I usually make an effort to visit every participating Festival of Food establishment each year, but it’s nearly two years since my last visit to the River Cafe. With the introduction of the smartphone application, we’ve been given a lot more time to visit each restaurant, as compared to the leaflet which had to be used over a short period of time. I’ve already reviewed this place in the past, so I’m just going to get straight into the food.
The Entree Platter (from top to bottom) consisted of Lamb Arrosticini with Fregola Salad, Salt Cod Arancini with Citrus and Dill Aioli, Celeriac Porcini and Leek Soup with Crostini.
The Celeriac, Porcini and Leek Soup with Crostini was thick and hearty. The taste very similar to a French onion soup and the toasted bread added a nice crunchy texture.
The Lamb Arrosticini is traditional to the Italian region of Abruzzo and is typically made from castrated sheep’s meat. The lamb was tender but a little on the bland side. The rocket was fresh and crisp, and the red onion added a touch of sweetness, but it really didn’t compliment the meat at all. We both thought the lamb needed a sauce.
The best dish on the Entree Platter was the Salted Cod Arancini with Citrus and Dill Aioli. The arancini was lightly browned and the risotto with cod was moist and full of flavour. The aioli did well to further compliment this well executed dish.
Coincidentally, I ordered the Crab Linguini during my last visit but tonight’s version tasted a lot better. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the cream rose sauce was well balanced this time. I could see plenty of blue swimmer crab meat, but again it was missing the natural sweetness. No crab shells in my pasta this time around.
My friend had the Brasato which is a slow braised tender ridge beef cheek with baked semolina, puy lentils, beetroot and black pepper glaze. While I didn’t get to try this dish, I was told there was very little to fault.
Even the side of Roast Potatoes was well executed, although surprisingly some places don’t get this right. Nice and crisp on the outside, and soft and fluffy in the centre. Seasoned with chilli and rosemary, and then dipped in a garlic aioli, this side would have went well with anything on the menu.
The Petit Fours was the Chocolate Dipped Espresso Marshmallow Biscotti. We both expected the biscotti to have a crunchy texture but instead it was soft and tasted like shortbread. It was enjoyable though.
For dessert, I had the Tiramisu which tasted as good as it looked. The Tia Maria sponge cake was soft and moist, and the Frangelico flavour was prominent.
My friend had the Passionfruit Semifreddo which was served with lemon curd, strawberries, amaretti biscuit and basil granita. Presentation was stunning and taste was just as good.
When you enter a restaurant with a large camera and you’re taking photos of food, it kind of becomes obvious that you’re a Food Blogger or writing for a magazine. Just out of courtesy, I did let the waiter looking after our table know that I was a Food Blogger. To our surprise, we heard the same waiter shout to someone in the kitchen that I could be “just a shitty food blogger”. Note there were three other groups in the restaurant, none of them with cameras.
The food was a lot better than my previous visit, and with the exception of some of the dishes in the Entree Tasting Plate, it was hard to fault. The table service was also very good but it was a shame the whole experience was let down by a behind the scenes incident.
WHERE: War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide