The Messy Tomato - Menu Tasting

The Messy Tomato - 151 Flinders Street, ADELAIDE SA 5000


Many of you who work on the eastern edge of the Adelaide CBD may have visited Luigi’s Delicatessen for the crab pasta, a coffee or the famous breakfast board...we certainly did (see a few of our previous reviews here). With Luigi moving onto an exciting new location and concept (stay tuned!), the café space has been taken on by business partner Tony, who, along with the same chef and key staff from Luigi's are continuing to provide quality Italian inspired dishes to the ‘nine-to-five’ crowd in the newly named cafe, The Messy Tomato.


A little taste of our lunch time feast!

The impressive breakfast boards are still on offer on The Messy Tomato’s brunch menu, as are some of the old favourites on the lunch menu, like the pastas and quick panini takeaway options, however they are also adding a variety of tapas sharing style plates, with the aim to make a workday lunch a lot more interesting and delicious. With their street-side tables, open kitchen bar and friendly banter, The Messy Tomato are channelling the vibe of a classic Italian cafe, which we (Dani & Amanda) were keen to check out, say ‘ciao’ and try the new menu. All food and beverages were provided on behalf of The Messy Tomato.


Prawns with Spanish Chorizo

A classic tapas style dish to get the taste buds watering, these pan-fried prawns and imported Spanish chorizo were scattered artfully on a long dish and drizzled with a light olive oil. This dish let the rich moreish flavours of the sausage and delicate sweet flavour of the prawns to take centre stage. A great start to lunch.


Caprese Salad

Another dish shining with simplicity was the Caprese Salad. The Messy Tomato uses Australian buffalo mozzarella layered with garden fresh tomatoes and generously sprinkled with a house made basil pesto. The dish was finished with a drizzle of sticky, sweet balsamic vinegar reduction for a flavour boost. The creaminess of the mozzarella, acidity of the tomatoes and fresh basil is a classic combination that's hard to beat. A sprinkle more seasoning and our tastebuds would have been even happier!


Italian Sausage

The Italian sausage with Messy Tomato's chutney is the typical sausage you might find on your big breakfast plate at your local Italian cafe but this one comes with Messy Tomato's house made chutney. Adding a lovely sweet fruitiness from the tomato and sultanas was a good way to cut through the fattiness and spice of the sausage. 


Italian Meatballs

The Italian meatballs served with a traditional tomato sauce were unfortunately a little dry and tough on this occasion. We really wanted these to be soft, tender and juicy, especially after finding out they are also made with pecorino cheese but unfortunately on this occasion they missed the mark for us.


Smoked Ocean Trout with Spiced Beetroot Tahini

The Smoked Ocean Trout with Spiced Beetroot Tahini was elegantly plated and full of lovely colour. Local Harris Smokehouse trout rosettes were nestled atop of the deliciously spiced beetroot tahini. The beetroot was roasted in cinnamon, cardamom and star anise before it was blended with the sesame, resulting in a tahini that paired really well with the smokiness of the fish. House made pickled onions also added acidic pops of interesting flavour amongst the richness of the fish.


Pasta Platter

The Pasta Platter, which we have devoured many times during Luigi's reign, hasn't changed a bit thanks to the same great chef making the most of her small kitchen confines to plate up 3 favourites in the Ragu Paccheri, Gnocchi Porcini and Octopus Spaghetti. For us it's hard to pick a favourite but it is definitely a toss up between the ragu and the porcini. The subtle sweetness and delectable meaty richness of the ragu made our day but so did the creamy, rich flavours of the porcini mushroom sauce with pillowy gnocchi bites. Looks like we may have to revisit and indulge again to decide on a winner!

Octopus lovers do not despair as the perfectly al dente spaghetti strewn with tender octopus tentacles and finished with a toss through of olive oil and parsley will also excite.


Beef Brisket with Truffle Mushrooms

One of the newer dishes on The Messy Tomato menu is the beef brisket with truffle mushrooms. Something a little different for your workday lunch, this dish is designed to share along with a few of the other tapas style plates now on the menu. The brisket was lovely and tender and exuded an impressive depth of flavour. The truffle mushrooms in a creamy sauce was also a delicious comfort food. Is it something we would normally eat together? Probably not but luckily for the greens on top it helped to break up all the richness with some crisp freshness. 


Pulled Pork, Slaw & Avocado

Another of the new tapas style dishes is the pulled pork with slaw and sliced avocado. The pulled pork is slow cooked with 10 different spices resulting in a flavourful tender meat you can't get enough of. The pulled pork is served with a creamy coleslaw, remaining textural thanks to the fresh cabbage and braised apple, with slices of fresh avocado on the side. All working like a dream together but also taking our tastebuds to thoughts of... do we need a tortilla to wrap up all this deliciousness together... but we are at an Italian cafe so maybe a ciabatta roll instead?!


Prosciutto wrapped Chicken Roulade

The chefs don’t let their tiny kitchen space reduce their attention to technique, which is evident in the chicken roulade. Their prosciutto-wrapped chicken thigh is seared, then wrapped in a baking paper parcel to ensure all the delicious juices are contained inside while it is cooking. It is served with one of the smoothest, creamiest parsnip purees we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying, tart cherry tomatoes and some sautéed spinach. Not only an enjoyable dish to eat but also stunningly plated.


Brioche Francese

For us at On The Chopping Board we take pride in the fact that no matter how many savoury dishes have come before, we ALWAYS have room for dessert. We are especially grateful for this quality, as the French toast brioche slid onto our table. Pinks and purples colour the plate in a fruit cocktail of rhubarb, apple, blueberries and strawberries. Swirls of berry infused mascarpone dotted the plate and sticky maple syrup seeped into the caramelised edges of the brioche. Though it has a confectionary affect, the dish had a pleasant tartness from the berries which helped to keep it from becoming too sickly sweet. A standout dish from our extensive tasting and one we will regularly return for.


The Messy Tomato Exterior

Rolling out of The Messy Tomato after our extensive lunch tasting, we were reassured that the old favourites are still a hit and the new dishes to the menu add some intrigue to a workday lunch, suiting those that like to share their food and taste a little of many different dishes. We look forward to watching The Messy Tomato evolve and settle into it's new name and vision, and wish them all the best.


The Messy Tomato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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