Republic - honest & relaxed

Republic - 120 Magill Rd, Norwood

Ever wonder what happened to the Oriental Hotel after months of tarp and scaffolding veiling its interior? Well Republic is what happened! Republic is a newly opened restaurant and bar located in the spot of the previous Oriental Hotel on Magill Rd, Norwood. On The Chopping Board were kindly offered two places to attend a VIP dinner to launch their newly established dining menu. Jess was the lucky OTCB member who got to attend. All meals and drinks were provided free of charge by Republic.

On arriving, we were warmly greeted and offered a drink from the bar. With G&T in hand, I was ready to explore the new fit out. Overall, the interior is spacious and filled with natural light, large glass doors were kept open to blur the line between inside and out. The theme of lightness is extended to the furniture and decor with woods of light finishes and bright pops of colour used throughout.      

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Signage

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Front bar

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Back of front bar

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
After work G&T
The "out" part of the Republic is a quaint courtyard/beergarden with numerous flowering Jasmine plants as the main features. As well as looking pretty, they also provided a very pleasant fragrance that filled the courtyard. The area is much more open and spacious than the previous deck/beergarden of Oriental Hotel days.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Open and spacious

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Flowering Jasmine plant
After exploring, we were then led across the main dining area to a quiet dining room housing a long table, set for 20. The main dining area was a hub of activity and had great exposure to an open facing kitchen. It's always a good sign when a restaurant lets you see how your food is prepared and cooked. I also think the purpose of this was to show off their prized charcoal rotisserie - the pillar of Republic's menu and honestly, who could blame them?

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Our dining setting for the evening

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig


Tonight we would be experiencing "The Spread" $55 pp with a couple of extra desserts thrown in. Just so you know what you're in for this included; warm marinated olives, grilled flat bread and dip selection, vitello tonnato with tuna mayonnaise and rocket, roast prawns with lemon, confit garlic and parsley, greek style lamb with tzatziki and thyme jus, suckling pig with roast apple and cider jus, gratin potatoes, greek salad and a selection of desserts.

The three dips were served with chunks of crusty bread, not exactly true to the description on the menu. Each of the dips were nice, stock standard fare with flavours of  roast pumpkin, eggplant and white bean and very smooth in texture. All three flavours were subtle, with pumpkin being he most memorable. It remained a bit strange to eat the dips with bread, something crisper like grilled pita would have been more preferable.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Breads with assorted dips (pumpkin, eggplant and white bean)

Vitello tonnato is an Italian dish of cold slices of veal served with tuna mayonnaise. Veal was done medium and remained tender. Similar to the dips, the tuna mayonaise served with the veal was mild in flavour.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Vitello tonnato with tuna mayonnaise and rocket 

Roast prawns were fresh and seasoned well with herbs, as well as gaining some flavourful char from the roasting process. A squeeze of lemon and this was a perfect summer starter paired with an ice cold beer. Confit garlic and parsley enahanced the dish, without overpowering the subtle sweetness of the prawn flesh. This was just honest food, done simply and well.


Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Roast prawns with lemon, confit garlic and parsley

The Greek lamb cooked on the charcoal rotisserie was divine, juicy with an even distribution of fat to meat ratio. This was served with a great tzatziki that grabs you and freshens your palate for that next bite of lamb. The jus was nice, but somewhat unnecessary given its mild flavour and the quality of the tzatziki.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Greek lamb with tzatziki and thyme jus

The suckling pig, similar to the Greek lamb, was done simply on the rotisserie and served with a scattering of pork crackling. The pork crackling was lean on fat and melted in your mouth like a potato crisp - very moreish. Meanwhile, I have mixed feelings on the suckling pig. Some of the meat was moist and this was delicious, however other pockets of meat, such as the loin, were unfortunately on the dry side. The lightness of the jus was unable to save these dry pockets of meat. Caramelised apples were a nice touch and more successfully added moisture to the pockets of drier meat than the jus. 

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Suckling pig with roast apple and cider jus

The potato gratin, (fancy potato bake in my books) was a hands down winner. One can't really go wrong with potatoes however these were commendable for their soft, fluffy and creamy texture. Delightful bursts of onion and oregano could be tasted throughout. It also had the signs of a great potato bake - a very crispy top of course!

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Potato gratin with oregano and onions
With the Greek salad there is not much to mentions besides that all salad vegetables were fresh and the two slices of oregano topped feta was generous. However, the lettuce was served as a wedge, which isn't really practical.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Greek salad

Four different desserts were on offer; creme brulee with blackcurrant sorbet, mango and passionfruit pavlova, rum baba with caramelised peaches and spiced creme fraiche and hot chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream.
 
Creme brulee (image not shown) was silky smooth and creamy - the textre of a perfect creme brulee. Although the blackcurrant sorbet was tart and paired with the sweet custardy brulee nicely, by the time it had arrived at our table it had melted on the creme brulee resulting in a gluggy mess. Don't get me wrong, this "mess" tasted delicious, however i felt there was a bit too much sorbet and it was a little unneccessary. Perhaps this could be replaced by a blackcurrant coulis, which might've resulted in dish that held together a bit better.

The foundation of the mango and passionfruit pavlova was a quality meringue base that was air light and dissolved in your mouth. This meringue also had enough sugar to eliminate any eggy-ness from the egg whites. The meringue was topped with a good helping of fresh cream. However, the amount of passionfruit pulp and sliced of mango left one wanting. This pavlova is a fresh flavoured dessert that would be perfect coming into the summer months.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Mango and passionfruit pavlova

Rum baba was delicious, fluffy and not overly soaked with liqueur. I generally don't like rum baba as it is so often done poorly, either a cake that is overpowered with the taste of alcohol or cake that is crumbly and stale tasting.  It is like people assume soaking a cake in liquid will refresh the cake and remove staleness, but this is not the case. I can happily announce that there was none of this here. Caramelised peach and spiced creme fraiche were nice, simple accompaniments.


Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Rum baba with caramlised peach and creme fraiche

Lastly was the hot chocolate pudding that I unfortunately did not get a taste of - it just went too quick! Or I was too slow...never mind.  However, comments around the table were all positive despite its interesting appearance. Between the kitchen and our table it had collapsed into a heap, photo evidence below.

Adelaide, Bar, Food, Lamb Spit, Magill, Norwood, pub, Republic, safood, Suckling Pig
Hot chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream.

Throughout the meal, the consistent theme emerging from the menu appeared to be the offering of honest, wholesome food prepared with simple methods. It was kind of refreshing dining at a place that has decided to shy away from dramatic and complex flavours. I guess this is a homage to Republic's previous life and customers. The Republic is a good place to try if you're after a drink and a hearty feed in a relaxed environment - also the potato graitn and the Greek lamb are a must  


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