When Kat O’Doherty and Darren Gitsham took over the Crown & Sceptre a couple of years ago, they had a clear vision in mind for the sort of hotel they wanted to create. Food was one of the cornerstones of their community ethos, and with winter firmly set in we were hosted recently by the Sceptre to see how their new menu fits amongst the laid back, welcoming atmosphere.
Moving easily between classic hotel food and dishes that might surprise, like traditional Balinese Duck Curry as an example. With pickled cucumber and the usual chili and shallot sambal with crispy fried garlic and fresh lime, the duck meat is succulent and falls straight off the bone. The seasoning is just right allowing for the rich, characteristic flavour of the meat to stand out in the dish. The pickled cucumber was actually quite spicy and is a bit of an attention seeker away from the duck, but when added sparingly to your bites, with the fresh coriander and chilli garnish, the flavours compliment perfectly. This curry is a standout meal on the menu.Slow Roasted Pork Belly truly has come into it’s own across the city in recent time. The Sceptre’s style utilises a ginger and spring onion congee for it’s base (which we’d liken to a warming savoury porridge). It’s executed well in this dish, with the ginger and spring onion combining to make it flavoursome and also refreshing. The toasted peanuts are hidden in the congee and provide textural difference which is so important in a dish like this, where the meat is tender but it doesn’t fall apart quite like the duck. The shitake mushrooms also offer plenty of flavour against but for us the sweet and the softer meat could use a crispy, fresh garnish – even just an iceberg lettuce leaf – to knock it up a notch.
Falafels are the eternal hit and miss meal; so when you find a good one you must stick with it. The Crown and Sceptre, for their effort, are on their way to making it a hit. The falafels are moist, which is unexpected as so often they are cooked to within an inch of a mouthful of sand in a desert. The tabouli has an intriguing flavour and isn’t what you’d usually experience when eating it. The house made dips are good if baba ganoush is your bag and you should give the smoky eggplant a run for it’s money. The tzatziki is fresh and compliments the falafels nicely, while the grilled pita bread offers that extra option for the dip and is a welcome addition.
Washed down with some hearty beers, a red wine or best enjoyed alongside some live entertainment, these are dishes that are immediately at home in the space. We noted on our previous visit that the Crown & Sceptre were eager to focus upon bringing a bit of the best of everything together, including food. And when you think about, which small bars or new venues can boast that they offer a bit of the best everything? Now, there’s a point of difference.
The Crown & Sceptre is located at 308 King William St, Adelaide. For more information on their menu, functions and entertainment visit their website, or follow them on Facebook & Instagram. You can dine from Monday to Friday between 12-3pm and 4-9pm and on Saturdays from 5-9pm.