River Cafe – Festival of Food 2013

Having been to the fine dining restaurant upstairs a few weeks ago, I already had high expectations of this place. Located in the same building as the Red Ochre restaurant, the River Cafe also provides fantastic views of the city and the Torrens River.

The setting is elegant and modern, and the service is excellent. Cloth napkins were placed on our laps, drinks were constantly refilled and the staff were attentive but not too intrusive.

Tonight, we came here with the Festival of Food voucher, which gave us each a entree tasting platter, a main and a dessert. The food started coming out 15 minutes after ordering, and the timing of each course was precise.

MOZZARELLA ARANCINI BALLS – These mozzarella infused rice balls tasted a bit bland to me. It definitely needed the tomato sugo to give it balance.

Mozzarella Arancini
Mozzarella Arancini

MARINATED PRAWN TAILS – The prawns were perfectly cooked and the marinade provided nice colour. The red pepper dressing was light and refreshing, and the fregola pasta was nice and firm. The combination of ingredients didn’t really do anything for me.

Marinated Prawn Tails
Marinated Prawn Tails

CAULIFLOWER SOUP – To make cauliflower soup taste good, you need to add other ingredients to take away the blandness. For me, it just tasted like cauliflower blended into a puree. The crostini gave it a bit more depth, but there wasn’t enough of it.

Cauliflower Soup
Cauliflower Soup

CRAB LINGUINE – This was supposed to the be the highlight of the night, but I’ve been to places that make it so much better. The pasta was perfectly cooked, however, the rose sauce could have done with a bit more salt. The blue swimmer crab meat was generously provided, however, it was missing its natural sweetness. I also found 3 bits of crab shell in my dish. At a place like this, I expect to find none.

Crab Meat Linguine
Crab Meat Linguine

VANILLA CHOCOLATE MACARON – The dessert selection at this place is nothing you couldn’t get anywhere else. Macarons are so common these days, even McDonald’s sells them. These macarons were well made. They were nice and firm on the outside, with a nice gooey texture on the inside. They were really good but nothing unique.

Vanilla Chocolate Macaron
Vanilla Chocolate Macaron

I would call this place the best “cafe” in the world, but as a restaurant, it falls slightly short of memorable fine dining, only because I felt some of the dishes were quite pedestrian and my main was simply disappointing. As for everything else, they do it right and they do it well.

I definitely had the better experience at the restaurant upstairs.

WHERE: War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide





River Cafè on Urbanspoon


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