Ba Guo Bu Yi

Ba Guo Bu Yi

(08) 8212 0000

98 – 100 Gouger Street

Adelaide 5000

So 2013 brings us back to our reviewing things retrospectively! So on a unusually wintery evening in the Adelaidean summer 12 of us decided to go out for a catch up after the silly-season.  Pre-drinks at Lotus Lounge with lots of food talk built up our appetites and at 8pm we eagerly trotted around the corner onto Gouger street to taste the offerings at Ba Guo Bu Yi, where we had made a booking, thankfully, as the place was packed.

We did not bring our own wine as the corkage is $12 per bottle so felt it was easier and most likely cheaper to just buy  it there, which it was. In South Australia our wines are often sourced locally so a lot of the time so the prices are generally quite reasonable.

Our table was the massive one at the back, which I am sure is reserved for the rowdy groups where laughter, cheap talk and rice is flown around dangerously so  we are placed at a safe distance from the other patrons. As soon as we were seated we were given menus, not enough but after requesting more were promptly delivered, and drinks offered. Jess ordered 4 bottles of Sauvignon  for the 12 of us which at first seemed a bit light but it was just enough, as the food was so delicious so we had little time for drinking. Water was supplied and then orders taken one by one with infinite patience.

We each chose a dish that we wanted to eat – nothing was themed or based on what compliments what. We just chose things that we thought looked yummy. The menu is offered in 2 forms. 1 is their popular dishes that looks as though it is designed for the safer-western pallet but the big picture menu was where the excitement and adventure lay. Then entrees of spring rolls and dumplings (both steamed and fried) were delivered first and these dumplings were delicious. Obviously fresh and made with care you could only glimpse them briefly as they flew off  the plates. Liam grabbed a staff member and DEMANDED we get more dumplings STAT! And while we were worried we were going to have too much food (we kid ourselves that there is such a thing) we all loved and ate those dumplings. Liam said he might cancel the order and just get dumplings for us all….this would have been acceptable. They were awesome.

Okay so basically the menu is huge so I’ll just list what we had:

Spicy Crispy Fish in Black Bean Sauce – not finsihed. Very boney and traditional.

Deep fried Lamb Cube in Cumin – very tasty with lots of greens.

Fried Chicken with Dry Chilli – tasted like KFC and disappeared very quickly.

House Beer Duck – was a disappointment actually! Was the only dish not finished apart from the fish.

Sauteed Shredded Pork  - yummy and subtle.

Pan Broiled Mushrooms with Bacon – it has bacon in it. Of course it was baconlicious.

Steamed Corn Bun with Chilli Bean and Diced Pork – the winner of the night! Not enough to go around for all so order 2 if you have a big group.

Golden Fried Sweet Corn – close runner up! So sweet and most of us added this to our rice. Mm Mmm!

Braised Potato, Beans and Eggplant – flew off the table. Fresh and tasty for a vegetarian dish.

Bok Choy and Garlic – always a winner when fresh and it was.

Fried Rice – was a less greasy version of a typical chinese rice. Pretty good with the flavour of all the other dishes.

So as you can see we ordered enough to feed a small country and consumed nearly all of it. The staff were prompt, filled our glasses and offered us more when we needed it. The toilets could use more attention but at least they flushed, had soap, bins and paper towel…as Carrie said, ‘what do you really expect in china town’. She is correct.

We did have to ask for the bill but once asked it was brought over directly and it appeared all other patrons were enjoying themselves too. The place was quite clean and the staff used headsets as obviously a busy place. The chef’s could be seen through an open door which is normally a positive. We will most certainly be going here again. Jess and Josh have already set up their menu for their next visit and I can see a lot of us returning for those dumplings. We advise you go here if you feel like basic to authentic chinese food. The total account came to $430 which equated to approximately $40 per person.

Ba Guo Bu Yi gets 7.5 out 10 dumplings.

