My first visit to Cliche was over a year ago when it first opened. What made this place different was it’s art gallery which showcased the work of 24 local artists whose work had a French theme. While the menu is still predominantly French, there are a few Vietnamese inspired dishes that have come into the mix. Adelaide Food Central, along with other guests, were invited to sample the re-launch of the Cliche menu. All food was provided free of charge.
The first entree was the Cubique De L’Agneau. This was a pulled lamb shank with sugar snap peas and chervil lamb reduction on a potato puree. Inside the dark, golden brown exterior were compressed chunks of well seasoned lamb. The meat was tender and succulent, and easily fell apart. The potato puree was soft and creamy, and soaked up the beautiful flavours of the lamb reduction.
The next dish, and the first of the Vietnamese inspired dishes, was the Safran Ga. The barramundi fillets were crispy around the edges with a soft and delicate centre. The fish was swimming in a coconut saffron dill sauce. The sauce had a lovely light orange colour and was subtle in flavour.
The last entree was the Porc Me, which was crispy pork belly with caramelised nahm jim with peanut and crispy shallots. The pork was well seasoned and succulent, and the crunchy skin was nice and crisp. The pork was sitting on a salad made from Asian herbs that was fresh and crisp. The nahm jim dressing was a good combination of sweet and spicy, and the whole dish reminded me of a Vietnamese salad with roast pork.
The first of our mains was the Cai Bap Crevette which were prawn cabbage rolls in a tomato coconut bisque. I must say that I’ve never had anything like this. The perfectly cooked minced prawns were wrapped neatly inside cabbage leaves. The sweetness of the tomato in the bisque were well infused into the rolls. It was very Asian and very delicious.
Next up was the Bardot’s Rump, which was 300g of lamb rump sitting on top of a white bean salad, carrot puree, sauteed silverbeet and lamb jus. The lamb was tender and succulent, and the meat was perfectly cooked as it had a lovely pink centre. The outer layer of the meat was crisp and full of flavour. The white beans, the carrot puree and the silverbeet, all added varying textures. All the elements were brought together by the delicious lamb jus.
The Ngon Porc consisted of marinated pork with thyme, garlic, lemongrass, glass noodles, shredded cabbage, Vietnamese mint and dijon mustard sauce. The shredded bits of pork were well seasoned and complimented all the Asian herbs. I could taste the subtle hints of lemongrass which wasn’t too overpowering. While this was delicious, I felt it was another variation of the Vietnamese salad which we already had as an entree.
The dish of the night was the Cheeky Beef. The dish consisted of slow braised beef cheeks with burnt onion aioli, saffron eschalot and crispy kale. The beef cheeks were tender and succulent, and the slow cooked meat simply fell apart. The sauce it was cooked in had a subtle sweetness and it complimented all the other ingredients. My other favourite component of this dish was the crispy kale. It was so incredibly addictive I recommend they package it and sell them as a snack.
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. First up was the Gateau Au Chocolat which consisted of a chocolate mousse layer cake with raspberry jelly and dark chocolate ganache. The other component of the dessert was the berry compote and raspberry sorbet. The layers of mousse were soft and creamy, and encased in a rich decadent chocolate. The sweetness of the raspberry jelly, when combined with the compote and sorbet, reminded me of eating a Cherry Ripe but without the coconut.
The next dessert was the Lemon Curd Souffle. The dessert takes 20 minutes to make and comes to your table piping hot. The souffle was light, delicate and spongy, and a subtle tartness. The centre of the dish was a surprise as it tasted like scrambled eggs.
The final dessert was the Vacherin with passionfruit meringue, raspberry sorbet, salted caramel ice cream and crumble. The thing that made this dessert work were the varying flavours and textures; the firm crunchy meringue, the sweetness of the sorbet, the subtle saltiness of the ice cream, the crunchy texture of the crumble and the soft, delicate fairy floss. Visually appealing and delightfully delicious! It was a fantastic way to end the night.
Like all good restaurants, Cliche has good variety, even more so with the introduction of the Vietnamese dishes. The execution of the dishes is also important and it’s something that Cliche has always done well. Each and every dish we had tonight was simply amazing and it’s no wonder this place is packed every night.
Adelaide Food Central would like thank Cliche for their hospitality. Coming here tonight reminded me of why this place is so special.
WHERE: 26 O’Connell St, North Adelaide