Festival of Food 2019 – River Cafe

Set in one of Adelaide’s most picturesque city locations, the River Café, hangs over the river Torrens, offering diners spectacular water views to accompany their fine dining experience.

The River Café is taking part in this year’s Festival of Food, offering guests a modern menu, inspired by Italian cuisine.

The chefs have a passion to use organic and free-range produce when possible, and make sure that all ingredients are fresh, to ensure the customer is getting the best meals possible.

To begin, we were made some mocktails: a Cucumber Gimlet that was sweet and refreshing, with a subtle cucumber flavour; and a Blueberry Smash, which was served with aromatic rosemary and soda water and had a subtle berry tang.

The Bread to start was a delicious wood oven ciabatta, served with an extra virgin olive oil and balsamic dip. The Italian white bread was beautiful and warm, with a lovely crunchy crust and a soft buttery centre. The thick cut bread paired perfectly with the olive oil and balsamic dip that gave off a fragrant tang.

The Entrée Tasting Plate smelt lovely and looked beautiful and we couldn’t wait to try.

The Citrus Cured Salmon was served with a squid ink wafer, yoghurt, fennel and a burnt orange dressing. The salmon was light and fresh, its meatier flavour balancing with the tang of the burnt orange dressing and the subtle liquorish flavour of the fennel. The burnt orange dressing gave a lovely citrus tang, that wasn’t too overpowering, giving a juicy tang to balance the soft fish and the squid ink wafer. The wafer gave balancing crunchy textures and complimented the sweeter tang of the dressing as well as the softer salmon.

The battered Zucchini Flower was stuffed with ricotta and served with beetroot relish and pea dust. The sweet, earthy flavours from the beetroot relish balanced with the soft zucchini flower that held earthy and slightly bitter notes. The flower balanced well with the creamy ricotta centre and its thin, savoury batter coating. Overall the Zucchini was a very fresh a delicious dish.

The Spiced Italian lamb Sausage was served with a chilli tomato jam and fried sage. The chilli jam gave a perfect flavour balance with the richer savoury lamb meat, giving off a strong heat but also slightly sweet tang. The smooth jam also paired with the lovely crunch of the sage, lifting the rich flavours of the dense sausage. The lamb gave a lovely meaty flavour that balanced with the light herbs in the mince. The small dish was packed full of balancing flavours of sweet, savoury and spice. A delicious dish.

The Pan Roasted Huon Salmon was served with freekah salad, beets and herb mascarpone. The salmon was cooked well, lovely and tender and was the star of the dish with its strong flavour. The light and fresh cool quinnoa and sweeter earthy notes from the beetroot in the salad helped to balance the richer salmon flavour, that had a lovely crisp crunch and salty skin. A Lovely fresh flavour from the herb mascarpone lifted the meat and balanced the saltier flavours, as well as the sweeter notes of the salad.

The Slow Cooked Duck Leg was served with pumpkin puree, broccolini, braised lentils, Tuscan kale, agrodolce and grappa jus. The crisp kale was amazing and I would be happy just to be sent home with a packet of that. It gave off lovely soft smoky tang with and a lovely crunch that balanced with the soft and tender duck. There was a generous serving of duck, that was cooked perfectly and gave richer flavours that balanced with the earthy soft lentils and the sweet, silky pumpkin mash. The mash complimented the sweet and sour agrodolce and grappa jus, which was the perfect pairing with the dick’s succulent crispy skin. The duck leg was a delicious dish and a favourite of the night.

We also tried some sides of Fried Potatoes with rosemary, chilli and garlic aioli, and a Mixed Leaf Salad with honey mustard dressing. The Fried Potatoes were cooked well, having a soft centre with a crispier skin. The aromatic flavours from the rosemary balanced well with the slight kick from the chilli flakes and was not too overpowering. The garlic aioli was creamy and gave a slight tang to balance the savoury flavours. The potatoes were a lovely hearty side dish.

The Mixed Leaf Salad had a strong tang from the brando dressing that balanced with the light fresh flavour from the tomato and tang of the red onions. The crisp lettuce and soft cheese pieces balanced the earthy tones. A light and fresh salad that had lovely Italian flavours.

For dessert we had the House Made Petit Fours; A Chocolate panettone brownie with espresso syrup and an Almond Biscotti. The almond biscotti was lovely and soft with a sweet flavour balancing with the icing sugar and the tang from a subtle citrus flavour. The brownie was gooey, similar to a chocolate lava cake, and was lovely and warm with rich dark chocolate flavours and an oozy centre. The biscotti and the brownie were equally delicious and the sweet tones of each component balanced well together to create a very satisfying and delicious dish.

The Passionfruit Semifreddo was served with lemon curd, strawberries, amaretti buiscut, and basil granita. The granita was fresh and light and lifted the stronger tang of the creamy lemon curd. The citrus tang of the curd paired perfectly with the passionfruit semifredo. Its thick and cool ice cream consistency had a smooth passionfruit zing that paired perfectly with the amaretti biscuit, which held strong, cherry flavours. The fresh strawberries added sweeter notes to the dish; with all the fruit components balancing well together. Overall the passionfruit semifreddo a lovely sweet and refreshing dish that perfectly ended our night.

Every dish we had on the River Café’s Festival of Food menu was beautifully presented and was all packed full of flavour.

It was a beautiful dining experience with delicious food and lovely river views.

If you want to have a lovely experience too while enjoying the Festival of Food’s special offers, make sure to download the app today. Available on iPhone and Android.

Words by Cyndal King

WHERE: War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide


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