On a cold and rainy evening, mid week, it takes something special to entice us off the couch at home!
Dinner at Clutch restaurant and wine bar.. was an invitation too good to resist! We’ve always loved Henley Beach for its mix of hospitality and retail tenants. Acacia was a much loved local haunt, popular for their unique breakfast menu and great coffee.. their breakfast tacos or umami scrambled eggs with octopus and fried salt bush were a crowd favourite!
More recently Acacia’s contemporary dining venue has rebranded and launched as ‘Clutch’ a wine store and restaurant, with a focus on cured, cultured, fermented food. Clutch now offers a seasonal lunch and dinner menu, featuring plenty of locally-sourced seafood and meats infused with native flavours and ingredients. The same team are onboard, complete with an in-house sommelier.. Henri Lemos.
Clutch have transformed their space, they’ve developed an extensive wine collection to feature in their Wine Bar and online retail boutique wine store. As the owner Elisa Mercurio explains ‘the Clutch is an important part of an engine.. there are so many great wineries around the globe, this wine store and bar wants to be their ‘Clutch’ and connect all these great wineries with as many customers as they can’ The incredible display of wines on offer at Clutch, include a South Australian focus plus an abundance of international wines. It’s the perfect spot for afternoons and evenings in Henley Beach, sharing a bottle of wine with friends.
Our host for the evening, was Santiago, who was amazing, he knew the menu inside and out and was super interactive with us. He explained that diners can opt to have the Chefs send out their choice of dishes… Snack Flight, Lunch Tasting, Dinner Tasting or guests can choose their favourite courses off the Menu.
We thought we’d leave It to the experts to select dishes for us! Our evening began with two generous slices of house-made sourdough served with kefir cultured butter which was superb.
Duck prosciutto and pickled Papaya.. slices of Koji cured Duck Breast served with their homemade pickled Papaya, which paired perfectly with the Duck. Jars of pickles are displayed in the restaurant and really are the unsung hero of each dish.
The Liver Parfait is so moorish.. Hoshigaku, Persimmon mustard, crispy fried Crackers made from yesterday’s sourdough. The Persimmon are hung for a week, massaged daily until the sugar has bloomed!
Kingfish Pastrami was a Hiramasa Kingfish rubbed with Geraldton wax, served with a smoked buttermilk sauce and grilled cucumber oil. The kingfish was sliced a little thicker than I’m used to and the smoked flavours were a contrast to the lime, chilli, coconut, basil etc that I’ve enjoyed with Kingfish Sashimi in the past, but the Kingfish dish was our favourite for the evening.
The Butternut pumpkin dish is a labour of love, it takes the chefs hours to prepare in advance, the final result was glazed in its own tamari, coated in halloumi, saltbush and chilli oil. If you enjoy melted halloumi and baked pumpkin, then you’ll love this dish! Nobody will put sides in the corner anymore, especially when they’re this good!
Kangaroo is a dish that has to be cooked just right, how many times has it been attempted and it’s still raw or tough and overcooked! Clutch chefs have perfected this dish, packed with bold flavours.. tender kangaroo-Paroo fillet, pea shoyu, blackened lime added citrus acidity and a salty nori to add another layer of complexity.
I was keen to try the Corned Beef.. my husband’s family have perfected their own signature recipe, I would’ve encouraged my Mother-in-law to plate it up if she ever auditioned for a cooking show! So the pressure was on… Clutch didn’t disappoint, the Grass fed black Angus beef was tender, served with dressed leaves, the miso Mustard sauce gave it a mouthwatering hit and the pickled cauliflower was the perfect accompaniment and provided a zingy interlude
We ordered the fried potatoes, baked in a tasty vaudouvan curry butter with a crispy skin. I’d pop into to Clutch for their potatoes as a decadent treat for $10, in preference to hot chips, next time we’re walking along Henley Beach.
Desserts were a choice of two ice cream dishes. Koji top deck ice cream, a malt vinegar curd, spent beer grain praline or a Galaxy ice cream, malt vinegar curd, spent beer grain praline. On the menu the dishes sound the same but the presentation was different, the top deck ice cream was a slab of two toned ice cream like Neapolitan without the third layer. The top deck ice cream was served without any sauces or garnishes. The galaxy dish was the malt vinegar curd ice cream with a sauce and topped with roasted crunchy praline scattered across the ice cream.
Head Chef Duane Tilka, really showcased his culinary talents throughout the evening. It was great to chat with him and hear more of his illustrious career, including a stint at the Adelaide Oval, Hill of Grace, restaurant.
The good news for fans of Acacia’s daily breakfast menu and great coffee, Clutch will continue to cater to their loyal customer base with a Breakfast menu and Coffee from their fabulous La Marzocco ModBar espresso machine!
The venue has also maintained its minimalistic, Mediterranean feel, both South American and Mediterranean influences are seen in-house. Our waiter Santiago who hails from Columbia made us feel like we were holidaymakers with his easy relaxed conversations.
Book a table, or call in to pick up a bottle of wine from Santiago, he can help with a wine selection for you to takeaway! You can order an incredible range of wines from Clutch online store, which offers same day delivery.
Words by Jacqueline Collett
WHERE: 3/269 Seaview Rd, Henley Beach