This year, the Royal Croquet Club brings together Adelaide all-stars with new concepts and international talent. The 2016 line-up includes Adelaide favourites Street ADL, Comida Catering, Gin Long and Spice Kitchen, as well as newbies Doc’s Diner, Plantation Juice Bar and Pit House.
Pit House is run by Hugh Duckworth, who was inspired by his time working in London as a sous chef at acclaimed restaurant St John. There he honed the skills that he will use to cook “lamb on the cross” and “salmon on its back”, dishes that have already become stars of the Adelaide food scene.
“I’m excited to bring the theatrical element, and cooking over a fire pit, to the Royal Croquet Club,” says Duckworth. Other stalls taking advantage of fire-pit cooking include Street ADL, serving fire-pit pumpkin with spiced macadamia and wattleseed chevre.
Chef Michael Weldon returns this year with Royal Croquet Club favourite Jamaican Me Crazy. It will serve a Caribbean-style menu that includes hot wings, lemon-pepper squid tacos and jerk chicken. Weldon will also bring Doc’s Diner to the Royal Croquet Club, with a focus on classic all-American food, such as burgers and hot dogs.
Many established stalls are creating specific dishes for the RCC crowd. Gin Long has created a choo chee chicken curry and yum voon sen (seafood glass salad).
Other RCC-specific creations include pumpkin and potato with native spices, and manchego-cheese quesadillas from Street ADL. The salchichas by Comida Catering are a combination of chorizo, butifarra, and morcilla Spanish sausages served with romesco sauce made with almond picada and guindilla peppers.
Pub-food classics will be given an innovative update. Instead of wedges to accompany your beer, there’s polenta chips with sour cream and tomato salsa from Mangia, Mangia! Chips and onion rings will come with native lime salt and chipotle mayo respectively from Street ADL.
If time is short and you need to enjoy Royal Croquet Club cuisines in one sitting, your best bet is to start early. Begin the day with an acai bowl or smoothie from Plantation Juice Bar and a coffee from Candy Man. Play some croquet and work up an appetite for a Bahama Burger from Jamaican Me Crazy, with some “phat” onion rings from Street ADL.
For an afternoon snack get a papaya salad and galangal-lemongrass iced tea from Gin Long and eat an ice cream from Movenpick as you ride a camel (why not?). See a Fringe show and come out to the sun setting and the smell of charcoal wafting over the Club. Head straight for Pit House and order some “salmon on its back” before finishing your night with a zeppole (Italian doughnut) with vanilla gelato, chocolate ganache and toasted almonds from Mangia, Mangia!
Roll yourself home and slip peacefully into a coma.
The Royal Croquet Club runs from February 12 to March 14 at Victoria Square (Tarndanyangga). Open every day except Mondays, excluding March 14.
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