Having visited the Queen’s Head Hotel about 2 months ago, the team at Adelaide Food Central were invited back to try some of the dishes from their new and improved menu. All the food that we tried was provided to us free of charge.
Upon arriving at the venue at around midday, we were informed that most of the restaurant had been booked out, but that we would be able to dine in the bar area of the Hotel. This is a good sign, which shows that the Queen’s Head attracts a decent-sized crowd, despite being tucked away in one of the little lanes of North Adelaide! While the Queen’s Head Hotel was pretty quiet initially, the service eventually picked up and as it got closer to 1pm, the place was packed with people who were celebrating Christmas parties (either with colleagues from work or with family members), which added to the festive vibes of the place.
The first entrée we had were the vine tomatoes with buffalo bocconcini, basil and olive oil. This was a very refreshing appetizer with olive oil that was subtly drizzled over the freshest tomato and basil leaves I’d ever tasted. There was the perfect balance of flavours that complemented each other wonderfully.
Next, we tried the char-grilled quail, tabouli and sumac labneh. Having never tried quail before today, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this dish. The quail itself was just a tad salty, but when combined with the tabouli and labneh, the saltiness balanced out and made for a very lovely dish to be enjoyed either solo or with another person.
After that, we had the Hervey Bay half-shelled scallops, citrus mayonnaise and herb crumbs. Not being a huge fan of seafood, I decided to take on the challenge by trying a dish I would normally not have opted for. And boy, am I glad I did! This was easily my favourite entrée of the lot. The scallops were well seasoned and had a juicy texture to them, which is often difficult to get right. I honestly wish I had ordered another plate – it is definitely a dish I’d recommend to seafood lovers (and those who aren’t into it just yet)!
After enjoying the entrees to our heart’s content, it was time for the mains. The first mains dish we were served was the Chicken Kiev, smoked speck dauphine potato, garden beans, spring onion and beef jus. I like how the chef separated the Kiev into different-sized sections of chicken, as it made it easier to eat this lovely dish. The chicken was cooked to perfection and was tender enough to have easily melted in my mouth. The beef jus was full of flavour and the garden beans were a tasteful addition that added freshness to this dish.
Next, we were served the spaghetti, South Australian prawns, vongole, chilli, confit tomato and crispy herb crumbs. With a tang of spiciness, this dish was another all-rounder. The spaghetti was al dente and the prawns were juicy and succulent. This dish was as delicious as it looked.
Finally, it was time to finish off this beautiful service with some dessert. The first dessert we tried was the Vanilla and Peach Panacotta with pistachio crumbs, char-grilled peaches in prosecco syrup. The pannacotta was a little runny but we felt that was a minor hiccup with all the well executed dishes we had so far. I did like the taste of the char-grilled peaches (which initially sounded like an odd addition to a dessert dish but tasted pretty damn good) and the pistachio crumbs were a nice touch as well.
The next dessert we had was the Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Semi-Freddo with chocolate glaze and hazelnut praline, which was recommended by one of the staff members working at the Queen’s Head. We were initially not sure of this dish, because of its seemingly ordinary appearance. However, we were pleasantly surprised because it was rich, decadent and delicious. The scrumptious combination of chocolate and hazelnut praline definitely gives this dish a “foodporn”-worthy hashtag.
Overall, this was a great dining experience at the Queen’s Head Hotel, where the dishes delivered – not only in terms of appearance, but also in terms of taste and quality. Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Chef Ben Smith and all the staff at The Queen’s Head Hotel for the fantastic lunch service that we had today. It was the perfect spot to spend a hot day in Adelaide indoors with exceptional service and mouth-watering dishes that left our bellies happy and satisfied.
Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
WHERE: 117 Kermode St, North Adelaide