Housed in the former Cocolat premises on Rundle Street, Petrichor is a Mediterranean inspired eatery.
Meaning “the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods” in Greek mythology, the Gods watch over the diners at Petrichor from a Hellenic mural. Incorporated in Petrichor is a separate bar called Epicure, with its own tapas and cocktail menu. Perfect for a before or after dinner cocktail looking over Vardon Avenue.
The Kataifi Wrapped Spencer Gulf Prawns are plump and juicy, under their crunchy blanket of shredded pastry. The beans are earthy but a piquant salsa of red onion and tomato cuts through nicely. But it is the citrus mayonnaise that is the highlight of the plate and I am so glad there is so much of it because I hate having to ration a condiment. Eggy and rich, the mayonnaise possesses a lemony zing that goes so well with both the prawns and the beans.
A drizzle of sweet honey complements the earthy Smoked Cauliflower. The cauliflower is smoked to the point that when eating it you immediately feel you are sitting in front of a bonfire. Black sesame, vinegar and that pumpkin hummus cut through some of the smokiness. It’s a warm, comforting starter that is best eaten shared.
We couldn’t decide if the Lobster Bisque is called I Snap You because of the snapchattable presentation or a play on the snapping of a lobster claw – we decided on both. The brown hued, creamy soup is served in a glass with a tempura SA lobster tail perched on a raft of toast. Straight away I jumped on the crispy lobster tail, its delicate meat tastes delicious under the light fried batter. The rich and creamy bisque has a lovely caramelized lobster flavor in its well-balanced, sweet yet earthy thick broth.
The Fantastic Squid has various shapes and cuts of squid, fried in a crunchy batter and then tossed through some spring onions and chilli in a seemingly eastern twist. Drawing back to the Mediterranean inspiration the same citrus mayonnaise as the kataifi prawns is provided here. The squid is tender, the batter light and delicate resulting a well-balanced and delicious dish.
Moving on to mains the selection is small but still cause for a difficult decision. A Maryland of Crispy Duck is served with impeccable dark gold skin. A quenelle of buttery mash and a layer of sautéed spinach with golden garlic pieces taken just to the point before becoming bitter maximizing their delicious impact. Finished with a metaxa wine and cherry glaze that is sweet and sticky, perfectly complementing the duck.
The delightfully named Pigs Love Apples is up next. Well, I love Pigs and Apples so I should be happy here. The twice cooked pork belly is crispy and sweet, amplified by a pig jus that has its own sugary nuances. A garlicky sweet potato skordalia is smoother than Barry White and ever so tasty. The pork belly has 2 distinct layers that are quite opposite in texture. A luscious top layer that is crispy but oozes delicious fat and the bottom layer has a jerky quality that is fun to gnaw at.
We simply couldn’t not try the chef’s signature dish Lamb Shoulder – designed to be shared. The lamb has been slow roasted for 6 hours giving it a bold and rich flavour that is complemented by the accompanying an apple and mint jelly and sumac cucumber salad. A house made tzatziki is also provided, and I love the slight burn from raw garlic, that plays off the creamy yoghurt. Of course some kind of accompanying potato is required, and we get a bowl full of duck fat potato cubes that are super soft on the inside and have many dark, crispy layers on the outside. I find a lot of roast potatoes are anemic and lack crunch – there is no danger of that here. A nomination for Adelaide’s best roast potatoes and a dish that could be easily shared by four.
Influenced by French, Greek, Italian and Spanish cuisine, Petrichor’s kitchen does their best to serve fresh South Australian produce. Servings are generous and good value for money. The menu has some unexpected twists and turns but bold flavours and well-balanced sauces and dressings are consistent.
Petrichor is located on Rundle Street and open for lunch and dinner 7 days.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 281 Rundle St, Adelaide