A long, long time ago the World’s End catered to the thirst of the West End Uni students. It has since been replaced by the West Oak Hotel which has made itself comfortable to the West End residents and students. The menu is small but appealing. The typical pub grub is represented with a separate section with an emphasis on a Wood Fire Grill.
Our server recommended the Arancini – so we had no hesitation in ordering them. The 3 billiard ball sized orbs are fried to a dark brown and have a thick crust. Instead of a tiny pot of sauce or a measured squirt of sauce balanced on top, these arancinis are placed on an oval plate that is literally slathered in a salmon hued paprika mayonnaise. A surprise of molten cheese is hidden inside the rice ball mixed with strands of braised beef cheek.
I’m pretty obsessed with Burrata these days, so when I saw this on the menu there was no option but to order it. Fennel also happens to be one of my favourite ingredients so a should be a match made in heaven. The fennel is fresh, crunchy and tangy the anise flavours complement the creamy burrata perfectly. Finished with a few wafers of perfect pear this was a very tasty, rather unexpected pub entree.
It was a cold night and I’d had a pretty tiring day at work – Parmi’s tend to be the panacea for that. A rather thick, unprocessed breast is topped with cheese and a homestyle tomato sugo that is dark, slightly sweet and chunky. Fennel slaw is garlicky, fresh and so much better than the underwhelming garden salads with a watery dressing that generally adorn a Parmi. I loved the inclusion of garlic aioli added to the side of the plate for chip dipping, unusual but very, very welcome and this should become the new standard.
The other pub classic we chose is the WOAK Beef Burger – I’m sorry I can’t write about it because my fingers are covered in seeded mustard, pickles, and burger juice………OK risking the life of my keyboard, I’m so happy with this Whopper-esque burger, it has a good bun, patty, salad, sauce ratio and the barbeque aioli is smoky, earthy and delicious. There’s loads of pickles, swiss cheese and a grainy mustard, what more could you ask for? Oh, of course – good chips! There here too – think KFC thickness but crispier, golden and well salted.
The Wood Fire Gill has 4 options; Chicken, Steak, Fish and Vegetarian, covering all bases.
First up we try the Red Snapper, a real winter style fish dish with a home style white bean, artichoke and tarragon stew that is comforting and hearty. Roasted heirloom tomato adds freshness and crispy pancetta for crunch. The generous portion of fish is delicate and very tasty.
For a price point of $26 the centimeter-thick Black Angus Scotch Fillet is good value and is cooked slightly pink. Having been cooked on a wood grill there is the expected smoky quality but what sets this steak apart is a magnificent roasted tomato butter than has permeated the steak, making it exceedingly moist and buttery. Topped with some charred broccolini and a chilli pepita mix, I would happily eat this steak on a weekly basis.
Our final smoky indulgence was the Barossa Free Range Chicken Breast. Flattened breasts of juicy chicken are flavoured with green harissa and topped with loads of fresh coriander. Served with aromatic black rice that is cooked very al dente and a tangy cucumber yoghurt. A fresh, healthy and delicious pub grub alternative.
While the menu at the West Oak Hotel is small, every dish is well balanced and executed. The West Oak kitchen is a hidden gem in Hindley Street and is turning out some of the best pub classics and fresh mains around.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 208 Hindley St, Adelaide