from the Alar Carte menu.
Barramundi fillet, charred leek, fish cake, bean paste
I would call this dish quite modern cuisine. The barramundi fillet was grilled to perfection and the flesh can be separated quite easily. The skin was crunchy and crispy too. I tried to pair with the charred leek and cherry tomato. OMG, what a feeling! The juices from the charred cherry tomato really made the day. The fish cake on top of a bean paste reminded me of the South Australian iconic pie floater. Of course this is not a pie floater. The fish cake flavour was great to complement the Barra too 🙂 Certainly the dish is presented beautifully and the artistic presentation in an Italian cafe is something great to see!
I said we ordered a side. However, if I know the size of the mains, I would not order the side. The food and flavour was great but we don’t have rooms to fit them in :D! The spicy and hot potato was deep fried with crunchy outside and soft & creamy inside. The mayo worked very well to give that extra creamy flavour – complementing both of the above dishes greatly!
Until this point, we were full but there was more to come – Petits Fours!
Chocolate ganache amaretti
Does this remind you of the French Macarons? It certainly made me wonder the taste of the Italian sweet. For a person who rarely eat sweet things, this was an adventure but it was an pleasant adventure. The dark chocolate was covered by two of the biscuits and with a slice of floss. It was fragrant but more importantly give one a good sugar fix. On this one, Tina didn’t get a share – I finished them all! 😀
The service at the River Cafe was very attentive and top notch. Being a cafe style restaurant, it really offered the diners a home feeling and we certainly felt welcomed. The waiters and waitresses explained the Festival of Food menu well and any other options with mains and sides we can order. Water the drinks were topped up quite promptly, especially taking into consideration that it was a full house that night!
The River Cafe
War Memorial Dr
North Adelaide, SA 5006
P 08 8211 8666