The Saracens Head Hotel - Menu Tasting

The Saracens Head Hotel - 82 Carrington Street, Adelaide SA 5000

Having worked near the Saracens Head Hotel for over 14 years, I (Amanda) have partaken in many group work lunches and after work drinks at this establishment over time. The food has always been your classic pub style fare with the added bonus of the outdoor wood oven, producing a point of difference with this style of pizza over other pubs in the area. Today we were invited to the Saracens Head Hotel to experience the new menu that the new Head Chef has creatively put together. All food and beverages were provided on behalf of the Saracens Head Hotel.

The Saracens Head Hotel is part of the Bloody Mary Group that also has other establishments such as Stone's Throw and Pirie & Co under it's belt to name a few. Their recent acquisition of Head Chef Ben Smith (previously of Queen's Head Hotel) has seen the introduction of a new and interesting menu at the Saracens with a refined look and taste. The menu still includes your pub classics - think schnitzels, burgers and their renowned wood oven pizzas but now includes fresh local seafood, curries and salads with an Asian twist.

The start of our lunch time feast!
On this occasion, we sat in the glorious sun, shining throughout the outdoor courtyard and enjoyed a selection of dishes from the new menu. We started with a selection of seafood dishes including chilli crabs (only available Wednesday lunch and dinner on the special's menu), kingfish crudo and oysters.  Beginning with these delicious fresh seafood dishes, it reminded us of Christmas all over again or even allowing us to dream we were teleported to a quaint seaside fishing village for lunch!

SA Blue Swimmer Chilli Crabs (available Wednesdays only) 1/2kg $30
The South Australian Blue Swimmer chilli crabs (which come in a 1/2kg serve for $30 or 1kg for $50) were one finger licking delight! The crabs were large, meaty and so tasty in the Chef's secret chilli sauce, a scatter of fresh herbs and a kick of chilli which isn't too overpowering for the tender sweet meat. The only thing missing on this dish were the seafood crackers to help us crack through some of the more sharper claws to delve our way to more of that delicate crab meat. Oh and maybe a crab bib as I'm sure we were covered in all our crabby glory by the end but that really was half the fun!

SA Oysters - Natural (back), Nam Jim (front) $2 each
Once we were cleaned up (thanks to the lemon finger bowl), we were able to enjoy the South Australian oysters in both the natural and in the Nam Jim sauce varieties. The oysters were so fresh and with a squeeze of fresh lime on the natural oysters it worked to balance out the slight sea saltiness well. The Nam Jim sauce elevated the fresh oysters even further thanks to the sweet and sour flavours, heat from the chilli and freshness of the coriander and lime.

Hiramasa Port Lincoln Kingfish Crudo $16
The Hiramasa Port Lincoln Kingfish crudo with coconut, coriander, freshly sliced chilli and lime sat so pretty on the plate. With sprigs of coriander and lashings of coconut cream atop, the raw kingfish was another fresh dish perfect for the Summer heat. We would have enjoyed a little more fresh lime squeezed over our kingfish to provide a nice burst of acidity but luckily for us we had a wedge of lime leftover from the oysters which we were able to use.

Beef Tartare $18
Next we tried a showcase of meat dishes including beef tartare, a Barossa meats pizza and a beef massaman curry. The beef tartare with truffle, free range hen's egg and toast was piled together casually, the raw egg on top and 4 slices of grilled bread to one side. Again with the chef's slight twist, this beef tartare was infused with truffle and crispy garlic to produce such a flavourful take on the raw beef. Accompanied by the creamy smooth egg yolk that coated the beef like a well developed sauce it was a joy to devour with the well oiled grilled toast.

Barossa Meats Pizza $23
The Barossa meats pizza was topped with chicken, chorizo and salami and was a meat lovers dream!  The tomato sauce base nice and rich and the chorizo adding a good kick of spicy heat. The base is still thin but thick enough to hold the plentiful heavy meat toppings and sauce. It was quite a decadent pizza due to the multiple meat toppings and the considerable amount of oil these meats and the sauce produced. It would work well with a nice fresh salad or a spread of fresh seafood as we had, to cut through its richness!

Braised Beef Short Rib Massaman Curry $26
Our lucky last dish was the braised beef short rib massaman curry with coconut rice and jungle herbs.  This Thai curry has been given the Ben Smith twist with the use of the braised beef short rib which was so tender that it pulled away ever so easily to greet us with a melt in the mouth tender meat. Underneath the beef was the coconut rice soaking up the beautiful prominent cinnamon and cumin flavours of the curry sauce, although the texture of the rice was a little gluggy potentially due to the cooking method in coconut liquid and then again from sitting in the curry sauce. Topped with the freshness of the bean sprouts, carrots and herbs it helped to bring this normally warming Winter dish typically served with potatoes, that lighter Summer twist.

We left the Saracens that day with satisfied stomachs and truly excited for the new menu direction thanks to the flavourful and fun take the new Head Chef has chosen to launch. With a front bar, renovated dining room and sunny outdoor courtyard there are many reasons to visit for a drink, try the SC Pannell Aromatico (pairs beautifully with Asian flavours), and stay for a feast of pub classics and finer dining Asian inspired creations.  We look forward to returning soon!


Saracens Head Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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