Strathmore Hotel - Dinner in the newly renovated Verandah Bar

Strathmore Hotel - 129 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

As Adelaide has reopened after the COVID-19 lock down, I (Dani) have been enjoying rediscovering the city through both the emerging newcomers to the food and bar scenes and those established classics which are always a pleasure to revisit. Sitting in the middle of this spectrum is the recently renovated Strathmore Hotel. The iconic pub has been established on North Terrace for over 165 years, yet a recent facelift has seen the Hotel reopen with bright, modern spaces and a refreshed menu which focuses on South Australian produce.

Verandah Bar dining area

While there are options for casual pub-style dining and a beer garden downstairs, we decide to journey upstairs to look over North Terrace from the Strathmore’s all-weather Verandah Bar. On the evening we visit, the bar is divided into two spaces, with a wide wooden bar adorned with gleaming copper beer taps wrapping itself between the two segments of the restaurant. However, the waitress informs us that the levered doors are able to open the space up completely when it suits the weather and crowd. 

For a more casual option, the indoor lounge area to the right has a toasty gas fireplace to keep you warm as you enjoy a cocktail or pint of beer and perhaps something to nibble on from the bar menu while you look over the sweeping views of the Terrace. To the other side of the space, a glass cabinet filled with an impressive collection of South Australian vintages and open-fronted kitchen area lead you to an open dining area filled with comfortable booths and crisp, white tablecloth-draped dining tables. The interior design is tasteful and modern, with exposed brick and sleek black lines softened by blush tones and a native floral motif.

Wynns ‘The Gables’ Cabernet Sauvignon

I am pleasantly surprised at the large array of quality South Australian products the Strathmore has incorporated into their food and drink menus as I flick through them at our balcony table. We choose a Wynns ‘The Gables’ Cabernet Sauvignon from their impressive range of local wines, as it's dustily spiced, black currant profile is well suited to the selection of meats we plan to order.

Chicken & Leek Dumplings $16

We start our meal with a bowl of chicken and leek dumplings, which rest within a wild mushroom consommé. The tender folds of dumpling wrapper capture the broth, so each bite is awash with warm umami flavours. The dashes of basil oil, which glisten in tiny, translucent beads across the surface, are sweet and aromatic against the dish's savoury profile.

Gawler River Chargrilled Quail $16

After spooning up the last of the delightful consommé, we turn our attention to our next entrée. Deceptive in its petite visage, the meat of the butterfly-boned quail is gamey and full-flavoured, capturing the smoky tones of the char-grill. It rests on a bed of peppery rocket, delicate morsels of tender poached apple, soft goats cheese and golden toasted pine nuts. The blend of the smoky, sweet, nutty and creamy flavours is absolutely delicious and the thoughtful provision of a small lemon-scented washing bowl by our accommodating waitress allows us to pick apart the quail without worrying about messy fingers.

Blue Swimmer Crab Pappardelle $33

A swirling pile of pappardelle arrives at our table emitting wafts of fragrant scents. It has a generous amount of sweet crab meat tossed through its rich tomato sauce, which has a gentle but noticeable heat from the chilli. The wide ribbons of pasta are perfectly al-dente and entwine into the sauce in a way which makes the transition from plate to mouth a breeze (much appreciated given my history of sauce-based mishaps). The dish is one of my favourites; comforting and filling, whilst still being fresh and light.

Stonegrill 250g 36 Degrees South Eye Fillet $41
Stonegrill 250g 36 Degrees South Eye Fillet $41

If you are fan of a quality steak, the Strathmore should definitely be on your list of venues to try! The 36 Degrees South Eye Fillet option can be char-grilled by the kitchen on your behalf, but we couldn’t resist the novelty of trying the DIY option of the Strathmore’s Stonegrill. A rare pillar of beef is served, sizzling, at our table atop a 400 degree stone plate. After a few helpful tips from our waitress, we sear the marbled flesh until it is cooked to our liking, relishing the wafts of savoury cooking scents, which are usually left behind in the kitchen when dining out. 

The sides are perfect - simple, quality classics. The golden chips are almost of a size which I would deem to be wedges, but retain a crisp crunch around their pillowy, soft centres. The mushroom jus has a good depth of flavour and pairs perfectly with the fresh cooked eye fillet.

Coconut pannacotta $13

After accepting our waitress’ offer to "take a look" at the dessert menu (knowing full-well that my sweet tooth will lead me into temptation), we select a couple of sweet dishes to try. The coconut pannacotta was a little more dense that I generally prefer, though it was still full of creamy flavour with a smooth texture. The honeycomb was full of natural honey flavour with a gentle warmth from the ginger, and the almond crumb had a biscuity texture similar to that of a cheesecake base. The shards of dried rhubarb were a nice touch and pretty garnish, though I don’t feel that they added much of the vegetables’ flavour.

Mocha Mud Cake $13

I must admit to being a bit tickled to see a house made Farmers Union ice cream on the dessert menu – so iconically South Australian itself! It tastes exactly as the brand name promises and oozes delightfully into the rich chocolate cake it rests upon. A peanut butter tuile and creamy white chocolate garnishes amp up the indulgent vibes and in all it is an enjoyably moreish dish.

With a location so conveniently situated in the central CBD and a view which encompasses one of Adelaide’s quintessential vistas, the Strathmore is a great option for both those who want to rediscover the city or as a medium to introduce newcomers to the area. 

The retractable roof of the Verandah Bar is opened on fair-weathered days, and although we visited in the evening I expect that the wide stretches of glass frontage would let in a beautiful amount of natural light during the day. With its proximity to Adelaide Oval and speed of service, the venue would also be a good pre-game/event option if you were looking for something in the area. 

We had a very pleasant evening on the Verandah and look forward to returning, as the venue’s multiple features offer an variety of social options and quality dishes.


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