Ba Guo Bu Yi on Urbanspoon

Corn Bun with Pork

Corn Bun with Pork

Pork Dumpling

Pork Dumpling

Golden Sweet Corn

Golden Sweet Corn

Our Banquet

Our Banquet

Bazu

Bazu

(08) 8231 8002

31 Gouger Street

Adelaide SA 5000

So Adelaide Retrospect has not given any really bad reviews having been fortunate in visiting some great places. But Bazu has turned the tables. IT WAS TERRIBLE. 

So we have been there a few times before, mostly for yum cha and once for a steam boat. Those times have been okay – not spectacular – but okay. This Saturday morning for yum cha was simply atrocious. We had a party of eight, and had to request one more chair for one  who was joining us on short notice, and after requesting a setting and a chair (no less than three times) one of us went and got one from a different table. A table that had not been cleared yet. Actually none of the tables looked like they were going to be cleared. There were dirty dishes, tablecloths and leftover-fly-attracting food. It was also not busy.. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WARNING…

So for a yum cha it was instantly disappointing as there was only one cart with some near-cold fried squid on it that was sub-par at best. We had ordered drinks and tea, and again had to ask three times to find out where they were. No glasses given with bottles and not enough cups with tea-pot. Sigh. One of us actually said to the the staff that if we were not served soon we would go elsewhere. Then, eventually, we were offered some food but it was greasy and mostly deep fried. If you are vegetarian you are going to starve, as most yum chas offer some chinese broccoli or pickled cucumber to compliment the traditional dishes. There was no cold trolley either that compromises of duck and the like normally, just the sort of stuff you can get from the supermarket and cook in the microwave.

Have you been to the toilets at Bazu before? First you must be really, really desperate to go (although you could use the tea pot if you like which would be safer) and you must first kiss your loved ones goodbye in case you perish or contract a deadly disease on the journey. The toilets are typically located at the back but you must traverse through a hallway of dirty dishes on the floor. (OH&S would have a blast here.) Then when you do get to your restroom (females in this case) you will see that there is one toilet that is broken down and covered in paper signs. Your other choice is the toilet covered in urine, next to the over flowing sanitary bin floating in what was hopefully water. The bit to then make you feel even more comfortable about eating here is that there is NO SOAP. Just a water filled dispenser. This means a staff member knew there was no soap and filled it with water. If the toilets are a reflection of chefs and staff…run. 

Now, after wanting to place our hands in boiling water we went back to finally being delivered our steamed pork dim sims that we ordered eons ago. This was the end of our meal as halfway through eating them we discovered they were raw. Absolutely unacceptable.

When there are so many more decent cheap-eat options on Gouger Street and China Town (T-chow, East Taste, Ding Hao, Dumpling King and so on) why you would eat here blows our minds.

 1 out 10 dim sims (The 1 point is for the promptness of the bill after we showed the staff our raw food – yep, still got a bill).

Bazu on Urbanspoon

Raw Dim Sim

Raw Dim Sim

Pho 75

Pho 75

(08) 8364 6080

Shop 8

113-131 Days Road

Croydon Park SA 5008

There is much a-do in Adelaide at the moment about who does the best Pho Bo? And while everyone else is bragging about ‘their’ spots we have been very quiet not really wanting to share! But then, we realise, this is not fair on other pho-lovers, the establishment and our cause.

Pho Bo is a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Simple as that. So, why is it so special and why do some of eat it 2+ times a week?

It is a healthy alternative for cheap,  fast food. The base is rice noodles with bits of spring onion, red onion and pepper and then rare beef that has been cut very thin is placed on the noodles and a very tasty boiling broth is poured over it so the beef cooks and the juices of it run into the broth. There on the table to share with your companions (or just for yourself) is a plate of thai basil, mint and bean sprouts. Next to that is an array of sauces and chillies. You can add whatever you like to it from this collection but most choose Hoisin and Hot sauce, then add some chilli jam. It is a great dish as it is without all the additives but if you like your heat you can really amp it up. Put in your basil leaves and sprouts and mix it all around. It is very cheap with $8.50 for a small and $10 for a medium that is really rather large so you are getting quite a deal. There are other types of pho on the menu but the safest for the virgin is the rare beef.

