Australia’s pre-eminent eating and drinking festival, Tasting Australia returned to Adelaide from April 13-22 to showcase extraordinary people, the influence of place and premium produce from around South Australia, the country and the world.
Gastrology loved spending the weekend in Adelaide to enjoy a bit of what the festival had to offer.
5pm – Check in to Adelaide Hilton
Located in the heart of Adelaide, Hilton Adelaide is the perfect place to stay and enjoy the city’s entertainment, dining and shopping scene.
The Central Market, Chinatown and Gouger Street are a mere hop and a skip away.
7pm – Dinner at Africola
At Africola, it’s good vibes all around. Expect amazing food, killer ambience, a great selection of libations combined with friendly service.
As you walk into the dining room, you are greeted by an open kitchen (perhaps the most open of kitchens that Australia has to offer) where the chefs are in action. We recommend sitting at one of the bar seats surrounding the kitchen so you really feel part of the action. There is a lot of theatre and seriously adds to the experience.
The food is delicious. From the “snacks” section, our top pick is the Crispy eggplant served with chilli and shallot jam. The mochi coating mirrors the eggplant’s gooey texture and delivers a subtle sweetness that works a treat.
The Cauliflower steak is similarly delicious. Beautifully charred on the outside and baked in tahini sauce and spiced butter. This is simply a thing of beauty and would tempt any carnivore.
For something heartier, do not go past the Lamb neck with roti. This is one hearty dish that will keep you wanting more. The lamb is exceedingly tender and marinated in spices so it is bursting with flavour.
Our visit concluded on a sweet high with the Koeksisters Dessert, a traditional South African sweet that is similar to a doughnut dipped in syrup. Africola’s rendition was beautiful – topped with poached quince slices and cheese, it was an interesting flavour combination which both excited an delighted.
1.30pm – Lunch at Summertown Aristologist
Set in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, Summertown Aristologist is a stunning venue operated by Adelaide wine and food legends Anton van Klopper, Jasper Button and Aaron Fenwick.
The menu features a stunning selection of natural wines with food focused on sustainability, seasonality and making you feel good. Keeping it simple is the name of the game here and these guys play it flawlessly.
We loved the emphasis on vegetables and clean eating which did not compromise on taste. Think blanched calamari with kimchi dressing, pumpkin adorned with kale and a soy dressing as well as poached chicken with cabbage and whey. Everything tasted beautiful and left us feeling invigorated.
Sweet tooths are also well looked after. We enjoyed their rendition of an apple pie and the lime sorbet served with yoghurt foam. Both thoroughly modern and utterly delicious.
The crockery and glassware match the stunning offerings and are handmade by local artists. These little touches add to the overall dining experience and make visiting this eatery an easy choice. Definitely pay them a visit, your body will thank you.
4.30pm – Party at Fresh Wine Disco
It’s all in the name. No, literally, it is. It’s fresh wine and yes, it’s a disco! Curated by Taras Ochota of Ochota Barrels (Basket Range), Fresh Wine Disco was an afternoon of slurping of wine siphoned straight from the demi-john and was an amazing opportunity to meet the faces behind the labels that are reinvigorating Australia’s wine industry.
We loved grooving to the disco music whilst enjoying the 2018 vintage poured by the winemakers, directly from the demi-john to our glasses literally just weeks after harvest from the vine.
The Manor at Basket Range was a stunning backdrop for the event and also featured Mary’s Burgers and Tacocat which offered delicious bites to keep us fuelled to party all night long.
8pm – Dinner at Town Square
Based at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, Town Square was the perfect place to explore, enjoy, gather and graze throughout the festival. Adelaide locals and visitors rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of Tasting Australia's best talent, from chefs to winemakers and local producers.
The main stage was pumping with live music and speaker sessions throughout the week and there was something to suit everyone’s tastebuds - from wood-oven pizzas and venison ragout on house gnocchi, to whole roasted pig or paella with local seafood.
12pm - “The Romans” lunch at the Glasshouse Kitchen
Our Tasting Australia adventure concluded with an indulgent long lunch matched with an impressive range of Italian varietals from the region by the vino experts at East End Cellars.
To start, Sydney’s Federico Zanellato (LuMi) brought Italian flavours with a Japanese aesthetic with a stunning KI Gold yabby tart. We loved the combination of beautifully textured tart shell with supremely prepared yabby coated in a luxurious beurre blanc sauce.
To follow, the godfathers of risotto – Christian and Manuel Costardi – led the charge bringing their Piedmontese heritage and Italian panache for abundance with them to the kitchen. Cheekily named “Risotto like a spaghetti”, the duo wow-ed guest with a seemingly simple oil, garlic and chilli risotto which was wonderfully elegant and surprisingly light.
For mains, Monty Koludrovic from Bondi’s iconic Icebergs Dining Room and Bar served a scrumptious modern Italian dish of grilled Macro Meats kangaroo loin, pickled beetroot, smoked potato and Diane sauce. It was a wonderful dish which was hearty and full of flavour. That Diane sauce was just wow.
The lunch concluded on a sweet note with a big pot of The Lucia Family tiramisu. Locally, no-one commands Italian cuisine more than the famed Lucia family and this dessert certainly had all the love, flavour and GENEROSITY you would expect from Matriarch Lucia Rosella.