Today for lunch, Adelaide Food Central was invited to Insieme Ristorante, located on Flinders Street in the city. Insieme was established in 2009 with their main aim being to present a beautiful and cultural fine dining Italian experience to their customers. In true Italian style, food and drink is something that should be shared with the people around us. This togetherness mentality can be shone through, not only by the restaurant name Insieme (meaning together in Italian), but also the small and homey feel of the restaurant itself. Insieme only uses the best local and seasonal produce to make sure each and every dish is of high quality. Owners, Caroline and Raffaela, introduced us to their beautifully crafted Italian menu and the amazing flavours that came with it.
We started off with the Harvey Bay Scallops – seared with cauliflower puree, crisp pancetta, fennel and truffle oil. Scallops are such beautiful seafood and when cooked well, can establish a sensational dish. The soft scallops paired with the creamy cauliflower puree and smokey pancetta gave out subtle but beautiful flavours. Each and every element worked extremely well together making a perfect start to our lunch.
Next was the Pork Belly – twice cooked, crispy polenta, Tuscan kale chips and dried apple slice. The first bite of the pork belly showcased to me how true it is that at Insieme, fresh and local produce is used. The pork was extremely juicy and paired perfectly with the crunchy kale and soft polenta. I also really enjoyed Insieme’s twist to an apple sauce, as the sweet berry sauce matched perfectly with the succulent pork.
A favourite of ours is crab pasta and this was in the form of Tagliarini Granchio – fine ribbon pasta, blue swimmer crab meat, chilli, basil and rose sauce. At first bite we could tell that the pasta was handmade as you could see and taste the freshness of it. The bright orange rose sauce, even though looked thick and heavy, tasted quite subtle. I really enjoyed how the rose sauce complimented the crab, as sometimes a heavy sauce can be too overpowering. A generous amount of crab was used too, which is a must with such a light meat.
Then onto the Gluten Free Beetroot Gnocchi with peas, goats curd, walnuts in butter. This dish really caught my eye with the bright red and thick gnocchi pieces. I also really enjoyed the light and subtle sauce that was paired with the gnocchi; olive oil with beautiful soft goats cheese, crunchy walnuts and fresh peas. All these subtle flavours merged together complimented the slightly sweet and dense beetroot gnocchi.
This lead onto the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with pancetta and broccolini. This dish is very similar to the beetroot gnocchi as its also very subtle with a light sauce. The salty pancetta flavour paired with the crunchy broccolini and slightly sweet, sweet potato gnocchi complimented each other wonderfully. Once again a very light sauce but worked perfectly with the thick and juicy gnocchi that it was paired with.
To end the mains we had the Carne with chargrilled potato rosti, trussed tomato and red wine sauce. At first glance this was my favourite dish to look at. I really enjoyed how the trussed tomatoes were perched perfectly on top of the neatly placed meat. You could tell once again that the meat was of fantastic quality as it was very juicy and pleasant to eat. I thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness of the tomatoes, which paired well with the gamey meat and crispy potato rosti. The red wine sauce did not overpower the meal and was a perfect accompaniment to the meat.
We continued our food journey with the Salumi Board – selection of cured meats, cheese, Insieme accompaniments and grissini. I absolutely love cheese and meat boards, so as you could guess I was particularly excited to sample this salumi board. The meat included prosciutto, pancetta and sopressa, and used only the finest Italian small goods. I really enjoyed the beautiful Camembert cheese, which was gooey and creamy on the inside and slightly harder on the outside. We would have loved to see some more of this cheese placed on the platter, as it was so delicious and soft The crackers that were used were also of fine quality and crispy, some even had anchovies in them to add some taste. This salumi board was also accompanied by some baby gherkins, olives and some lovely sun dried tomatoes.
Now onto the Radish, Peach and Beetroot Salad with goat’s cheese – In all honesty I wasn’t too fussed about trying this salad, as we were already presented with such good quality dishes. But surprisingly this was the highlight of our lunchtime meal. The beautiful sweet flavours coming from the beetroot and the peach paired with the goat’s cheese was sensational. The fruit and vegetables were so fresh and were seasoned perfectly. This was such a simple dish, but it went very far in our eyes.
How could we leave without trying a beautiful dessert the Lemon and Ricotta Tart with mascarpone, berries and candied lemon. This dessert was as pretty as a picture with beautiful mascarpone and red berries. The lemon tart itself had a subtle ricotta flavour but paired perfectly with the zesty lemon. The base of the tart was crumbly and accompanied the beautiful cheesy filling.
We would love to thank Caroline and Raffaela for inviting us along to sample their beautiful menu. Insieme Ristorante is open from Monday to Tuesday 9am to late afternoon and lunch from 12pm and Wednesday to Friday 9am until late, lunch from 12pm and dinner from 6pm. We highly recommend giving this highly popular dining destination a try.
Words by Tomika Salerno
WHERE: 63 Flinders St, Adelaide