looking for somewhere in the Adelaide CBD that dishes up authentic Italian cuisine, has a warm and inviting interior and has a philosophy to serve fresh, simple and seasonal produce.
then what your looking for can be found at Andres Cucina & Polenta Bar.
the girls and I headed here on a weekday night to celebrate their farewell to Europe, so it almost seemed necessary to have Italian. When we arrived we were quickly greeted and seated. Our waitress was incredibly accommodating and explained every aspect of the menu. She explained that the meals were supposed to be shared and told us the ins and outs in perfect Italian. we decided to pick our own food but were advised that they did what they call “menu fisso”- $62 per person, with meal options decided by the chef. perfect for those who are indecisive (like me)
before we knew it we had ordered an array of meals, starting with their assaggini (antipasti boards). we sunk a bottle of Italian wine and laughed up a storm, and in no time our lavish boards had arrived. we ordered a salumi and a vegeteriani. we were welcomed with an array of cured meats, salami, porchetta and all things meat. they were finely cut and of a very high quality- not overly salty or dry. the board came with ample bread and crackers which is always a nice touch.
the vegeteriani was stacked up all things vegetable, from crunchy sweet potato crisps, roasted and grilled vegetables, seasonal vegetable puree and buffalo ricotta to name a few. The ricotta was like nothing I had ever tasted, so fresh and a perfect pairing to the puree. Another star was the celery and cauliflower, which had a pickled chilli taste to it. No idea what it was called but it was great.
before we knew it plates were coming out the kitchen and gracing themselves on our table. we ordered a lot of it off of the consigli board and can I just say damn we picked some good dishes, with my favourites listed below.
polenta con taleggio funghi e pesto- creamy polenta dressed with sauteed mushrooms, taleggio cheese, basil pesto and pine nuts. my only memory of eating polenta was a terrible polenta crushed chicken from years ago. this dish however showed me what real polentas about, soft and palatable. the addition of the pesto was genius, because lets be honest pesto makes everything great dish incredible.
we sampled the conchiglioni- roast pumpkin filled pasta shells with truffle funghi, pepitas and ricotta. I’ve never had proper fresh pasta shells before so what a experience. they were bursting with flavour and were stuffed with ample pumpkin. and the sauce that surrounded the shells, well lets just say I could have licked the plate clean.
la carne- 400 gram flat iron steak ‘tagliata’, patare, parmigano , balsamico. If your anything like me you will look at this and say “steak what?”. basically it was a think steak, sliced, perfectly cooked. eating it tasted like it had been in a slow cooker. on the side were delicious potatoes covered with shaved parmesan and a sticky glaze. delicious.
we also had a side salad that was full of crispy and fresh leaves with a light dressing, which was nice and refreshing between meals.
by this stage the our bellies were full, but that would never stop us having dessert (cue unbuttoning of jeans here).
as soon as we saw gnocchi di cioccolato e ricotta we had to have it. when it came out it totally resembled your standard gnocchi, but a deep chocolatey brown. the gnocchi was rich and bursting with chocolatey goodness, dusted with a hint of sherbet. it was presented on a bed of vanilla custard lined with strawberries with shards of hazelnut biscotti. the dish was rich and dissapeered very quickly.
lastly was a collection of italian sweets- think tiny italian donuts, biscuits and traditional italian favourites. I loved this one the best, it have you the opportunity to sample so many desserts and didn’t cost the earth.
we were expecting a rather heavy bill at the end of our meal, given we had just had a incredible meal with a heap of food. When we were advised our bill was under $250 including drinks we were gobsmacked. Andres really does serve 5 star quality Italian food at a standard restaurant price.
they are open for lunch and dinner (check the website, it’s best to book).
you can find Andres Cucina & Polenta Bar at 94 Frome St, Adelaide.