Review by: Taren Hocking, Director – Champion Events
Having a travel and events business for the past 20 years, I am more than accustomed with the good, the bad and down right ugly of in-house hotel restaurants. For any seasoned traveller it’s pretty much a rule of thumb that, well even in the best of places, you just don’t eat in house.
Now there are, and over the years have been, exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. The hallowed days of Cheong Liew and The Grange, and Simon Bryant’s Brassiere, when South Australia produce began to be put upfront and center, are certainly our most notable exceptions. In days long gone, the opening of Shiki in the old Hyatt (yes, I have been around long enough to remember) equally delighted guests from far away and became the CBD getaway for Adelaide’s loved up couples.
When we were asked to come along last night to the preview of Redsalt’s new Summer Menu by Head Chef Fran Chidini, to be honest I wasn’t expecting much. Solid execution, yes! You don’t get to be Chef for a global brand without skill. What I didn’t expect and the reason I will return though was Chef herself. This woman has it! Has what you ask? Well simply it’s heart, but it is also the honesty to show up and be authentic about who she is and the food she creates.
So who is this underground rock star of the Adelaide dinning scene? Born Milanese, she’s earned her chefs stripes travelling the globe from London to Washington before making Adelaide her home. She believes in respecting the classics and as such French techniques are ever present. I love her take on this, that “we should remember what we were before we become who we are.” But what interests me most about Fran is her ability to, within the framework of classic execution, present honest dishes with warmth. Food that harks back to traditions handed down from her Nonna, and yes the risotto was – bellissimo al dente, exactly as it should be.
Adelaide lovers rejoice for there is finally a place you can sneak away in the CBD for a saucy weekend and not even leave your room (Fran overseas all the kitchens in house). But if you do decide to venture beyond your pillow, pop down stairs and have a meal with Fran and her team. The open kitchen makes for great entertainment and gives you an opportunity to share the experience with the Chef herself, a rare pleasure today.
The final verdict, Crowne Plaza have themselves a little a diamond in the rough, what will they do with it, that is now the question, because Fran Chidini, deserves a fitting stage.
Want to know more about Fran and the new summer menu visit – http://www.crowneplazaadelaide.com.au/2014/11/five-minutes-with-fran-head-chef/
To plan your stay or book a table go to – http://www.crowneplazaadelaide.com.au