Saturday, 2 March 2013

Adelaide Trip - Press Food & Wine the up and comer

On my recent trip to Adelaide I set about hitting the best restaurants the city had to offer in the three days I was there.  This meant that I had to make some tough decisions about which of the many fantastic restaurants that now grace the Adelaide dining scene I would visit.  The first night in town was Celsius and you can read about it here.  But it was night two and I needed somewhere to go, so after doing the obligatory online research and again hitting up some local bloggers for their suggestions I decided on Press Food & Wine.

I had been spending the days wandering the streets of Adelaide, so had a pretty good idea where Press was located, which is just outside of the reglar dining haunt of Gouger Street.  I did however notice that Waymouth Street was starting to get a nice little gathering of restaurants with Georges on Waymouth right next door.

Press has not been around long but is starting to gather a serious following and has the recognition that comes along with winning a few awards and pumping out amazing food.  Press has been awarded two chefs hats from the AGFG as well as a star from Gourmet Traveller, which is a fantastic feat.  There are only a handful of restaurants in each state that can boast to holding both hats and stars!  Head chef Andrew Davies has created an amazing menu and a fairly unique style which includes a lot of 'in-house' approach to curing, pickling, baking brining and smoking the food for their customers.

There are two dining areas at Press with an informal 'communal' approach downstairs and a more formal upstairs section where reservations are a must.  Flying solo on this trip I was advised when I called that I wouldn't need to book and when I arrived I was seated at one of the communal tables downstairs.  The layout of the restaurant is great, with a really organic look and feel with wood panelling and rustic wooden tables throughout.  The kitchen area is down the back, but you have a great view from pretty much every table.  The menu is designed for share dining, but is also perfect when dining alone.

There are a couple of menu options at Press, with a selection of share plates that range from small to larger and from the grill, as well as a tasting menu option.  The key thing about the tasting menu is that its completely random and one of the selections is from their 'offal' range.  I ended up chickening out of this option because I really didn't feel like lamb brains or calf tongue.  While I was waiting for my menu selections I was presented with some fresh baked bread with butter and salt.  The cool thing about this salt was that it was volcanic ash sea salt from Spain and was totally black.  I loved it and it added a great texture and amazing flavour to the butter.

My entree for the night was chorizo and red peppers with a choka sauce.  I noticed that Press mostly uses wooden boards instead of plates, which is pretty cool and fits in with the rustic feel of the place.  I also noticed there was an island of green in the sea of red that was my entree.  I was advised that there was a  unique pepper where only one in ten was hot, it turned out that the pepper on my plate was the one in ten and let me tell you, it was very hot!  This was a very simple dish with only a couple of components cooked really well.  The chorizo was not overly spicy and had a bit of sweetness, which was perfectly offset by the choka sauce (tomato based sauce) and the red peppers.  As a lover of chorizo I was very happy with this dish.

For mains I selected something from the Grill, I was looking for something simple and tasty and thought the denham farm steak with frites and a béarnaise sauce would fit the bill.  The denham farm steak was a tasty piece of rump that was cooked to a perfect medium rare and had a lovely char on the outside.  At first the béarnaise sauce was a bit acidic but after sitting for a while seemed to balance out and was a wonderful match for the steak.  The fries were thin and crispy and were really nice, especially the fries at the bottom of the plate that had soaked up the meat juices.

The dessert menu had some really interesting looking options but I felt like something light so chose the soufflé of the day which happened to be a peach soufflé.  The thought of having a light dessert flew out the window when the soufflé was placed in front of me, it was the biggest soufflé I had ever seen and was at least twice the size of a normal one.  I had a fear that with such a large soufflé that it would not be cooked all the way through but this turned out to be unfounded.  I was really happy that there was some peach sorbet, which was a little tart, to cut through the sweetness of the soufflé, otherwise I wold have had sugar overload.  There was some lovely crunch in with the sorbet with some crunchy nuts in the bowl.

I loved the look and feel of Press, it was relaxed and understated (at least downstairs) and would be a place where you could hang out in a group or by yourself and have a good meal and possibly a few drinks.  My waiter for the night was cool and very helpful, giving me some great insights to the meal and the restaurant.  The service provided was first rate, managing to be professional and relaxed at the same time.

There is a prevalence of share dining restaurants around the country now, it seems to be a very popular dining approach, but there are not too many places around like Press.  It was such a relaxed environment with people sharing bench tables and just having a good time.  I would love to get upstairs to the formal dining at some point to check that out too, but that would mean another visit to Adelaide.  So far my dining journey had pulled up some classics.  The Press bar and dining experience was pretty unique and I had a brilliant time, I guess I will need to bring SC down so we can check out upstairs!

With such a meat heavy main, I opted for a side of sautéed greens.  There was a heavy garlic flavour.  Yum 
Share dining tables.  The only option downstairs is to share.  I love it
Such a simple name and brand
Heaps of share dining options and a plate full of the volcanic ash salt.

Press Food and Wine on Urbanspoon Press Food & Wine


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    1. Thanks William, I try to make it as interesting for readers as possible, glad you liked it!



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