Iconic North Adelaide pub The Archer has always been a favourite of mine. Whether it be for a long dinner on the tree surrounded balcony, drinks and dancing on the first floor or casual catch-ups at the downstairs bar. Now they have introduced a $15 Lunch Menu available from Monday to Friday, a deal I can’t go past. The menu takes inspiration from all over the globe and constantly had me wondering “how is this only $15?”
I’ll start things off with the filling and delicious Veal Meatball Sub. 3 moist, tasty meat balls smothered in an Italian tomato sauce are served in a soft, toasted hot dog bun. Finished with a Russian style dressing, crispy shallots, and most importantly oozy melted cheese, this sub is comfort food at its best. It is served with a side of beer battered thick cut chips that are very crunchy, perfectly salted and utterly delicious.
For something a little more traditional the Cheeseburger is sure to please. A thick beef patty is cooked right through achieving a nice crust on the outside. We opted for the addition of bacon (surcharge of $2.50) which came served dark and crispy. A generous amount of sliced pickles, melted cheese and mayo tied everything together. Served with a helping of chips this is a satisfying version of the American classic.
Check out the serving size on the Tijuana Chicken Skewer. Two soft tortilla wraps are loaded with corn, coriander, lettuce, grilled capsicum and then topped with a long skewer of juicy grilled chicken thigh. There is just the right amount of chilli mayo to bring it all together and a squeeze of fresh lime adds a vibrant citrusy kick. Maybe it’s because it channels the hot summer days I’m missing so much but if I had to pick a favourite dish of the day, this would be it.
I’ve told you several times that wings are one of my favourite foods ever and it’s pretty safe to say that I know wings. So seeing 1kg Buffalo Wings on the menu had me pretty excited. As wings should be these wings are generously covered with tangy buffalo sauce. They are the type of wings that make a mess, that need multiple napkins and result in sticky fingers and a sauce covered face. Underneath is a crispy fried layer of skin and juicy, sweet wing meat that is easy to tug away from the bone. I was pleased to see the wings are served with the requisite celery sticks and blue cheese sauce. If I wasn’t pleased enough with the wings the blue cheese sauce sealed the deal. Strong, pungent and sharp this is real ‘blue cheese sauce’ not just dressing with a hint of blue. Heaven.
You’d be hard pressed to find a pub menu without a take on fish and chips. As soon as the Barra & Chips was placed in front of me I knew this dish was something special. The smell of fresh dill and lemon filled the air, the fish beautifully presented alongside those wonderful chips. The soft fish is encased in a crispy, airy batter that is crunchy and picks up the thick creamy tartare sauce rather than dissolving in it. The tartare is magnificent, packed with dill and lemon the flavour is so refreshing and vibrant, my only complaint is that I wanted more of it. This is a fish and chip dish a top seafood restaurant would be proud to serve.
For those after a lighter meal a great option is the Dumplings in Vietnamese Broth. Far from light in flavour, the dark broth has a rich beef flavour accented by star anise and five spice. The clarity of the soup proves the quality and lack of fat and grease. A handful of been shoots and coriander complement the chicken dumplings that add substance to this decidedly non-traditional pub dish. For me it was lacking in chilli but I made up for this with the side sauces.
I usually avoid ordering any form of pasta at a pub. Such meals are generally left best to a café or Italian restaurant. Creamy pastas tend to drown in sauce where as a tomato base fails in flavour by the use of either too much salt or sugar. The Archer defies this theory and proved me well and truly wrong with their new Gnocchi dish. The gnocchi is soft and pillowy but it’s the sauce that won me over. A simple tomato sauce, bursting with freshness, made on site is topped with lashings of buffalo mozzarella that melts and oozes its way through the sauce.
Finally we have a unique addition to the menu; Salt & Pepper Haloumi with Vietnamese Salad. We’re familiar with salt & pepper squid, crab and eggplant but salt and pepper haloumi is something I’ve never seen before. It sounds great, and I can confirm it works deliciously well. Triangles of haloumi with the familiar coating are warm and squishy. Accompanied by a fresh Asian salad of carrot, red onion, sprouts and cucumber with a mild Asian inspired dressing it reduces the guilt of eating fried cheese. Tied together with a sweet chilli drizzle over the haloumi triangles this fusion salad was innovating and exciting.
The Archer’s $15 lunch menu also includes a Butter Chicken, a Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Salad and a Vegan Super Salad. It a well-rounded menu that will satisfy any mood, craving or dietary needs. As I worked my way through the menu my expectations were continually exceeded. This is indeed a menu full of quality, delicious meals that are exceptional value for money. The $15 lunch menu is available from Monday to Friday.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 60 O’Connell St, North Adelaide