When you eat in you are able to just sit at any free seat or table and the staff will bring you a menu. There is air conditioning and TVs playing all manner of asian pop and tourist information ads. There is no alcohol (probably what keeps the costs down) and the only dish you can order is pho. Yes. Do not go here if you were hoping for an entree of spring rolls, it is more authentic than that. There are milder chicken broths for children on the menu. What is quite extensive is the drinks menu! Coconut milk is most popular with the heat from the soup as well as some of the unusual fruit smoothies like durian, which do make for a good dessert if you can fit one in. The Vietnamese coffee is the sweetest item and well worth a try.

They do a takeaway which must be heated on the cooktop when you get home. This is great as you can buy it now, eat it later. Take away is the same price but just a few extra cents for the takeaway containers. The toilets are in the parking lot but well kept. It is cash only – and they do separate bills. We often go with 10+ people and we are all allowed to pay seperately. Wonderful. It is  a lunch and dinner place but they open about 1030 as pho can traditionally be eaten for breakfast. They do not open Tuesdays at all.

It is hard to see from our review why it is such an awesome place to go but just go, try the pho. You will see what the hoo-haa is about.

Give it a Pho!

Give it a Pho!

Pho 75 on Urbanspoon

d’Arenberg Cellar Door & d’Arrys Verandah

d’Arenberg Cellar Door & d’Arrys Verandah

(08) 8329 4888

Osborn Road

Mclaren Vale SA 5171

When a business colleague arrived from Scotland the opportunity to go to a winery was pounced upon. Liam introduced us to the d’Arenberg Sauvignon earlier this year so we thought that a hike up to McLaren Vale with a scotsman and some sunshine would be a great idea…and it was.

Easy to find with the google maps on one of our un-upgraded iphones and those lovely little brown signs that indicate “WINE” had us up there within 40 minutes of leaving Adelaide. Beautiful grounds and a welcoming view we trundled into the cellar door to be met by a bus load of people and a short wait for one of the knowledgable and warm staff members to help us. The service was outstanding. When you visit wineries alone (what I mean is, not on a bus full of drunk comrades) you get a good idea of the quality of the wine from the quality of their staff. That may make the Boffers want to reach for their spittoons, but quite frankly that has been the experience…although one could ponder is the quality service causing the wine to taste better? If so it is a brilliant strategy and more wineries should use it. The service was comparable to some of the Clare Valley cellar doors, where you feel like you are meeting old friends.

We were NOT charged for tastings and feel this should be mentioned as some of the more sub-par-tourist-mecca wineries actually charge you to taste their wines, an indication that they know you will not buy any because it is le’ crap. The wine menu was extensive and the wonderful staff knew all about their product. There is also an impressive list of cellaring wines that were available that were $99 and also offered for tastings without being made to feel special or guilty. It might have been that it was 11:30am and the glorious sun was shining but the $15 ‘Hermit Crab’ Chardonnay took our breaths away. Brilliant wine especially for a Chardonnay which has being put on the back shelf by many of us of late.

Their restaurant was fully booked although upon seeing it we still asked for a table and we were offered two different times. We took the earlier one and were treated to some 5 star service, a 5 star view and brilliant 5 star food. Our scottish companion was tricked into ordering the asian themed roo that went very well with their staple ‘Dead Arm’ shiraz (which is proudly making its way back to the highlands right now) and there was also the Pork belly with honeycomb and tofu with a medley of mushrooms. All food was delicious and mouth-wateringingly moorish despite the generous sizes. The prices are not cheap but then the food represents the cost. $23 for an entree is expensive but the serve was easily a main and the ingredients and effort reflect it.

Go to d’Arenberg. Book a table as much in advance as you can. You will not regret it. And if you have bombs to drop in the cellar – drop them. The wine is exquisit. And you get to try it all before you buy it all.

9.5  Hermit Crabs out of 10. Yes.

Hermit Crab & GSM

The Pantry

The Pantry

(08) 8271 4409

2 Egmont Terrace

Hawthorn SA 5062

While we copped a bit of slack for our Coffee Barun review, that has not stopped us searching for a great breakfast place and each outing seems to get us closer to perfection. The Pantry on Egmont Terrace is a little treasure located along the train tracks in Hawthorn where you can sit and gaze out of the window and view the passing trains through the tree-lined framed street.  The cafe has embraced all that is retro and seems to carry an old-school quality about it. The ambience gives off a feel of wholesomeness and creativity. The decorating itself is artistic and there are various pieces of actual art covering the walls, and mostly large prints that made us feel as though we could ‘Narnia’ through them into another dimension.

