This is the most excited I have been about discussing food for a long time. You know those dinners that linger in your memory for years – that great cuisine combined with a perfect dining experience and you remember every moment… Henry’s Table creates these memories. The menu is quite simply a celebration of multiculturalism. There are no rules or ties to a particular cuisine. The staff represent many of the countries of the world, and consequently this reflects on the plate. Allow me take you on one of the best dining journeys I have ever taken.
First up we choose the Salmon Gravlax cured with KI vodka. I love the tribute to great South Australian produce here in the rosettes of delicate salmon. Shaved beetroot, black barley and endive dance over the salmon, underpinned with delicious goats curd and a sublimely sweet grilled pear.
Despite the attractiveness of the Zucchini Flower with its noticeable crispy shell, I plunge my fork straight into the vibrant watercress risotto and am instantly rewarded with a bite of creamy rice with that is so flavourful and immaculately seasoned. I’d be happy with a plate of this risotto alone, but I happily move onto the flower itself and the heavenly light, yet crisp outer shell. Even more crunch is delivered by a scattering of pepita crumb and crushed macadamias, juxtaposed by a filling of a luscious, velvety pumpkin mousse. One word – Divine.
We finish our trio of entrees with a bowl of Strachiatella cheese topped with strips of grilled zucchini, blistered, heirloom tomatoes, capers and parsley. And finally we have the answer to what Meg Ryan was eating in when Harry met Sally, (OK, it was a Pastrami Sandwich – but it should have been this). There are no words for this luscious, creamy quite frankly orgasmic cheese contrasted with al dente vegetables. I’m completely satisfied and I’m sure I heard the people at the next table exclaim “I’ll have what she’s having”!
The nights are getting cooler yet the Grilled Lamb Loin with a pea, radish and feta salad inspires a spring vibe. The bright green pea tendrils and snow peas pop against the slices of pink lamb and fine radish. The classic combination of pea and lamb is completed with a rosemary glaze. The meat is incredibly tender and melts to the bite without a hint of protest.
The pan-fried Hiramasa Kingfish is served with a green papaya and lychee salad that is so fresh, summery you feel transported to a tropical island. The kingfish boasts a superb crust, topping the flakey fish and a bed of black rice supports the tropical flavours.
The 3 exquisite marylands of Crispy Skin Spatchcock are sticky and sweet. With a heavy emphasis on Koran influence a flavourfull black vinegar cabbage packs loads of punch. Served with a crispy, charred kimchi pancake that is salty and fragrant it’s easy to keep going back for more of this delectable dish.
There are 3 steaks on the menu and we selected the 200g Fillet. We were very glad we did. Watching the café de Paris butter melt down the thick sides of the steak was hypnotic. The superb medallion of eye fillet luxuriates under a disc of salty, garlicy butter. A taste explosion of rich meat, perfect seasoning, herbs and a slightly sticky jus. Rich and tender this is easily one of the best (if not the best) steak I have ever ordered. The simple accompaniment of lemon thyme baby carrots and red wine jus works perfectly to let the steak shine. You can not miss out on this dish.
Time for dessert and after 7 incredible savoury dishes I can’t wait to see what the sweeter side has in store for us. But first, there is some cocktails on the bottom of the dessert menu that have caught my eye. An almost sickly-sweet butter cake Martini of Vodka, Frangelico, butterscotch schnapps mixed with a little cream and vanilla is a sweet tooth’s dream and an After Dinner Mint; a creamy concoction of Crème de Menthe and Crème de Cacao is an alcoholic mint slice.
We start with the rich and then work to the lighter desserts – a smart move. We start with an inch-thick slab of 56% Ecuador Dark Chocolate and Pecan Torte; bitter and not overly sweet (perfect for pairing with the above cocktails). Pecan’s create the same texture as the walnuts in a carrot cake, peeking out of the soft sponge with crunch and pizazz. Range of textures from the buttery silk of the icing, and impeccable crunch of the pecan praline. The sweet potato caramel brings in a umami like a pumpkin pie.
Next up is a Warm Spiced Quince with served with lemon curd, honeycomb and fennel seed ice cream. The ice cream is so velvety and creamy, rich and thick, with an irresistible percussion of liquorish. The ice cream binds together the warm quince flesh and chunks of teeth binding honeycomb. Elements of the unusual and unique twists this quince that I would normally overlook is an outstanding finish to a meal.
For those who feel they have “no room for dessert” – you must order the Sorbet Terrine. A trio of orange, mango and strawberry sorbets are layered in a triangle, each layer is creamy, bold and fruity and importantly not icy. A viscous and sweetly spiced Kangaroo Island Ginger and Orange liquor is poured over the top is the perfect counter to the dehydrated citrus and clean freshness of fresh fruits.
Everything I consider to be essential qualities in a restaurant have been carefully considered and executed. Can I comfortably sit across from my fellow diner and have a conversation with out yelling? Tick. Bonus points: If I dine with a group will I be able to converse with more than just the person next to me? Tick. A comprehensive wine list that is not going to break the bank- Tick. Outstanding service – Tick. High aesthetic appeal – Tick. Menu that is impossible to choose from – Tick. Incredible food- Tick. There is no doubt that Henry’s Table at Ayers House has taken my pole position for fine dining in Adelaide.
So much thanks to the Managing Director, Richard McLeod. We will definitely see you again soon.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 288 North Tce, Adelaide