The Curious Squire - Curiosity killed the cow but we ate it all.

The Curious Squire - 10 O'Connell St, North Adelaide

We were kindly invited to The Curious Squire's Eat and Tweet dinner to launch the new menu. All our food and drinks were provided at no charge to us.

The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
To be frank, we were expecting to walk into another pub in Adelaide that's been renovated and doing the same old American inspired menu. When we arrived, we were welcomed by the Food and Beverage Director, Damian Williams, handed a drink and shown to our table. And this isn't just because we were invited; Damian initially thought we were regular guests and greeted us with the same poise and enthusiasm as he did the media and bloggers.

Interior design at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Inspirational interior design
The dimly lit interior is charming, welcoming and feels like a mix between home and a traditional American bar. The large space is subtly sectioned off into intimate spaces and although we were in the company of many other guests, the noise levels allowed for easy conversation.
Wood fire oven at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Giant chalk board and wood fire oven
On the bar, there were oversized decanters of sweet iced tea and home-style lemonade (non-carbonated) that we were asked to help ourselves to. Behind the bar, we watched the short order chef rolling dough, making pizzas and roasting ingredients for other dishes.
The menu at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
The menu
After meeting some of the other guests (including radio personalities, journalists and other bloggers), we were introduced to Head Chef, Drew Akin. With a thick American accent, he told us about each dish being authentically American and how he developed the recipe. Stories of meeting fishermen in the Bahamas, his Grandmother's favourite recipe and many many more captivated us and took us on the journey that resulted in a menu he is very proud of.

Throughout the night, it became obvious Drew has a passion for ethically sourced meat and respects the animal by using as much of it as he can. What other chefs consider off cuts that would usually see more of the inside of a dumpster than the light of day, Drew works his magic on and produces flavoursome dishes with them.

Trio of dips
Our own food journey started with a selection of dips and house made corn chips.

TOM: Being the vegan of the group, Drew introduced himself to me and explained how happy they were to be catering to my dietary requirement, despite being a meat focussed venue. The spicy tomato salsa lived up to its name and although I'm not a huge fan of hot food, this tasty salsa hit the spot!

Queso dip
CAMELLIA: The other two dips presented in the trio were spinach and artichoke, and queso (cheese). Personally I wasn't a big fan of the tomato, it lacked texture and flavour and was very boring to me. But, I understand why it needs to exist. The spinach and artichoke was delightful, creamy and thick and reminded me of one of those dishes that someone brings to a BBQ or picnic. The queso (pictured above) was a favourite for me, and many around the table. Warm melted cheese; need I say more?

MIRKO: I have to agree with Camellia, my favourite dips were the spinach and artichoke and the queso. Being a fan of cheese, these two dips really hit the spot!

Fried chicken wings at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Fried chicken wings

CAMELLIA: When we thought that was it for entrée, out come boxes of fried chicken wings. The wings were simply covered in Frank's Red Hot sauce, which I was initially sceptical about as this wasn't very exciting sounding. But the number of chicken wing bones on my plate begged to differ. Meaty wings, deep fried then tossed in the mild but tangy and slightly spicy sauce was unbelievably moreish. I could have eaten a whole bucket to myself.

MIRKO: Again, I have to agree with Camellia! These morsels of deliciousness were incredibly moreish and the hot sauce was not so hot that it deterred you from eating. The general consensus of everyone on the table was that these were a resounding hit.

Cheese fries at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Cheese fries

CAMELLIA: Mmmmmm cheese fries. Sounds so good in theory. I was literally squirming around my seat, so keen to try them. Unfortunately, they were let down by the fries. Which I feel is the most important element alongside the cheese sauce. Added toppings are just a bonus (pictured, bacon and sour cream). But they were just crinkle cut chip shop generic boring chips. Barely fries. I'd love to have seen the hand cut, skin on, chewy waxy type that are found all over the USA.

MIRKO: When I think of a dish like this, I would have liked to have more cheese, more toppings and overall be an excess dish. Whilst the toppings were nice, the chips could have been better.

Vegan garden salad at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Garden salad - It's vegan!
TOM: I was the only member to try the salad because Mirko and Camellia don't make friends with salad *ahem*. As far as salad goes, it was good. The lettuce was crisp, the croutons were crunchy and there was a good balance of lettuce and tasty morsels. The dressing was a little oily for me but that's definitely a personal preference.

MIRKO: I am not even going to dignify this with a response!


Pulled pork slide at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Pulled pork slider
CAMELLIA: I've gotta say I'm pretty over the pulled pork trend, everywhere is literally sinning against BBQ by putting their Australian versions on menu's around the country. This I appreciated a lot, as Drew knows what he's doing with a smoker. Proper hot smoked pulled pork is a mile away from what you'll find at most cafe's around. The only negative comment I have is that there wasn't enough meat on the bun so it was drowned out by the huge amount of bread. A generous amount would have been much better and let the flavour come through more.

MIRKO: Whilst I like sliders, I agree that there could have been more filling to balance out the filling to bun ratio. I don't know whether this is the standard, or whether this was due to the number being served for the function but this should be something to consider.

