A warm summers eve in the midst of Tour Downunder madness brings me to North restaurant, Adelaide Casino’s fine dining establishment. The thought of dining at a casino initially did not sound appealing but I had heard some rumours about the skills of head chef Sato Kikuchi and his interesting blend of French, Asian and traditional Australian cuisine that piqued my interest. I certainly love my Japanese food and the thought of tasting the flavours of Japan within the confines of Australian modern star ingredients was a tempting offer.
The dining space is located between the entrance of the casino and the Adelaide train station and its fit out reflects both beautiful and traditional aspects of the original building with its high ceilings whilst the sleek modern interiors make for a slinky and appealing space with good light and lots of room.
Freshly shucked Australian oysters – each $2.60
Natural with lime, Natural with lychee vinaigrette, sweet-sour chilli, coriander, North-style Kilpatrick with bacon, red onion, Worcestershire sauce
Whenever Oysters are on the menu, I am usually ordering them. On this occasion, two more traditional favourites (Natural with Lime and Kilpatrick) are accompanied by the natural with lychee vinaigrette, sweet-sour chilli, coriander. The natural had to be tried to test the true quality of the oyster. Typically summer oysters are quite fatty and not quite so nice due to them being in spawn during the summer. These oysters however were still quite firm and still lovely to eat in their natural state. The Kilpatrick which is always a personal favourite of mine were the perfect combination of sweet, savoury with just enough sourness to provide a beautiful balance. In this parade of oysters however, the natural with lychee vinaigrette were the best of all, combining heat from the chilli with the aromatics from the coriander and a curious sweet sour combination as a result of the lychee vinaigrette that was difficult to resist.
Crispy-skinned pork belly and caramelised scallops – $17.00
Jamaican dark rum, pineapple relish, Spanish chorizo mash, coriander
Perfectly cooked red hog pork belly with wonderfully tender and soft meat and crispy, crunchy skin was accompanied by mash that was red and smoky and earthy flavoured from the chorizo with the flavours of the cured pork complementing the pork belly well indeed. If anything, the scallops were a little overcooked but their slightly sweet flavoured added character to the dish and the rum and pineapple relish added a zing which made for a lovely start to the meal.
Crispy-skinned Huon salmon – $28.00
Citrus-soy consommé, spinach, mixed rice inari pocket, violet QP coleslaw
Ok, the first thing that hits you with this dish is the purpleness of the coleslaw. It was in fact delicious but for me the star of this dish was the citrus-soy consommé which sat unassuming at the bottom of the dish. To me, citrus soy would indicate a Ponzu sauce perhaps flavoured with tradition Yuzu but there were sweet and smoky overtones too, perhaps indicating the involvement of dashi or at the very least bonito flakes. Either way, it was truly delicious. The, centre of place in this case was Huon salmon which whilst perfectly crispy with regards to the skin, was again just a little overcooked for my liking but still totally acceptable. The inari rice pockets were an interesting addition to the dish giving a lovely starch accompaniment to the fish and spinach.
Lychee and ginger granita – $13.50
Yuzu custard, pineapple salsa, pineapple crisp
Dessert was a difficult choice for me, there are other options on the menu such as the sour cherry meringue tart which looked hard to resist but upon the waiters recommendation, I went for the Lychee and ginger granita with Yuzu custard, pineapple salsa, pineapple crisp. What arrived at my table looked like the sort of thing you give to your child at an American Diner or even like a traditional Australian Trifle. Looks however can be deceiving and the flavour in fact was sublime. Indeed, this was no trifling matter but in fact a fully loaded yuzu custard, pineapple and lychee flavoured bowl of KICKASS! For my humble tastes, I wonder if a more perfect dessert could be found. A true expression of the Japanese/Modern Australian policy and a wonderful play on a traditional Aussie favourite. For someone who usually finds the best dishes amongst the starters, I have been proven totally wrong with this dish. Try it and chef if you ever read this, PLEASE dont take it off the menu, EVER!
Even the Coffee smiles at you!
Small details such as the smily face on the coffee had me smiling as I paid my bill!
Overall, North is an interesting night out. Whether going there as part of a visit to the casino complex or just as a night out for you and your friends or even that special person in your life, this place is sure to please. Also on the menu was a fantastic array of steaks and mixed grills which will also suit the boys on their night out. Normally, I baulk at the idea of eating at another ‘fusion’ restaurant as the term is so overused by overzealous chefs with not much to say. Chef Sato Kikuchi however, refreshes the idea with his Japanese/Australian offering and I see potential for further development of the genre. The dessert alone is reason enough for me to return but there are other dishes too for which I see myself wanting. There were a couple of technical hitches but the overall experience was a good one.
A compelling offer!
(08) 8218 4273
Skycity Adelaide Station Rd