Photographs and text by Ryan Gandiaga @ryangandiaga
Upon arriving in Adelaide as someone from a city as big as Sydney, you quickly realise how small it is, looking more like a country town. What you don’t realise straight away however is the community of Adelaide’s deep passion for good-quality food and produce.
After spending a short three nights in Adelaide, dining at a unique but equally delicious restaurant each night, you’ll find that a lot of people know a lot about the food of their city and the scattering of wine regions surrounding it.
Serving modern Asian cuisine, predominantly focusing on Japanese and Korean influences, Shobosho is located amongst a small cluster of restaurants on Leigh Street in the CBD; a block away from Rundle Mall.
Upon entering you’ll notice Sho, their 10-seater yakitori bar at the front of the restaurant open for weekends only; yakitori being Japanese skewers cooked over a hibachi grill using parts of the animal that you wouldn’t normally expect, i.e. chicken heart and neck.
The main dining space consists of the open kitchen and bar being stretched along the length of the restaurant with bar seating faced towards it, then two large communal tables and smaller booths opposite being divided by cloth and wood, designed to look like it’s come straight from a traditional Japanese or Korean building. The restaurant really gains this hipster feeling through the combination of the setting with dim lighting and hip-hop beats in the background.
A highlight of the food served is their spit roast teriyaki chicken with miso corn and bbq onions. It has been a menu item of theirs since opening and for good reason. Think of it as an upgrade over your regular teriyaki chicken which deserves to be mopped up by the spring onion bread that’s served alongside it.
Service is something worth highlighting too; our waiter very easy to talk to and having more knowledge of food and wine in the area than you’d expect from someone so young.
Africola is easily one of the best, if not the best, meals you can have in Adelaide. Head Chef Duncan Welgemoed’s North African Eatery, located at East Terrace, is a rare breed of restaurant which serves a cuisine you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Australia, especially to the caliber that’s executed here.
Make sure you book ahead as they now only have two seatings a night due to restrictions. If you’re fortunate enough to score a table they currently only serve a set menu where the kitchen has free rein over what they feel like cooking that night (I personally think this is better anyway). You can ask for specific dishes from the sample menu but I highly recommend letting the team do what they do best.
Two dishes that you’re guaranteed to receive – peri-peri chicken with mpumalunga fire and boom chakalaka, and crispy chicken skin tea sandwiches with drippings from the aforementioned chicken – are both signatures and are a great example of smart cooking where one ingredient can be spanned across multiple plates of food.
A shout-out to the wagyu sirloin with smoked cola sauce which was a dish to pay extra for yet justifiably so. Either way, you’ll be rolling away full by the end of the meal.
If you’re a fan of Masterchef Australia, you may have heard of two-time grand finalist Laura Sharrad’s pasta bar that she co-owns with her husband located in Hyde Park just outside the city. The aim at Nido is to offer a contemporary Italian experience with pasta made fresh daily and ingredients locally sourced, the menu focusing on seasonality.
It’s probably the least ground-breaking of the three restaurants visited but that by no means took away from it being a restaurant worth trying. The venue itself is very small which lends to its cozy feeling that’s translated through to the food. It does a good job on the execution of the menu being a little bit more refined than traditional Italian without losing the essence of what makes it great in the first place.
The pastas as expected are cooked perfectly and the accompanying sauces are well balanced to not overpower other ingredients. Pepper is used generously which I think many other pasta joints forget is just as important as salt.
Knockout of the park dish easily was the mortadella sandwich, simply being served in a gnocco fritto (fried bread) bun with aioli; recommended by the waitress.
No complaints on the amount of carbs consumed.
Featured image: Africola, in East Terrace in Adelaide’s CBD.