Adelaide Food Central were honoured to be once again invited to East of Norman to try the innovative new items on the Summer Lunch til’ Late menu. Located on a relaxed Sturt Street in the city, it was the perfect spot to escape the sweltering heat, with convenient parking as well as a chilled atmosphere and décor.
These guys are passionate about their eclectic menu and its progression – from their exciting flavour combinations, balances, and textures, to good produce and dietary requirements. It’s simple food and good ingredients with a kick, and there was an absolute feast ahead of us so we couldn’t wait to dig in!
First we tried the Drunken Crab Pasta; house made saffron fettuccini, Spanish onion, chilli, tomato & blue swimmer crab flamed in vodka with grana padano. Off the top it was easy to tell this pasta was homemade, it had the distinct crinkles throughout that you can only get from homemade fettuccini, and it was cooked perfectly al dente. The ‘sauce’ was not really a sauce at all, it was very clean which kept it quite light and allowed the swimmer crab to stay center of the dish, which was also perfectly paired with the occasional sweet burst of cherry tomatoes.
Next up was the first of three whole pizzas! We were truly spoilt. On first glance the bases were wonderfully thin, just as we like, and the toppings and colours were deliciously intriguing. The first was the Mushroom, and mushroom is one of my absolute favourites. Starring alongside in toppings was locally made woodside chevre, and a base of pesto herb oil. The cheese was salty and smooth and went so well with the subtlety of the mushroom, and the sliced spring onions on top were a great addition to aftertaste.
Then we had the Potato pizza, which included black garlic, bocconcini, the same pleasant pesto herb oil, and fresh parmesan. My dear Nonna makes a pretty mean potato pizza, but dare I say the guys at East of Norman are rivalling with this one. The addition of the melted bocconcini makes it a winner, and the potato had an excellent bite to it still, definitely not under cooked, but just perfectly done to add some texture to what is a wonderfully understated combination.
The last pizza for the taking was the most fascinating of all! Boasting a BBQ sauce base, with Lemon Pepper Chicken, broccolini and kale pesto on top. The chicken was tender while the broccoli provided a splendid crunch, and after a bite or two the pepperiness of the lemon chicken really hit quite pleasantly. The BBQ sauce base added a tangy hint, and overall it was just an excellent and unexpected combination, one we would definitely order again.
Last was the packed and stacked EoN House Salad; with herbed mesculin greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Spanish onion, artichoke hearts, olives, cucumber, sun-dried tomato, sunflower seeds, with grilled haloumi and a lemon dijonaise. There’s a choice of Chargrilled Lamb Rump, Lemon Pepper Chicken or a Lentil Patty, catering to meat lovers and vegetarians alike. We were lucky to try it with the lamb rump and we were not disappointed! On first glance I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the lamb, as on a standard I really enjoy my protein rare… but do not be fooled! This lamb rump was so unbelievably tender that it literally melted in the mouth; it was phenomenal. All the ingredients of the salad went great together, like the sweetness of the tomato and the saltiness of the olives, with the crunch of the sunflower seeds, and it goes on… this dish is good (and colourful) proof that salad definitely doesn’t have to be basic.
Much to our delight, our tasting did not stop there! We were surprised with the addition of three mind-blowing desserts. First was the EoN Ice Cream Sandwich, and get ready for it. With a Jack Daniel’s and Coke spongecake, wild cherry ice cream and chocolate ganache, this dessert was exciting just to look at. The sandwich held together so immaculately, even with the tinge of the heat, even under the eager pressure of our dessert spoons, it was perfect. The sponge was amazing, an excellent crumb, moist but not too dense, while the ice cream was creamy with the bursts of cherry throughout. Individually or in one bite, every part was truly awesome.
Next was the Genois Sponge Kiss – and let me just note, the scent of this hit me before anything else. Claimed as EoN’s take on strawberry shortcake, it smelt of sweets and sugar and what I’d imagine the colour pink would smell like if it actually had a smell. That’s how marvelous. To top it off, it’s gluten free! Yes, I could hardly believe it. The sponge was so airy and light, and the spots that had been soaked through by the macerated strawberries (which soak for 3 days!) were out of this world. The strawberries, the marscapone, even the addition of mint, it was all deliciously enchanting.
Last but certainly not least would have to be the most controversial, mind-blowing combo of them all; the Aztec Chocolate Pot “De” Crème, with a mild cayenne infused, bittersweet chocolate, with chargrilled mango and preserved kumquat. Initially you think it’s just a beautifully presented, refined, chocolate pot, sure, but give it a second or two and w-o-w. The cayenne pepper hit is entirely unexpected and actually spicy! And not in any way I’ve ever experienced chilli/chocolate before. It’s the only dessert I’ve ever had that would make you question if it’s actually a dessert, and in the most captivating way. The experience of the dish is a lesson in itself. For example, did you know that grilling mango makes it unpredictably savoury? Or that your mouth could burn after eating chocolate? For those of you who aren’t lovers of the super sweet dessert and/or just love to support the imaginative, this is worth a try.
It’s definitely hats off to the inspired and daring combos and fusions that East of Norman continues to create with their menu. It’s clear they have a passion for the inventive, and here in Adelaide, I’d say we’re lucky to be able to experience it from such a gem of a spot.
Words by Marie Fiorita
WHERE: 44-48 Sturt St, Adelaide