Tempting Palates was invited to the media launch of East of Norman - Kitchen and Bar in Sturt St. A casual eatery by day and a funky bar by night. East of Norman gave owner Sebastian the opportunity to concentrate on more than just a coffee spot. Having a background in specialty coffee, he wanted to create a place where you can get good food with a great vibe as well as good coffee.
Getting Chefs Aleks and Alan was the key to come up with a menu that was different and showcasing some interesting tastes and flavours. Concentrating on fresh flavours and high quality produce made it easy for them to come up with so many great tasting options. Seeing them work in the kitchen gave us a glimpse of their passion and innovation.
We were presented with a feast of food from the extensive menu ranging from pizzas, tapas, platters and desserts. From the sweet and delicious Venison and Emu Carpaccio to the fresh flavours of the Ceviche, we knew we were in for a night of flavoursome treats.
The Meat and Cheese Platters were full of local fresh produce. Quality is the main key to these platters with cheeses like Smoked Cheddar, Double Cream Brie and King Island Roaring 40s Blue Cheese. The Meat Platters also had high quality produce from San Jose smallgoods like mild Sopressa, Waygu Bresaola, flat Pancetta and mild Hungarian Salami.
Kangaroo Tataki with Warrigal greens, Australian native spinach and enoki mushrooms was next. This dish had bursts of flavours - soy, ginger, rice wine vinegar mirin, Japanese mayo and toasted sesame seeds. A very well balanced combination.
The Octopus and Seaweed salad with native pepper berry was amazing. The marinade had lovely spices and flavours of ginger, soy, rice wine vinegar and lime while the smokey pepper taste added a whole new element.
The Tempura Okras were a nice surprise and we loved them! The spicy chili sauce gave the okra a saltiness that balanced well with the crispy batter.
Our favourite dish was the Confit Mushrooms, Polenta, Baby Spinach and Persian Feta. The mix of wild, enoki, Swiss brown, oyster and black fungus mushrooms along with the crispy polenta and sauteed spinach and the Persian Feta cream sauce, gave this simple yet sophisticated dish a banquet of flavours.
The Pizzas were another highlight. There was a varied and innovate list of choices to please everyone and we sampled just a small portion from the menu. All pizzas had fresh and high quality ingredients that was evident in the tasting. Our two standouts were the Pork Belly and Capricciosa.
The Pork Belly was flavoursome and the house-made sauce was the best BBQ sauce we've had. Its flavours were perfectly balanced and not overly sweet or sugary.
The Capricciosa had a mild spicy salami and the crust was thin and crispy. We love Kalamata olives on pizza and these just gave it that lovely saltiness.
Desserts are a favourite dish for most and we had three amazing dishes to sample and once again they were simple, yet innovative. The Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with white chocolate soil and a creamy macadamia ice cream was delicious!
The Potted Chai Panna Cotta with shaved chocolate and shortbread was another innovative dessert and we loved dipping the shortbread into this creamy goodness.
The Torched House-made Marshmallow, Meringue Crumble and Summer Berries had a modern twist on the old school favourite of marshmallow.
East of Norman impressed us so much that we have since gone back and enjoyed the experience from a social perspective too. It oozes cool and sophistication without being pretentious which are the kind of places we like to dine at when not writing about them. We loved the passion from the chefs and it shows from the quality of the food. If you get the food right then everything else will fall into place.
East of Norman 50/52 Sturt St, Adelaide SA 5000
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