Vegan sweet potato salad at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Sweet potato salad - it's vegan!
TOM: Again, as the only salad eating member of the group, I was on a solo mission with this salad. The crunchy tortilla chips added a much needed texture for the roasted sweet potato, capsicum and corn. Again, it was a well balanced salad and definitely hearty enough to be had as a main meal.


Smoked chicken slider
CAMELLIA + MIRKO: These came out and looked crazy good, but I was really underwhelmed and didn't even eat half. The chicken was just completely flavourless and lost beneath all the bread. I could barely taste any sauce too. I do love that it's something different and close to home for Drew, but it just lacked taste and excitement for us.

Brisket Slider at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Brisket Slider
MIRKO: The brisket slider for me, was one of my least favourites. Mine was tough and dry but looking around the table this may have just been me.

CAMELLIA: This also wasn't my favourite, the meat was tasty but too overcooked for brisket.  Perhaps it was the style but I've always been led to believe brisket should still hold together.  There was also capsicum and cheese sauce on it which Drew explained was in the style of a philly cheesesteak. I enjoyed the concept but feel it could be improved. The capsicum flavour was very strong.

Head Chef's pick of sides at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Drew's pick of side dishs my ischeeenjoyconceptncencenceptnflavour was nceptncencenceptncenceThe capepk. d was was  which i cap some ve al alwI've  always . Pet. meat t my  casserole, potato salad, texas style bans, raw brocolli salad, coleslaw.
CAMELLIA: I loved all the sides, each full in flavour and well refined. The collard greens were exciting to me because this isn't something you can find in Australia, they are wilted in a vinegar base and make a great refresher to cut through all the heavy meat. The coleslaw was also impressive, the host, Damien stressed that they took their recipe influence from KFC haha. Explaining that "there's a reason it's so popular" and they really nailed it the way I like it. Nice thin slivers of cabbage and carrot in a mayo base that's surprisingly refreshing and light, not heavy and thick.

My absolute favourite ultimate winner side though was the sweet potato casserole with walnuts and cinnamon. Sounds really weird, and in the USA at thanksgiving they even put marshmallows on top! But it was sooo good! Quite sweet which I weirdly loved. Something totally different and fun to try out.

MIRKO: I didn't really get a chance to taste the above sides, but Camellia INSISTED that I try the sweet potato casserole...and I was NOT disappointed. I could imagine this as an awesome pie filling! 

Biscuits at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Biscuits (similar to scones)
CAMELLIA: The biscuits came fresh out of the oven and to our table. They were flavoured with cheddar and chives, much like a savoury scone. Having eaten biscuits before, I found these to be (just like scones) a tad overworked, adding a chewyness to them. Really tasty nonetheless and wouldn't stop me from going back for seconds.


Sweet potato vegan pizza at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Vegan pizza!
TOM: By this stage, I got the feeling Mirko and Camellia were happy with their meaty meals and gladly let me eat my vegan courses alone. As far as vegan pizzas go, this wasn't one of my favourites. The base was thick and lacked crunch, given the wood fired oven, I expected a thin, crunchy and slightly charred pizza. The toppings were plentiful and maintained their form and a little bit of texture. The addition of fresh herbs might've given this pizza the fresh edge it was lacking. Having said that, we weren't there to taste the pizza, it's not their speciality and I sincerely appreciate the chefs going out of their way to cater for me.

Ribs at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Ribs!
After all our entrees were done, more plates of pulled pork, brisket and ribs were supposed to feature, but since we had all had our fills with the sliders Damian decided to just leave us with the pork ribs. He explained that the meaty end is usually cut off in Australia as it is spared for the pork belly cut (not as commonly used in the USA aside from bacon). And explained that this is the best end of the rib.

CAMELLIA: The ribs were my favourite meat dish of the evening, alongside the wings. They had a good smoky flavour and extra sauce was provided on the side. The meat held on the bone well but was tender and came off easily. Definitely recommend to try.

MIRKO: Loved the ribs and was disappointed that I was only able to have one. Slather these in sauce, get the bib on and get ready to get a bit messy!

Peanut butter and chocolate pie at The Curious Squire, North Adelaide
Peanut butter and chocolate pie

CAMELLIA: The pie had an awesome peanut butter flavour, it was like a peanut butter dance party. And the crumb was made from Anzac biscuits as a tribute to Australia (as Drew was unable to source graham crackers). The mint leaf I hated because it was pointless and wouldn't have added to the dish. Also I would assume the serving size would be larger for anyone ordering as a full paying guest because it's some good ass pie and I wanted more!

MIRKO: I am a fan of peanut butter (and generally of desserts) so when I saw this come out it made me happy. At first I thought that it was too small a serving, but was surprised at how filling it was (or maybe this was all the other food we had). The peanut butter was not overpowering and overall it was a tasty dessert - I wanted some to takeaway.

After dinner, we kicked back in the chilled atmosphere and chatted between ourselves, a couple of friends and the super friendly bar staff. This is the sort of place Adelaide has been missing; a bar that you feel completely comfortable in, without pretentious staff, a chip on its shoulder or over designed interior. Well done to the team behind The Curious Squire, we'll be back with our mates.

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