Hut and Soul Eatery prides itself on offering an inexpensive peek into the magic of South East Asian cuisine. Formally known as Pondok Bali which opened in 1998, this restaurant located on the very end of Pulteney street used to be surrounded by bright blue walls and busy art work and was the first Indonesian restaurant in Adelaide. In 2016, with a new business partner, it has now transformed into Hut and Soul Eatery, with much simpler décor, cheaper menu items and a fusion of Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine.
The menu consists of small bites, big bites, accompaniments, dessert creations and ‘iScream’. The vast and delicious sounding menu items made it almost impossible to decide what to eat first, so naturally we ordered just about everything. There is also the option for a banquet at $30 per person with a variety of food to go around. Every main on the menu is under $20 so you’re definitely getting a great meal for less at Hut and Soul. From walking into the restaurant you are greeted by the very friendly staff who are willing to wait on your every need. You are never without a drink and clean cutlery – the service is amazing.
The first dish we tried was a dish which is on special at the moment – Avocado Chips. These are slices of avocado, lightly coated in tempura crumbs and fried and served with a lime aioli. When we ordered this dish I was expecting mushy avocado with a few crumbs on the outside but I was pleasantly surprised! The avocado itself was not mushy and instead was quite firm and had the perfect texture. The outside was very crispy but not oily at all and paired with the lime aioli it was very delicious. I have never tried anything like this and I really enjoyed it.
The next small bite was Fish with Chilli Salsa. This was lightly battered barramundi fish fillet with a fresh chilli lime salsa. The fish was cooked perfectly as it was light and fluffy on the inside and the coating with nice and crisp. It was topped with what tasted like a lot of raw onion and tomato, which was very strong but paired with the fish it made it very fresh tasting and slightly tangy. I enjoyed this dish but the onion was very strong and a little overpowering.
Murtabak is a traditional stuffed pancake or pan fried bread which can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Hut and Soul describe it as a delicate flaky pastry filled with a spicy beef, egg and onion filling and served with curry sauce and pickles. This was very delicious and flavorsome. The beef filling was packed with so much flavour of spices and it was amazing paired with the delicious curry sauce.
The Malay Puff Dumpling is a homemade crispy puff filled with curry spiced potato, onion and egg. It is basically a curry puff that is full of flavor. The filling is perfectly seasoned and full of mild spices and encased in a crisp pastry. It was heaven. It was served with a sticky sweet chilli sauce which was the perfect accompaniment. I could have eaten 10 of these puffs of delight.
The final of our ‘small bites’ dishes was the Roti Canai, otherwise known as a Malaysian Flying bread. This is Malaysia’s national bread and is flaky and fluffy and best dipped in curry sauce. The bread was so crisp and delicious and would have been great dipped in a main curry dish.
And then came the big bites, which all are very generous servings for a small price. We had the Gulai Chicken which is in a rich, spicy and succulent aromatic curry sauce. The menu states that it delivers a special oomph, and it sure does! From speaking with the owner, he says most of his dishes are served mild so you can taste every flavor. This Chicken Gulai has the perfect amount of spice. Enough to be spicy, but not too much to blow your head off and take away any tastes of the other flavours in the dish. The chicken was tender and it was overall very tasty.
I love Duck, so when I saw a duck dish on the menu I had to try it. This ‘Dirty Duck’ is a half duck which is twice cooked season duck which is steamed and deep fried. This results in tender duck meat with crisp skin. It is covered in a delicious curry sauce and every mouthful is tasty and flavorsome. The skin was crisp and the meat was very tender and it made me very happy indeed.
The Adelaide Food Central team had eaten Beef Rendang at the previous restaurant Pandok and found a few faults in the dish. However the Hut and Soul’s rendition of this famous dry curry was faultless. Filled with a hot of spices and aromatics and served with toasted grated coconut, it was simply delicious. The meat with tender and there was enough sauce to cover the meat so it didn’t go dry. It was the perfect curry and again with the right amount of spice.
Our final main dish was definitely one to remember. The Flaming Pork is served wrapped in foil and lit on fire. Other customers were looking on and wondering what could be inside this spectacle. Inside was a lightly battered marinated pork fillet which was tossed in a special sweet tangy sauce, so essentially a sweet and sour pork. The aromas from this dish are sublime and travel across the restaurant. The pork itself was tender and delicious and with the right amount of sweet and sour flavor.
By the time dessert came around we were already struggling, but could not say no to the dessert creations on offer. We first had a Mango Coconut Pudding. This was served with mango chunks, roasted coconut slices, passionfruit and evaporative milk. This dish is so pretty as the evaporative milk is coloured pink and looks beautiful alongside the coconut pudding. The pudding itself is silky smooth and resembles a Pana Cotta, but with Asian flavours. It was simply delicious and the mango pieces throughout the pudding gave the perfect touch. Accompanied with the pink evaporative milk, it was the perfect dessert.
Next we had the Green Pandan Crepe which is filled with moist grated coconut flesh and infused in palm sugar and served with vanilla ice cream. The crepe itself is delicious and moist and filled with the coconut it was delicious and sweet. It did need the ice cream however, or else it may have been too sweet but with the ice cream it was perfect. It may have benefitted from a coconut cream to accompany it instead to coat the crepe itself, but it was great nonetheless.
We then had the Dark Sticky Rice which was served with coconut cream and jackfruit. After having the previous two, very sweet dishes this dessert was definitely not as sweet. It may have been better to have this dessert first and to work our way up to the sweeter dishes. It was very delicious though, and I loved the accompanied coconut cream and jackfruit to give it the slight sweetness it needed. The black sticky rice itself was the right consistency and very enjoyable.
Finally we had the Peanut Butter Disaster. This was salted peanut butter and chocolate ‘iScream’, served with peanut brittle. The menu states that ‘Once you start you can’t stop’, and it’s true! This ice cream is so delicious it is very hard to stop instead. It had the perfect peanut butter flavor and it was such a great ending to an amazing meal, no matter how full we were.
Hut and Soul eatery, definitely delivers food with Heart and Soul. I have never been to Indonesia so I do not have a lot to compare to, but this restaurant has given me a wonderful look into their cuisine. Every dish was full of flavor and spices and left you wanting more. Hut and Soul will be opening for lunch starting on April 7th, with many affordable lunch time specials to be expected. I would definitely come back to this restaurant to have a delicious curry and that mango coconut pudding again, and possibly try everything else on the menu. It is a real gem and a definite must try in Adelaide!
Words by Angela Scarfo from All About That Food
WHERE: 310 Pulteney St, Adelaide