It’s safe to say there are an elite group of SA fine dining restaurants that can call themselves ‘five star.’ Among these is the spectacular Hill of Grace Restaurant at the new Adelaide Oval. For some, dining at an incredible venue such as this could be deemed as a once in a lifetime experience, but it doesn’t need to be anymore.
On Friday we were invited down to the stunning setting of the Hill of Grace Restaurant to taste some of the new Spring menu items created by genius Head Chef Dennis Leslie. Knowing Dennis’s passion for creating fine dining food with a fun twist, we couldn’t wait to see what was in store.
We learned, upon arrival, that to celebrate their first birthday Hill of Grace are making their premium style of dining even more accessible for everyone! They’re offering a two course lunch and an amuse compliments of the kitchen, for $59 on Fridays throughout the month of October. If you’ve been longing to try this place out (and you should be!) this is your chance. Take the arvo off work, call up sick, take the boss along if you must! But enjoy this unique dining experience while it lasts.
Even if you aren’t a sports lover, the grandeur of the view of Adelaide Oval will still take your breath away. As we were escorted to our table we soaked in the sight of the lush oval grass being carefully perfected by several Oompa Loompas with nail scissors. We kid! We kid! But there were 4 expert groundskeepers ensuring that no blade was out of place. On one of the most perfect Spring days we’ve been gifted with so far, the backdrop while we dined certainly couldn’t have been more perfect.
Before we get started it’s important to note that the uniqueness of the menu at Hill of Grace can be a little confronting for those who are a little faint of heart/not so adventurous when it comes to dining. Chocolate and bacon together as an entree? Yes, it’s on the menu and yes, we tried it! But even for those that can be a little cautious when it comes to food, the flavours in these dishes dance in your mouth, and you should truly put your trust in the hands of these flavour experts.
As we wanted to give our valued readers the most accurate account of the fantastic 2 course Friday lunch experience, the Glam team were certain to order one of everything from the available menu… And then a few that were not on the lunch menu too. Purely for research purposes, of course.
From the birthday lunch menu came the aforementioned Betamax, chocolate custard, shaved chocolate, bacon juice, crispy speck; the Sisig, grilled pork, spring onion, soft egg; the Roasted heirloom carrots, carrot mousse, carrot gel, goats curd, carrot jam, black dirt; and the Sinigang, marron, native lemon grass, radish, rainforest cherry, native tamarind.
Here at Glam we love to try the weird and wonderful, so the Betamax with chocolate was a definite highlight for us. The combined elements created an unexpected earthy flavour that was contrasted with the subtle sweetness of the chocolate. The Sisig was also incredible. Sisig comes from Chef Dennis’s native Filipino roots and is packed with flavour. The soft egg on top adds a rich and indulgent depth to the dish when mixed through, with just the right portion size to leave you wanting more, but not too full before the main course.
We were also lucky enough to experience the Filipino BBQ chicken tails & leather jacket cheeks, quince puree, sea urchin emulsion, salmon roe, desert limes and the Kinilaw lobster, ginger, shallots, soy & cane vinegar, sweet red chili cracker from the a la carte menu. Honestly we couldn’t pick a favourite here as both were so divine. The lobster was packed with punchy sweet and sour flavours and the chicken was rich and smokey, perfect for those who are a little timid when it comes to an adventurous menu.
For the main courses we held back from ordering the ENTIRE menu (see we can exercise restraint sometimes). We tried Barramundi, mongo, barilla leaves, shaved abalone, pork chicharon; the Lamb, bunya nut puree, greens, native currant jus; the Inasal duck, mushrooms, pork liver sauce and the Beef fillet, beetroot gel, roasted beetroot, onion puree.
Obviously presentation here was simply breathtaking. The dishes, not all simply served on white crockery, have been carefully selected to ensure all the elements of the food visually popped. Again the flavour combinations on paper seemed so unusual, but worked so seamlessly on the palate; particularly the barramundi paired with pork chicharon with the subtle flavours delicious on their own, or enjoyed all at once.
And finally we of course had to indulge in dessert! This is an option for everyone by the way, for just a little extra. Let’s be fair, you’ll probably be filled to the brim by then. However, we strongly recommend engaging that second ‘dessert stomach’ we all have hiding, to ensure you get to indulge in the entire Hill of Grace dining experience (you’d really be foolish not to).
As with entree, we went all out and ordered…. every dessert on the menu. Don’t you judge us! Choosing was too hard! And so, out came the Caramel, vanilla & pineapple, camembert cheese, pickled podded radish; the Tres leche cake, kumquat marmalade, calamansi curd, calamansi sorbet, crunchy mandarin; the Toasted stout sourdough, stout & sour dough ice-cream, frosted pecans, Henschke Prue’s Verjus jelly, guava custard, marshmallow and the Deep, dark chocolate, native pepper berry ice cream, mascarpone & salted caramel ice-cream.
Each dish was just as much a treat for the eyes as it was the tastebuds; either bursting with vibrant colour or oozing sophisticated elegance. All were so incredibly different from one another that if you (unlike us) were to choose just one, they would each create a very different food experience to finish your meal.
The toasted stout sourdough was the most surprising dessert of them all, it was astonishing how such rich and powerful ingredients came together to create a playful and almost childish dish. Fun on a plate. The tres leche cake itself was divinely sticky and sweet but then the citrus elements cut through this perfectly to create a contrasting tartness. The deep dark chocolate was every inch as decadent and elegant as the ingredients allure.
The most unique was certainly the camembert-pineapple combo. You must be a cheese lover to truly appreciate this one. It doesn’t try to change or defy the ingredients flavours, the camembert tastes like cheese, the pineapple tastes like pineapple. We likened this dish to an almost ode to a cheese plate; the sweetness of the caramel and pineapple providing that fruit paste-esque element on a cheeseboard. Not quite like anything we’ve tasted in a restaurant before, and a fantasticly different way to end a meal.
We of course had to wash it all down with some Friday afternoon vino and being at the Hill of Grace restaurant it only seemed right that our choice be Henschke. We didn’t go all out and order a bottle of the restaurant’s namesake, but instead opted for the 2012 Keyneton Euphonium. A great red blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc all grown in our beautiful Barossa region.
All in all our afternoon at the Hill of Grace Restaurant was nothing short of spectacular. From the expert service to the evident skill of the back of house staff, no length was left unreached to ensure we enjoyed the full Hill of Grace experience, even at their exceptional birthday special price.
The Friday lunch special is running until the end of the month, but will undoubtedly fill out quickly, so make sure you book right away. You don’t want to miss out on this world-class dining experience, at a fraction of the deserved price.