In recent times, The Saracens Head Hotel has undergone major renovations which is in line with many trendy pubs across the state. As part of the revamp, they’ve also changed their menu and they’ve done that by poaching talented Chef, Ben Smith, who was head chef at The Queens Head Hotel, The Bath Hotel and Base Bar. Ben brings a wealth of experience to the Saracens Head kitchen and is known for his simple dishes that utilise fresh, local ingredients. Adelaide Food Central, along with other guests, were invited to sample some of the new offerings at the Saracens Head. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
We began our meal with the Kingfish Crudo – thin slices of fresh kingfish mixed with coconut, coriander, chilli and lime. The silky smooth texture of the fish simply melted in your mouth, while the inclusion of fresh Asian herbs created a light and refreshing dish.
The Beef Tartare, a dish commonly found in fine dining restaurants, makes an appearance on the modern Australian pub menu. The mince is perfectly seasoned with an array of fresh herbs. The silky smooth texture of the dish is further complemented by the gooey egg yolk.
Mushroom Arancini is such a popular menu item, it can be found at most pubs and Italian restaurants. This version is particularly good with its golden brown coating and soft, delicate filling. The morsels of well seasoned risotto are held together by generous amounts of gooey cheese. The garlic mayonnaise adds a bit of tang which rounds the dish off well.
When it comes to fashionable food items, pork neck is the next menu item to make a regular appearance at restaurants. The Saracens kitchen team are trend setters and have come up with the BBQ Pork Neck. The neck is thinly sliced and charred on both sides. It is served with a salad which is very similar to a Vietnamese salad with the exception of apple, which adds a nice sweet component to the dish.
A pub wouldn’t be a pub if they didn’t have pizza. The first one out of the kitchen was the SA Prawn with chilli, lemon, truffle and rocket. The prawns were juicy and succulent, and the heat from the fresh chilli added much excitement. The pizza base was thin and crunchy, which means it’s possible to eat a whole one by yourself.
The next pizza was the Barossa Meats. While most meat lovers pizzas tend to taste the same, this one was made with quality ingredients. Shredded pieces of chicken and slices of chorizo and salami, all come together to create a meat lovers delight.
If there was ever a simple and great tasting Gnocchi dish, this was it. The gnocchi was soft and chewy, and each morsel was covered in a rich tomato sauce. The leaves of fresh basil add depth creating a classic, rustic dish.
On our journey of international flavours, we move to the Braised Beef Short Rib Massaman Curry. The slow cooked beef was tender and succulent with the meat simply falling apart. The curry sauce had a lovely thick consistency and the flavours were just right. The dish was topped with a generous amount of fresh herbs which balances out the heaviness.
The Rib Eye steak is the biggest I’ve seen and is only available on Friday nights. The problem with steaks of this size is that they can be inconsistently cooked. Not so in this case. The meat was nicely charred on the outside while the centre had a lovely pinkish hue. The steak went perfectly with the crunchy XO green long beans.
The surprise dish of the night was the Chilli Crab. Blue swimmer crabs are the best in my opinion because of their natural sweetness. These crabs were indeed fresh as their shells were still full of meat. The crabs were covered in a delicious Asian style dressing that was finger licking good.
No meal is complete without dessert. To fill that extra stomach, we started with the Vanilla Panna Cotta. The panna cotta was thick and creamy with the right amount of wobble. The custard was complemented by the natural sweetness of the summer berries. The pistachio crumbs added the required crunchy element to the dessert.
Last but not least was the Brownie. It had a firm and chewy exterior while the inside was soft and moist. The sweetness of the dish was further heightened by the salted caramel ice cream and decadent hazelnut sauce.
The food was impressive. After sampling 12 courses, we were all ready to roll out of there. The overhaul of the menu by Chef Ben Smith has brought new life into the Saracens Head kitchen, and with it, new customers. Adelaide Food Central would like to thank all the staff at Saracens Head for their delicious food and kind hospitality.
WHERE: 82 Carrington St, Adelaide