The Best Thing I’ve Eaten Lately: Our Team’s Favourite Drinks and Dishes in Adelaide Right Now

<p>Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Crab bun, Latteria</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Seafood stew, Presqil Farm</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>King George whiting escabeche, Thelma</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Butter course, Magill Estate Restaurant</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Butter course, Magill Estate Restaurant</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Fallen bunya branches with native thyme and wattleseed, Restaurant Botanic</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Turkish eggs, Mister Sunshine</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Hispi cabbage, brown butter, tommy ruff, Hentley Farm</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Hampshire pork, fennel, fermented apple, Fino at Seppeltsfield</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Parfait tartlet à la Burnt Ends, Arkhe</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
<p>Parfait tartlet à la Burnt Ends, Arkhe</p>
Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic ·Photo: Lucy Bell Bird
We’re half way through 2024 and the Broadsheet Adelaide team has been eating and drinking very well. Here are all the bites and booze we haven’t shut up about since we tried them.

A commitment to eating and drinking is almost an official prerequisite to working at Broadsheet. You have to love the dishes, the dining rooms and the people working the pass – you also have to be willing to put your waistline and your wallet on the line to take a proper bite out of the local dining scene.

From fancy degustation diners and bougie bar snacks to simple Sichuan dishes and schnittys, we’ve eaten our way across a serious cross section of South Australian diners over the past six months, and these are the dishes we can’t stop thinking about.

Marron cooked in botanical leaves with brown butter, lemon myrtle and fermented chilli with a marron doughnut glazed in marron coral, Restaurant Botanic

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to dine at Restaurant Botanic. Every single dish – and reader there were 30 dishes – was incredible. I licked rocks, ate from mother of pearl cutlery and drank custard from an eggshell. When I heard myself say aloud, “I think I preferred the emu to the crocodile” I knew this meal was a far cry from the Indomie and takeaway Thai of my “real life”. Of all the dishes I tried that night, the marron was a standout. First of all, it’s a dish you eat with your hands. A fat and juicy marron tail comes hidden in a bushel of leaves. You pick it up and swipe it through a rich sauce. Next to it – propped up in the claws of two marron shells – is the best doughnut you’ll ever eat. Sweet and glistening, it’s stuffed with marron. – Lucy Bell Bird, national assistant editor

Crab bun, Latteria

Latteria on Hutt Street is the latest venture from the team behind local mainstay Osteria Oggi and smartly straddles restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub. The Studio Gram fit-out is sharply retro – leather lounges, cosy corners, vinyl records, primary colours – while the menu is pure 2024. Expect snacky Italian dishes you’ll want to share as the music gets gradually louder. For me the standout snack is a toasted finger bun that’s almost glazed with butter and crammed with chive-flecked, mayo-boosted crab and barbequed sweetcorn well-seasoned with smoked salt and white pepper. Order at least one per person. Maybe two. – Michael Harry, features editor

Seafood stew, Presqil Farm

An enchanting autumnal lunch in the Adelaide Hills – a one-off collaboration between chef Tom Campbell and WA’s Ben Ing of Alberta’s – was made all the more magical thanks to this bewitching seafood stew. The fresh calamari, pippies and mussels poking out of the bowl were delicious, yes, but it was the buttery, tomato-y broth I’d like on tap for years to come. This dish might be gone (though not forgotten), but let’s count our blessings Campbell’s wholesome country-style cooking is now available on the regular at Thelma. – Daniela Frangos, Adelaide editor-at-large

East Side cocktail, Proof

The East Side is a cocktail of gin, lime juice, simple syrup, cucumber and mint shaken and finely strained into a coupe glass. As far as classics go, this one’s relatively easy to make. But for whatever reason, getting a bad one is even easier. That’s unless you’re ordering it in a place like Proof. Here, the cocktail was made instinctually, with just the right amount of flair. It sang in the glass, and gave me the second wind I sorely needed. I’d heard this place was killer. This drink was the proof. – Daniel Cunningham, directory editor

King George whiting escabeche, Thelma

My fondest childhood memories involve freshly caught whiting plucked from Coffin Bay’s coast during school holidays. This sexy little sea beast took me back – this time with added pickled veggie punch. It’s stunning with a glass of The Other Right Future sauvignon blanc.–Katie Spain, contributor

Sliced beef in hot chilli oil, Hot and Spicy Kitchen

Pouring rain, sleepy weeknight trade, an cost of living crisis – none of this seems to have an impact on the popularity of Hot and Spicy Kitchen, a Gouger Street staple specialising in Sichuan cuisine. It’s probably down to the addictive, mouth-numbing peppercorns you’ll find across their menu. I especially love the sliced beef in hot chilli oil, a simple dish of tender beef slices in a spicy – emphasis on spicy – chilli oil with garlic, sesame, vinegar and crunchy peanuts. – Nicole Wedding, contributor

