The Lion Restaurant - Chef's Experience Menu

The Lion Restaurant: The Lion Hotel, Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

On The Chopping Board (OTCB) were lucky enough to be invited to try the new Chef's Experience menu at The Lion Restaurant. Not going to lie, I literally rolled out of this joint afterwards, so strap yourselves in, because once you know what you're in for you can't un-know it. Onwards to entrees for those who dare!

I'm still learning how to overhead shot
This eating extravaganza kicked off with South Australian Oysters, Kilpatrick style. While this reviewer prefers natural or smoked oysters, the freshness of these were outstanding.

This was only the beginning
We moved on to ocean trout and smoked mussel bruschetta with preserved lemons. What an incredible mouthful. The smoky mussel flavour combined with the tomato and citrus....this is what dreams are made of. 

Direct from the sea to my face hole
The bite-sized seafood journey continued with Hervey Bay scallop ceviche with cured pig cheek, seaweed tapenade and salmon roe. If fresh scallops are your thing, do yourself a favour and get on these. Again, it's the flavour combos that the kitchen at The Lion Restaurant are just nailing. The salty pig cheek (imagine a really delicate slice of pancetta) and the delightfully oily salmon roe as a foil for the freshness of the scallop really sets the tone for the rest of the menu.

Almost too pretty to eat....almost.
Saving the best of the entrees for last, the beef tartare with fermented chilli and radish, served on a rice cracker. This dish was an absolute standout, and one of my faves of the WHOLE THING! There's a slight asian spice element here with the chilli ferment taking on a bit of a kimchi flavour profile and I for one, am a huge fan. 

Beef with bite
Not quite an entree, but not quite a main was an in-betweener 'larger bite'. Prepare yo selves for set goat's cheese cream with heirloom beetroots, figs, candied walnuts and saltbush. Guys, this will change your life and that's not me even being hyperbolic. I don't even like goat's cheese and I ate the heck out of this dish. That creamy texture is amazing-pillow soft. If goat's cheese is your jam then this dish is an absolute MUST.

Goat's cheese and beetroots and walnuts-oh my!
Onwards to mains! (This was quite the journey)

'From the rotisserie'.....

We were treated to two meat dishes. A Coorong black Angus scotch fillet (this comes with a side of fries) with Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Co mustard and red wine jus.

Got meat?
But what I really want to talk about is the Murray Valley pork rack with black vinegar, coconut yoghurt, sambal belacan and kimchi cabbage. The asian flairs here of the sambal, but especially the coconut yoghurt which knocked my socks off with how tasty it was and how well it matched the flavour of the pork. Get on board.

Dear coconut cream: I think you're a total babe. We should totally hangout more.
Following on from the meats we sampled probably one of the most innovative mushroom dishes I've ever eaten. Strap yourselves in for the forest mushrooms, truffled custard, organic spelt and rye crumbs, as it was sensational. I loved the creativity of the truffled custard. And guys, this seriously has to be one of the prettiest savoury custard dishes I've ever seen!

These mushrooms ARE the fun kind for foodies
And while I thought my day wasn't going to get any better, we were introduced to a linguine with chilli prawn, riesling, ginger, capers, citrus leeks and baby spinach. Now, full disclosure, a lifetime of growing up with an Italian fam who food quite seriously (and I mean we have a whole pig hanging up in the shed to make our own cured meats kind of seriously) I don't ever think I'm going to be surprised by good pasta. But I totally was, and I couldn't be more thrilled about that. This dish ties with the beef tartare as one of THE standouts of the Chef's Experience Menu. These dishes are designed for sharing but I'd totally understand if you'd just gobble the whole thing for yourself. I nearly did #notashamed.

Please don't ask me if I think this is better than my old man's. #sophieschoice
It was at this point I was kind of delirious with food happiness. And it's right around here that I enter what I often call the 'I-Regret-Wearing-Pants-Situation'. But dessert was to come and truth be told I love a good dessert treat. The first to come out was the caramelised white chocolate with lemon curd, spiced shortbread, rum syrup and coconut sorbet. This was absolutely perfect. The shortbread, the lemon, the sorbet.....gah! I'm getting hungry again thinking about how good it was. 

I don't understand people who say they don't like dessert
Up next was the honey roasted pears with vanilla labna, walnut crumble, pear sorbet and pashmak (Persian fairy floss). This dessert basically took line honours for dish of the day in my book. It was amazing. It tasted better than it looked which I didn't think possible as it was an absolute stunner. This. All. Of. This. If the Chef's Selection Menu was made up of just desserts like this, I wouldn't complain. Ever. If I had to describe this dish as a person it would be that totally shy kid who turns out to be some kind of genius/adventurer/all round rad mofo. 

Pear sorbet IS a life goal
The head chef had a surprise in store for us though. Unexpectedly, there was a third dessert. A peanut butter and raspberry jelly ice cream sandwich with bitter chocolate ganache and scorched banana. This dish packs quite a punch, and must be shared. And while at this point I felt not unlike the Fat Man from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, I have absolutely zero regrets about squeezing all of this in.

Who doesn't enjoy a good sandwich?!
It's quite easy to overlook this well-known stalwart of the North Adelaide dining scene. It feels like it's been around longer than sliced bread. But overlook these guys and their Chef's Experience menu ($68.50) at your peril! I've had some seriously amazing food experiences in 2015, and this just about tops the list. So do yourselves a favour and head down to the Lion Restaurant for an absolutely amazing food experience. The only thing you might regret is wearing pants. 

Jess
(The Cardigan Thief)


The Lion Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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