There’s no better excitement than the discovery of a fabulous new dining and drinking location somewhere where you’d least expect it. Tea Tree Gully is a little way off my usual beaten track, but with offerings like The Gully Public House and Beer Garden I will be sure to venture from my usual CBD locations more often. In the midst of Tea Tree Gully lies what I would describe as a joyful, bustling gully oasis. The newly renovated Gully offers various dining and entertainment areas from alluring indoor and outdoors beer gardens, a historic front bar and quality dining spaces.
Private booths and tables circle around a ginormous screen, perfect for sports fans. Interior decorators have gone to town on creating a very sophisticated space, which still manages to capture the charm and friendly atmosphere for which they have been well known since their opening in 1854. Amongst its new offerings The Gully also hosts a range of events for its ‘Gully Foodies’, such as tantalizing wine degustation dinners, beergustations, cooking classes and cocktail masterclasses. This is not a pub, which can be labeled with one particular crowd. Everyone from your typical sports fan, sophisticated cocktail drinker, music lover, foodie or all round good timer could find enjoyment through immersing themselves in what The Gully has to offer. And let’s not forget they also offer Sunday breakfast until 3pm, just incase you’ve over compensated for how great their entertainment offerings are the night before.
The food kicked off with a tasty caramelized onion and goats cheese pizzeta. Let’s be honest it’s pretty hard to go wrong when you’re combining caramelized onion and goats cheese. The balance of the more subtle creamy goats cheese and the sweet caramelized onion worked perfectly to awaken the taste buds.
The next pizzeta offering came with a more traditional approach, combining bacon and a sea of gooey mozzarella.
The following entrée was a well-presented slice of pork belly. So well presented I initially struggled to identify all the elements of the dish, something, which I actually find enjoyable when dining out. The marinated and succulent pork belly was garnished with tomato and crisp rocket and sat on a slice of firm potato and thinly sliced pear. A common match with pork belly, the pear provided natural sweetness, which was balanced by the sharpness of the parmesan cheese.
If you’re not tired of the term pulled pork or slider yet, then you probably don’t eat out much, as it is found on just about every menu whether it be Modern Australian, Mexican, Italian or Pub fare. The key is to find the right pulled pork. This slider was well executed with strands of subtly sweet pulled pork, balanced by the lightly dressed crunchy coleslaw.
There are certain dishes that you expect to see on every pub menu. Classics like chicken parmagiana, salt and pepper squid and the ol’ fish and chips grace just about every pub menu from here to Queensland’s Imperial Hotel (The most remote pub in all of Australia). And just like the pulled pork sliders it’s the good few, which start to stand tall. I must say the thing, which struck me most about The Gully’s squid, was their presentation. The way the squid was sliced was very clever and imaginative. Coated in their special salt and pepper spice mix were tender succulent morsels of squid. Accompanied by their perfectly cooked chips and crisp salad.
I’m a big fan of dukkah and love anything that’s cooked with it. This dish was no different. Coated in a thick layer of crumbly dukkah was a soft and delicate barramundi fillet. The dish was highlighted by the sweetness and crunchiness in the apple coleslaw. If you’re one of the many health conscious people of this generation and the idea of a group dinner at a pub scares you, because you’re a gluten free pescetarian then this is a good alternative to other fried or meaty options, found on most pub menus.
This dish was so simple and yet so tasty. Coated in a special lime and black pepper crust were juicy and succulent prawns. The slight tartness of the citrus aioli gave this dish plenty of depth. It would act as a perfect snack to enjoy amongst a group of friends and some beverages in the beer garden.
Most places will give you a single slice of a bigger pie, but at The Gully, you get a whole small pie to yourself, which also somehow made it feel larger. The pastry was firm and delicate, and the subtly sweet apple and blueberry compote was also enjoyable, however the pièce de résistance was the crumble on top.
If you’re looking to indulge my friend, this is the treat for you. Just picture treating your taste buds to a warm, soft pudding, soaked in a rich and decadent butterscotch sauce. Ohh and did I mention the creamy rum and raisin ice cream on top? This provided a lovely contrast between the hot and cold. If you venture to The Gully with a full stomach, just go by the rule that dessert always fits around the edges, because it’s worth a taste, at the very least.
To finish the night, we had the Dessert Pizza. This dessert pizza taught me a very valuable lesson. There is nothing more painful in comparison to being at the point of a food coma and having someone place a Nutella covered dessert pizza in front of you. It is truly against my personal beliefs to let such a beautiful sight go untested, so in the spirit of true foodie dedication I managed to scoff down an entire two slices. Most places have their own version of this treat, but I felt this one was particularly good. Served on a light thin crust were all the ingredients you’d expect in a dessert. With toppings such as custard, banana, Nutella, peanut brittle and ice cream, this treat will most definitely give you a sugar high. The custard was also a particularly successful substitute to a normal pizza base sauce.
The Gully encompasses many great elements of what a first-rate South Australian pub should be. Stylish, sleek surroundings, friendly genuine staff, who really care about their business, happy patrons and good food combine to produce a fun, trendy and also civilized location. If you want good honest pub food with a bit of flare and a place, which is good for a mid week meal or a bustling Friday/Saturday night then The Gully has you catered for.
Words by Gemma Easton
WHERE: 1349 North East Rd, Tea Tree Gully