Chicken schnitzel, The Scenic Hotel

Much like the 2005 op-ed where Nora Ephron wrote about her unforgettable cabbage strudel from Mrs Herbest’s in New York City, I’m about to wax lyrical about The Scenic Hotel’s chicken schnitzel. Golden brown with a slight glistening of oil, it’s got the delicate, soothing crunch whenever you take a bite. It comes with a schmear of caper butter on top (never enough caper butter). The Best Supporting Actor Oscar goes to the steamed Dutch cream potatoes. As Nora once wrote it’s “validation of never giving up and of hope springing eternal”. – Kurtis Eichler, contributor

Butter course, Magill Estate Restaurant

I have no self-control and I am constantly finding myself at risk of filling up on bread and butter before I jump into a meal. The Magill Estate Restaurant bread and butter course comes at the halfway mark of the meal – so you can really dig in without properly ruining your appetite. Served tableside, bread rolls are dished up with quenelles of house-made butter. There’s a salted butter, a truffle butter, a rich miso butter and a gochujang butter. After you’ve sampled your share of the flavoured butters, you’re encouraged to get seconds of your favourite flavours.– Lucy Bell Bird, national assistant editor

Fallen bunya branches with native thyme and wattleseed, Restaurant Botanic

How do you pick a favourite dish from an unforgettable (six-hour) meal of 30 different “flavour combinations”? (Restaurant Botanic doesn’t call them courses, and fair enough – that would belittle the mastery going on here. Also, many of them are down in one gulp.) It’s hard to go past recently departed executive chef Justin James’s signature dessert: earthy, toasty, nutty frozen custard flavoured with wattleseed miso and fallen bunya bunya branches collected nearby in the garden. Part highbrow, part lowbrow, and all Australian – put it in the hall of Aussie dessert fame between pavlova and lamington. – Daniela Frangos, Adelaide editor-at-large

Hampshire pork, fennel, fermented apple, Fino at Seppeltsfield

In my book Fino at Seppeltsfield is nothing short of one of the country’s finest winery restaurants. Give me pig in any form and I’m a happy man. However, their Hampshire pork with fermented apples, delicately sliced fennel and velvety jus is a masterclass in giving classic flavours a dose of modern affection. Succulent, rich, and with just the right measure of tang, this dish is the perfect lunchtime showstopper. – Alex Mitcheson, contributor

Turkish eggs, Mister Sunshine

The Turkish eggs at Mister Sunshine’s pair tangy garlic yoghurt with the smokiness of burnt butter sauce infused with chilli, plus toasted pine nuts, spinach, and Turkish bread for a dish that’s simply lick-the-bowl-level good. You can amp it up with chorizo or, if you’re anything like me, a side of crispy bacon. – Stacey Caruso, contributor

Nashi pear, house-made feta, Topiary

I took my mum to dine at Topiary and she hasn’t stopped talking about the compressed nashi pear, house-made feta, macadamia and quince honey concoction. Neither have I. It was a masterclass in texture thanks to roast macadamia nut crunch. Sweet, salty, perfect.–Katie Spain, contributor

Hispi cabbage, brown butter, tommy ruff, Hentley Farm

Hentley Farm has kept the recent appointment of head chef Kyle Johns close to its chest, but his food speaks for itself. The quietly spoken South African-born chef eschews dainty fine dining for nourishing, wholesome and familiar cooking, like turning the humble cabbage into a fortifying dish with a bit of char and brown butter, finished with briny capers and tommy ruff garum. I could eat this – and his brothy bowl of scallops and peas – every day. – Daniela Frangos, Adelaide editor-at-large

Banana blossom chicken salad, Rosemont Hall

I’m going to go with the banana blossom chicken salad from Rosemont Hall. I am absolutely amazed by how well they put the place back together after it was destroyed in a fire two years ago. It feels great to be back there and the food is even better than I remember. – Kelsey Zafiridis, photographer

Parfait tartlet à la Burnt Ends, Arkhe

We were off to see the Australian Dance Theatre’s powerful Adelaide Festival work Marrow. But first, a powerful dinner at Arkhe down the street. The expert wait staff said we had to get the parfait tartlet, a holdover from Jake Kellie’s tenure at the acclaimed Singaporean barbeque restaurant Burnt Ends. Months later, I’m still thinking about the bloody parfait tartlet; a palm-shaped puck of pure decadence. Unctuous, unforgettable and under $15. – Daniel Cunningham, directory editor

Pistachio praline gelato, Gelato Messina

Like the rest of the world, I have Charli XCX’s Brat on repeat, and Everything is romantic has me dreaming of a European summer. For now, this is the next best thing: a satisfying combination of fior di latte gelato, silky white chocolate and pistachio fudge, and crisp pistachio praline. – Nicole Wedding, contributor

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