The Pot Food and Wine is undoubtedly one of Adelaide’s best breakfast spots but the dinner menu is struggling for identity.
The groovy wine-bar has a great vibe, with the music and funky interior combining to create a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
The restaurant, which when packed could squeeze about 50, opens invitingly on to King William Street – a welcome cool breeze wafting through.
Smartly set tables are scattered along the walls; a giant wall-hung wine rack is the central emphasis behind the bustling bar.
The small and quiet kitchen can be seen through the food service area, with chefs delivering heaped dishes through the pass.
Seated along a long wall opposite the bar, we wait patiently for about 10 minutes before menus are delivered to the table by the casually dressed staff.
There are a couple of wine lists: the by-the-glass selection is extensive with some daring suggestions, while the larger list is all-embracing, featuring many new-world varieties with prices ranging anywhere from $45 to a $500. It also has a nice selection of aperitif cocktails from which we select a pisco sour and a negroni before ordering entrée.
The food menu, by comparison, seems to struggle for an identity. There are in-vogue sliders or “Pot Buns”, interspersed with Asian, Italian and more traditional hearty fare such as char-grilled sirloin and burger and chips.
I’m always cautious about a very eclectic or overly lengthy menu as it inevitably means a lot of different ingredients, preparation and cooking methods.
To start we enjoy some delicious corn and coriander croquettes ($16) and Moreton Bay bug tails ($28). Perfect quenelles of rich corn chowder are encased in a crisp light crumb, a house-made chilli jam topping the dish off with a delightful spicy kick. Pleasingly, the coriander is a bit player in the dish and not the overwhelming flavour.
The battered Moreton Bay bug tails are somewhat disappointing – they are essentially a very expensive fish goujon. A side of vinegar and some flavoured salt gives it a seaside feel yet the tender flesh is overwhelmed by the stodgy batter.
(Service at this stage has struggled to keep pace with diners. Many tables are finally cleared of dessert plates only after customers have paid the bill and left.)
For mains we order the six-hour slow roasted lamb and macaroni cheese ($25), blue swimmer crab and hand-cut pappardelle ($28) and the pan fried broccoli and Korean rice cake ($17).
Being the Pot’s specialty, the lamb is well presented simmering in its rich juices in a small saucepan, the mac cheese lumped next to it on a small wooden board. The lamb is juicy but salt heavy while the macaroni and cheese is nice – a crisp baked topping providing that terribly good blistered cheese flavour.
The pappardelle is wonderfully silky and the rose sauce flavoursome, however the dish is let down by the skimpy amount of crab.
The broccoli and Korean rice cake has potential but doesn’t quite hit the spot. The rice cake has a surprising texture – it looks like tofu but is quite crispy and flavoursome. An anchovy butter is a nice salty touch but the dish has the unfortunate presentation of a limp stir-fry.
It was one of the dishes that seemed good on paper but was let down by some small things. This may be due to the vast array of different ingredients and techniques necessary to cater for the large menu.
Breakfast at the Pot is another matter entirely. Anchovy “soldiers” are straight from a Spanish tapas bar, salty fish on a light and crisp brioche.
A blue swimmer crab omelette is rich but not overwhelming and the baked eggs are some of the best going around, a mixture of beans and chorizo in a cassoulet-type stew is a hearty and delicious start to the day.
The potential for a great eatery is there but, at dinner, it seems the Pot is struggling for identity.
Three and a half out of five.
The Pot Food and Wine
160 King William Rd, Hyde Park
Tel: 08 8373 2044
Open for Lunch & Dinner
Tuesday – Friday from 12pm till late
Saturday – Sunday from 9am till late
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