A couple of months ago Adelaide Food Central visited the Playford Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the sophisticated Playford Hotel, and thought it was time we investigated their dinner menu. The Playford Restaurant offers an à la carte style menu complete with entrée, main course and dessert. They also offer a five-course ‘Artisan Food and Wine’ tasting menu and have an extensive beverage list complete with a large selection of wines by the bottle showcasing local, national and international regions, including Italy, France and Spain.
For main course I thought I would be adventurous (given that I don’t generally gravitate toward seafood dishes) and order the Lobster Bisque and Saffron Risotto with blue mussel, crab, king prawn and fennel. I don’t often cook risotto at home and tend to find myself ordering risotto whenever I can. The risotto arrived at the table steaming hot and well-presented with three open mussels generously filled with the risotto mix and one king prawn, head and all, which made for a challenge when it came to eating it. Whilst the rice was perfectly cooked, I found the risotto lacked flavour despite a strong seafood aroma. I was further disappointed when I found a reasonable sized piece of crab shell in my dish, which the waiter didn’t seem too phased about. Not ideal considering the Playford Restaurant is a fine dining establishment. I did, however, like the way the shaved fennel with its aniseed flavour complemented the fresh seafood in the risotto. Perhaps for someone who doesn’t absolutely love seafood this dish was a risk, but if you can’t try new flavours and food as a ‘foodie’ then when can you?
Mr L ordered one of the Chef Specials on the night, the Hay Smoked Duck Breast with carrot, Greek yoghurt curd and saltbush dukkah. The duck breast was firm and had a nice smoky flavour. Mr L thought that the duck meat reminded him of a smoked ham. The sweetness of the carrot purée was balanced by the sourness of the yoghurt curd and was a well-thought about distinction against the roasted whole baby carrots. The dukkah with its nutty flavour afforded a contrast in texture to this tasty and elegantly presented dish.
After much contemplation I decided on the Rhubarb Crème Brûlée with vanilla cream, rhubarb crisp and pear reduction for dessert. From the top the crème brûlée (French for ‘burnt cream’) looked simply like a thin caramelised layer, but on closer inspection there was a hidden compartment to the bowl. A fancy and unique way to present a dessert staple of many restaurants. Now is there anything more satisfying than the moment when you crack though the brittle top of a crème brûlée to expose the delicious custard below… no, I think not! Tap, tap, tap… crack went the spoon and through oozed the concealed custard below. The caramelised top was a picture-perfect golden hue and tasted just like toffee. The custard base was one of the smoothest and creamiest I have ever tasted, almost reminiscent of vanilla ice cream. If you dug a little deeper you found the stewed rhubarb. The tartness of the rhubarb cut thought the richness of the crème brûlée; a perfect balance of flavours. This dessert was faultlessly executed and so delectable that I wanted to lick the plate clean!
On the basis of intrigue Mr L chose the Organic Honey Parfait with raw cacao nib and textures of mandarin and filo pastry. This dessert was also beautifully presented with its pops of colour against the black plate on which it was served. The parfait was delicate and creamy and had a lovely subtle honey flavour. The creaminess was balanced by the natural bitterness of the cacao nibs, along with the sweetness of mandarin. The mandarin segments came in two ways, fresh and dried; the latter reminiscent of a Cheezel consistency. Perfectly executed juxtaposition! The crispy filo pastry circles added yet another textural element to the dish. The Organic Honey Parfait was a fine example of a dish that was equally appealing to the eye and palate, or put simply, art on a plate!
The service at the Playford was prompt and polite, with our glasses of water never running dry. Main meals at the Playford will set you back around $35, which I feel is a touch on the expensive side given the small serving sizes, whilst desserts are well priced at $15. One thing the Playford does well, excellent in fact, is the plating of each of their dishes. All the dishes that were brought to our table were impeccably presented, almost too good to eat. The Playford Restaurant, open nightly from 6-10pm for dinner, is an ideal place if you want to celebrate a special occasion with loved ones, or simply want a touch of opulence in the city.
Words by Kelly Betterman
WHERE: 120 North Tce, Adelaide