Located at the former site of Chesser Cellar is one of Adelaide’s most ambitious restaurant and bar projects, The Henry Austin. Named after the building, it is set over three magnificent levels with several bars, a bottle shop, private function rooms and plenty of dining space. At The Henry Austin, the food comes in the form of Yum Cha, not so much in terms of Chinese food, but in the way the waiters roam the floors with small plates. There is no set menu at The Henry Austin as the offerings change daily. Adelaide Food Central was invited to sample some of the delicious small dishes with all food and drink being provided free of charge.
Nicely presented on a bed of pebbles was the Oysters with Yuzu Sauce. The oysters were smooth and silky in texture with a subtle saltiness that was balanced by the tart yuzu sauce.
Next was the Kobia with red potato, wild rye berry and cultured cream. The kobia was soft and delicate in texture, as was the red potato which looked like sausage. The wild rye berry had an appearance similar to pomegranate but less sweet.
The next cold dish was the Beef Tartare with puffed wild rice and fried saltbush. The beef had a smooth and silky texture which was balanced by the crispness of the wild rice and saltbush. An interesting combination of ingredients that was delicious to eat.
Beautifully presented was the Tuna Ceviche with avocado cream and brush cherry. Once again the theme with raw ingredients continues with the delicate morsels of well seasoned tuna. This was well complemented by the smooth avocado cream droplets. The brush cherry was firm and added nice colour to the dish.
The first of the hot dishes was the Hangar Steak with artichoke cream, pickled lettuce, slippery jack mushroom and green sauce. The steak was sliced thinly and was juicy and succulent. The meat was pinkish in the centre which is just the way we like it. The mushroom was indeed slippery with an almost gooey texture, while the pickled lettuce added contrast to the dish with its sourness.
The Kangaroo Tail with native currant and beach greens was something to be admired with its presentation. The meat was compressed and simply fell apart. I found both the kangaroo and the beach greens to be slightly on the salty side, however, my dining partner loved it, so it comes down to personal preference.
Brussel Sprouts on their own are usually quite bitter. These brussel sprouts were firm and well cooked with slight notes of bitterness. It was cleverly masked with the smooth, creamy blue cheese and the nuttiness of the linseed.
One of my favourites was the Pine Mushrooms with raisin gel, wild garlic and beef jus. The thick chunks of mushrooms slices were a real highlight and you could taste their natural flavours. The sweetness of the gel was balanced by the garlic, with the flavoursome beef jus bringing everything together.
The Yum Cha dishes were a selection of well presented and original modern Australian offerings that focus on fresh local produce. Like the Chinese Yum Cha, a lot of small plates adds up to a full stomach. We were also impressed with the attentive service, with owners and waiters, Max Mason and Tess Footner, making sure everyone was looked after. The food is original and creative, and we look forward to many returns in the future.
WHERE: 29-31 Chesser St, Adelaide