Enough about the fantastic use of old and new – none of this really mattered. What matters is the quality of the food and service and there is little fault to be found. Some of us can count the amount of times that we are greeted but staff in coffee houses now. The Pantry so shocked us with service that we could not remove the looks of awe off our faces which did turn into smiles and giggles. This cafe is rather small inside but the space is well utilised. The staff offer table service (YES!) and happily give menus to you upon arrival and offer you drinks right off the bat – this is good as those really in need of a coffee often lack the decorum to wait for fellow guests to arrive. This particular Saturday morning was one of rain and thunder  but it did not stop eager coffee-goers from giving up on The Pantry which was full up inside. The outside seats under the verandah were offered and then thick woollen blankets were affectionally  placed over the patrons. If you know that you want to eat here at a certain time we advise calling them first. We imagine it could get very busy.

The menu offered breakfast and lunch dishes, the normal kind of stuff with a bit of a twist here and there. The food was great, we had egg dishes and gluten free muesli which was fresh and cooked to perfection. The prices were very fair for the food and while we cannot remember exact pricing for this breakfast it worked out to be about $15 – $20 per head which is a damn-cheap meal out at the moment. The coffee was fantastic and served in normal size cups so that your pinky finger could still pop up while your wrist was not snapping in surprise of getting a soup bowl instead of a cup.

We look forward to returning here and trying more menu items. Fresh, funky and f**king friendly!

We give The Pantry 8 out 10 Smiles.

Sugar at The Pantry

 

 
The Pantry on Egmont on Urbanspoon

The Apothecary 1878

THE APOTHECARY 1878

(08) 8212 9099

118 Hindley Street

Adelaide SA 5000

Now, this review is written with hesitation as The Apothecary is one of our favourite places and we are loathe to share it! So far having sauntered in here no less than 4 times this year it does warrant a review albeit reservedly.

The Apothecary is most certainly the diamond in the rough along Hindley street (although hats off, Hindley Street, you are improving). This is an establishment which offers table service with well-dressed, educated staff that is a real treat in this time of poor customer service. We have yet to bring an acquaintance/date/friend/family member here and find disappointment. Always something going on there; if you want more than just a regular fine dining experience then there are whiskey tastings, high teas and occasionally other surprises (you must book!) for you to experience.

Now down to basics, aesthetically you will be pushed to fine a more authentic and traditional european styled establishment in South Australia. The name Apothecary meaning ‘a pharmacy’ comes from the antique pharmacy cabinets that enclose you as you enter. Donned with the most beautiful bottles it will keep your eyes captured if nothing else. There are many levels in the heritage listed building and you may use these levels depending on your purpose it seems. For simple drinks and tastings there is the courtyard which is only available in good weather or the 2 ground levels. If you are dining you will be either downstairs or at ground level depending on the night. Upstairs are the function rooms for, of course, functions which they do very, very well.

The drinks menu is indescribable and if you can’t find something on that menu that you will love, you just get right off our site now. Wines from around the globe, whiskeys, gins, cocktails that are making me drool while typing.. you name it. The food seems to change seasonally and there is a range of tastings, tapas and mains to choose from, including venison, salmon, duck-fat potatoes, steak as well as vegetarian options. Don’t forget that cheese goes with wine and you will not be let down in this department either.

Of course quality does not come cheaply. The Apothecary is not known for it’s cheap eats and happy hours but the experience is worth as much as the consumables. A couple of examples for you to consider from 2012:

Group meal only (wine billed separately) with 3 courses was $55 per head – there was more food than could be eaten and the guests are still pleased with that experience.

Night cap for 2 was $57 for 4 glasses of wine and a plate of cheese.

