Earlier in the week, Adelaide Food Central was invited to the West Oak Hotel on Hindley Street to sample their new menu. This remarkable eatery serves up traditional pub grub, but with a little bit of a twist. We were extremely happy with every dish on the menu and it was clear very quickly that a lot of thought had gone into it.
We started off with what was one of our favourite dishes:
Arancini with Pea and Pecorino
You see a lot of arancini on menus these days, which mean pubs have to start really nailing their recipes. It is safe to say the West Oak, hit the nail right on the head. The gooey inside consisting of pees and bitey pecorino, complimented the crisp outside. There was an addition of creamy aioli placed neatly on top, which gave some extra flavour. These were some of the best aracini balls that I have tasted in a long time.
Chorizo with Leek and Grilled Sourdough
A very light and simple dish, but one with lots of flavour. Sometimes chorizo can be very salty and too over bearing but this one was perfect. I love leek and it is used a lot in many new restaurants, so I was happy to see this addition to the menu. The light leek combined with the salty chorizo and crisp sourdough was a flavour combination that worked like peanut butter and jelly.
Onion Rings with Smoked BBQ Aioli
At Adelaide Food Central, we love onion rings so we know a good portion when we see them. The one thing that I find is that sometimes the batter coating the ring over powers the onion. This was the complete opposite for this menu item, the subtle onion flavour paired well with the extremely crispy coating. These are some of the best onion rings I have tried in a long time and I will be back for more.
Grilled Garlic Bread Sourdough with Garlic and Thyme Butter
This garlic bread reminded me of exactly how my Nonna makes hers. Every element of the dish was very light, but used in conjunction with each other to give the dish ultimate flavour. Sourdough is also my favourite type of bread, so this gave this simple pub dish food that extra hearty element.
We then went onto some of the larger meals:
Cauliflower with Lentils, Crispy Kale, Pickled Red Onion, Tahini Yoghurt, Almond and Grape
This is not the usual type of salad that you would see on a pub menu, but it is one that should stay. Middle eastern inspired, with char grilled cauliflower and creamy tahini yoghurt, all the elements complimented each other perfectly. I am also a sucker for crispy kale; its crazy how something so healthy can taste so good when crisped up.
Salmon with Charred Potato Salad, Lemon Relish, Asparagus and Crispy Capers.
I was never really a huge fan of fish, but salmon has started to become one of my favourite dishes to eat when going out. As the world is starting to become a lot more health conscious, having dishes like fish on the menu is a must. This salmon had a combination of healthy and light flavours, but the added additions gave the dish a lot of pazaz. Asparagus is my favourite vegetable to eat so I was excited to see this paired with the salmon. The addition of the lemon relish helped to tie the subtle flavours together, with a burst of salt with the crispy capers.
Black Rice Risotto with Grilled Chorizo, Tomato, Chilli, and Parsley Pesto
This dish was by far the most unique one on the menu, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes chorizo can be extremely over bearing and ruin a dish completely; it was the opposite for this risotto. The rice was cooked aldente, which is how all pasta and rice should be made, it paired well with the lightly oiled tomato sauce. The added saltiness of the chorizo gave the dish flavour, and the small addition of the parsley pesto gave the dish a unique twist.
Fish Burger with American Cheddar, Lettuce, Pickled Fennel, Tartare and Fries
As I mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of fish so I was a little reluctant to try this burger. I am proud to say I conquered my foodie fear, and it was so delicious that I would probably order this next time I come back to pub. The fish had a crispy layer and inside a light and perfectly cooked fish, which paired well with the tasty American cheddar, fresh lettuce and the difference of the pickled fennel. The side of chips and creamy tartare sauce was a must have with any fish burger.
How well a chef can make a Chicken Schnitzel, will make or break a pub. If you cannot execute this well then guarantee your pub will not do well on the food side. It is safe to say that the West Oak do a mean
chicken schnitzel, which comes with rocket salad, fries and aioli.
What I really loved about this dish was the salad that it came with. Usually you would get your traditional green salad, maybe some tomato as well and red onion but this one had a difference. Firstly rocket is my favourite salad item so I was impressed with this; secondly the salad came with pickled fennel, what a treat. As the vegetable had been pickled it gave it a strong, tangy flavour, which helped to give the rocket some zap. The chicken batter was cooked perfectly, and you could tell that they had really thought about the recipe they were going to use.
Thank you so much for the team at the West Oak Hotel for having us along and giving us the opportunity to try the new additions to your menu. This is a great pub for university students as its located right across the road from the University of South Australia. I also highly recommend heading down to Hindley Street at some point to try their new menu items, you will not be disappointed.
Words by Tomika Salerno
WHERE: 208 Hindley St, Adelaide