If someone were to ask me for a restaurant recommendation, Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar would certainly be somewhere at the top of the list. While it’s nearly been two years since my last visit, everyone that I know that’s been here speaks highly of the place. A friend and I were supposed to eat at a new bar in town but it turned out they were a few days away from opening to the public. Instead, we headed to Andre’s where I knew the experience was going to be good. No need to pick anything off the menu, we just went for the value for money Menu Fisso at $62 per person. It’s 7 or more courses decided by the kitchen.
The first dish to come out was the Octopus Carpaccio. Thin slices of silky smooth Octopus surround an island of potato, broccoli and pickled cucumber. The potato and broccoli were soft and firm, while the zest from the lemon juice was balanced by the tangy pickled cucumber. Not only was it beautifully presented, more importantly, it tasted good.
The Scamorza is baked and comes with slices of toasted house made bread. It almost reminds me of a glorified Italian toastie. The cheese is so soft and gooey, each bite was like being transported to heaven and back. So simple and yet so delicious.
The Gnocchi Ragu doesn’t appear on any of the menus and it’s actually the first time I’ve had this dish here. The gnocchi is so delicate, it simply melts in your mouth. Without a doubt, the best gnocchi I’ve ever had. Combine this with a delicously savoury ragu and words cannot describe how good this was.
One of the mains we had was the 400g Flat Iron Steak. The beef was tender and succulent, and it was hard for me to remember the last time I had steak this good. Covered in a balsamic sauce, every bite was simply amazing. The side of crispy potatoes were crunchy on the outside, and soft and fluffy in the middle. The sharp taste of the parmesan cheese added good depth to the side.
As the name of this place suggests, Polenta is one of their specialties. As expected, the polenta was very creamy and delicate with the flavours of the dish heightened by the sauteed mushrooms. The crunchiness of the pine nuts and the subtle hints of basil from the pesto make this a truly great dish.
You have to applaud a place when even the Mixed Salad tastes good. The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the radicchio, surprisingly wasn’t too bitter. It was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette that was applied in perfect amounts.
After we had the first main, we felt there was room for another, so we ordered the Confit Duck Leg. I had fond memories of the duck from my last visit and I wanted those memories to be re-created. Unfortunately, I was told they had just brought out a new confit duck recipe so it wasn’t going to be quite the same. The duck meat was tender and succulent, while the skin was crisp but a little on the salty side. Alas, the string of perfectly executed dishes came to an end. Having said that, the dish was more balanced when combined with all the other ingredients.
Finally, we had the Pasticcini for dessert. My favourite was the shortbread biscuit with gooey chocolate in between, and coming a close second was the Cannoli. A terrific way to end the night.
The service was excellent, as was the ambience. There was such good variety in the dishes and with the exception of one, everything we ate was faultless. This place continues to be one of my favourite restaurants in Adelaide.
WHERE: 94 Frome St, Adelaide