Meal date with a 2 aperitifs, a bottle of wine, cheese plate, 2 mains, 1 dessert & an AMAZING cocktail was $177

Some comments:

Jarred “The service was magnificent”

Jess “I love the Apothecary, it is this little warm hub of refinement in the crassness of Hindley street, although some out door heaters for smoking cigars wouldn’t go astray”

Shell “Where else can you eat Bambi and beets in Adelaide?”

A few other notes, you must dress smart casual to visit The Apothecary. Do book if you want to go to a high tea or a tastings night, generally you should just book for any meal, it is etiquette. The Apothecary is one of the only places in South Australia that continues to serve delicious food past 10pm. Impressed.

We give The Apothecary our highest score of 9 out of 10 bow ties.

The Apothecary

Apothecary 1878 on Urbanspoon

Alfonso’s Continental

Alfonso’s Continental

(08) 8223 1547

202 Hutt Street

Adelaide SA 5000

A wet cold Friday night our team decided to spontaneously charge out somewhere for dinner. Hutt street was suggested, as it is usually a buzzing hive of activity. However this particular Friday night was not the case, thanks to an atypical cold-snap,  so we should not have been so surprised to see the tumbleweeds dancing down the street.

Our leading thoughts were a trip to Norberto’s Buenos Airs Steak house but the loose-leaf paper menus hastily stuck to the windows with blu-tak were hardly justifying the high prices that they so informally displayed.

After a brief stroll through the elements, Alfonso’s was very appealing due to the warmth and the full tables. With the near blizzard conditions prevailing we opted for inside (though the outside was heated and covered it was still freezing) and we were promptly ushered to a corner table. Upon seating we were given some rather dog-eared menus (we judged by their condition that they could be carbon dated sometime BC).

Rustic menus aside, the staff were happy and we were offered drinks just as we were about to ask for them. The kitchen provided plenty of options (mostly Italian of course) and to our delight abounded gluten-free options. There were plenty of pasta options (i.e they did not rely on the old spag bol and [insert pasta type here] marinara). However the one odd thing that did stand out was the lack of any pizza options.  There was a breakfast menu that offered a lot of standard big breakfast choices and that is an adventure for some other morning. The wine menu was good, reasonably priced, and we settled on a bottle of Pikes (Clare Valley) Sauvignon Blanc for the long haul.

Having braved the elements we were all rather ravenous so ordered starters as well as mains. This turned out to be a rookie mistake, as while we did not expect HUGE meals (the prices were very fair) when they came out we realised they were intended to feed one with an Italian sized appetite.

Essentially:      Starters = Entrée     Entrée = Main     Main = Kitchen Sink

While not looking like a Masterchef inspired gourmet masterpiece the meals were very tasty and filling; excellent comfort food. We ordered:

- Eggplant & Bacon Involtini (GF Starter): Clear winner in both the starters and the mains (big enough to be a main)

- Whitebait (Starter): Good but could have been crunchier and was missing aioli.

- Aracini Balls (Starter): Dan said ‘they were huge and better than my main”

- Linguini Pasitano (Main): A white wine and garlic seafood pasta supplied with cracking gear, no complaints.

- Penne Albiocca (GF): With chicken, apricots, walnuts and pancetta it was unusual, almost like a dessert pasta, but very tasty and an interesting meal.

- Hamburger (Main): Yes, boring but it sounded awesome and delivered on taste!

The winner was easily the Eggplant & Bacon Involtini that could have been satisfying as either a starter or a main with Shell and Drinks Master declaring  their love for it many times. Oh Involtini, how we adore thee!

While it might be outclassed by Chianti Classico a few doors up (a future review to come) it is no where near as pricey or elitist. In summary if you want to sit somewhere warm and cosy, eat a hearty meal that will survive you all weekend and come out with change from a ‘fiddy’ then this is the place for you.

We give 7 out of 10 Involtinis.

Linguini Pasitano

Alfonso's Continental on Urbanspoon

What to look forward to next?

RIOT CITY WRESTLING!

The mean streets of Riot City will be reviewed for our first Event review. This will be up in the coming months.

RCW

The Squatters Arms

THE SQUATTERS ARMS

The Best Dive In Town

1 George Street

Thebarton 5031

(08) 8443 4563

Remember how we recently posted that we were going to review The Squatters Arms? Well after dinner at the Deli on George Street we sent Drinks Master up to suss it out, his response was one of little surprise; “I have inspected The Squatters Arms and considered that I would lose life, wallet or innocence, let’s got to the Wheatsheaf instead.” And that we did, maybe another time Squatters, another time.

The Hope Inn

THE HOPE INN

348 Port Road

Hindmarsh 5007

(08) 8340 3087

So Adelaide Retrospect decided to go to the Bombay Bicycle Club for another shot at quiz night only to meet in the front bar where there was only standing room as the pub was absolutely packed and the chances of 10 of us getting a table was like the chances of all us sprouting wings and actually flying to Mumbai. So after awhile we decided to turn our frowns upside down and head to a different pub. The Lady Daly was on our list but she stops serving food at 8pm (that is if she is even open). So the Hope Inn was decided on, as the recent advertising had spiked some of our group’s interests, and logistically it made sense at the time.

Ross, who admitted he had been there a few years ago and that it was “Horrible”, was pleasantly surprised when we parked the cars. The outside of the pub is of traditional aesthetics and while the car park is a bit average it is due to the current constructions around it. Walking in the side entrance you come in to a small area that allows you to follow through to the dining room or to the sports bar. The dining room was very busy for 8pm on a Thursday night and full of all kinds of people, young and old. It was warm and dressed perfectly to pull tradition into 2012. The dining room moves through to the beer garden which is just a great surprise. The pub has taken advantage of good design and all areas are utilised to accommodate for as many patrons as possible. With quirky decorations such as coloured globes and garden gnomes it is of good humour too. And yes, there are gas heaters available. Go through the next door and you end up in the (insert descriptive profanities) pokies, not an area of joy for any of us, and then moving on again you end up in the sports bar.  As far as sports bars go this one was rather good, there were plenty of tables and seats, plenty of bar space and televisions at every possible position. If you are keen for a bit of a flutter then you can do this here and also comfortably order bar food and dining room food right there while cheering as your friend’s dog comes last. As there were 10 of us we decided to sit in here.

Now, as we were rather ravenous we decided to just order food and drinks immediately and as we were able to order at either the sports bar or the dining room we got through this progress rather quickly. A couple of things about the menu; it is dirt-cheap and it is food that will fill a grown man. The schnitzels did not look massive but they were agreed to be tasty, if a bit average.  A few of us got the roast of the day (beef) which was $14 and a serve like you get at Christmas (both Shell & Tris were thrilled as they actually supplied horse raddish with it). Jarred got the burger and while he asked for salad and no chips, he still got chips and extra salad which he ‘reluctantly’ ate. When asked if he would return to the Hope Inn he said, “For that burger, shit yes!” The food came out to us in good time and the table was silent in it’s satisfaction of actually obtaining some food. The dessert menu looked delicious, as do all dessert menus, but we all refrained this time.

The drinks menu is short on wine but the choices are well known and just so cheap, and boy, they can pour a glass. $7 for a glass of Geisen Sauvignon Blanc is a good couple of dollars cheaper than what you will pay elsewhere (and when you are drinking a few glasses those dollars do add up). The beer and cider was reasonable with many tap options and bottled options too. The reason for the cheap drinks and food was suggested that it is because the pub is owned by Coles but if it is not an ethical problem for you then we recommend you take advantage of the cheap prices.

All in all the staff were very friendly and made us feel like we were not on Port Road but out in the country somewhere and the other patrons seemed relaxed and well-spirited, look out for the local who calls himself ‘Cowboy’ for a friendly chat about local grocery prices. As Tris stated, “Good food, good service. Renovated nicely without losing its original character and charm but still a standard pub-vibe and pub-menu”. Rob and Carrie both felt that it had no atmosphere although we are told that it occasionally has a live band in the front bar, if that is the kind of atmosphere you are after. It was agreed by all though that no matter the pub these places are always good when after cheap eats and drinks and good company.

The Hope Inn gets 6 out 10 Gnomes.

Hope Inn Gnome


Hope Inn Hotel on Urbanspoon

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