Cliche has long been Adelaide’s premier destination for high-quality French food and with the recent revamp of their menu we were excited to see what new dishes Cliche is offering. The new menu has a much more of a Vietnamese French influence than previously had, a reflection of France’s previous involvement with Vietnam.
Entrees started with Cubique De L’Agneau which is pulled lamb shank with sugar snap peas, potato puree and chervil lamb reduction. As the name suggests, the lamb was presented artfully in the shape of a cube. The lamb reduction took away the heaviness of the meat, making it easy to eat a whole lot of this dish. The potatoes were also soaked in the delicious sauce, giving them a beautiful flavour and the snap peas acted as a fresh palette cleanser in between bites.
Our next entree was Porc Me, a crispy pork belly dish in a caramelised nahm jim dressing with peanuts and fried shallots. Despite the pork belly, this was actually quite a light, refreshing dish, reminiscent of a Vietnamese salad. The pork belly was juicy and perfectly cooked, and the addition of fried shallots and peanuts added a crunchy texture. While the sauce was tangy, there was also a lot of chilli used in the dish making it very spicy.
The final entree we tasted was Safran Ca, marinated fish goujans with coconut saffron dill sauce. The fish in this dish changes hourly, so while we were served barramundi, it might be different next time we eat at Cliche. Barramundi meat has a very earthy taste, which was sweetened by soaking it in the creamy coconut sauce.
The first main we were served was an interesting dish of prawns wrapped in cabbage. Cai Bap Crevette, as it was called, was served in another sweet, coconut broth that had the addition of tomato in it. The prawns were flavoursome and the texture created from being wrapped in cabbage made them really satisfying to chew.
Ngon Porc came next, juicy marinated pork with strong flavours of garlic and lemongrass tossed through a glass noodle salad and cabbage coated in a dijon mustard sauce. At first glance this dish looked rather like an AB, but after a little poking around we found a tender pile of noodles hidden away in the corner that strongly distinguished this dish from an AB. The ribbons of pork was spread through the salad and the noodles and cabbage added some freshness.
Cheeky Beef was the highlight of the evening, and not just for the meat, which was a rich and tender slow braised beef cheek. The meat is served with saffron eschalot, burnt onion aoli and, mostly importantly, the crispy kale. The kale was an absolute standout, really salty and crunchy and soaked up the juices from the meat to create a wonderful accompaniment to a great piece of meat. This dish was quickly devoured by the table.
The final main we dined on was Bardot’s Rump, a 300g lamb rump on a bed of white beans, carrot puree and sautéed silverbeet finish with lamb jus. The rump was cooked medium rare, the best way to enjoy beef, and spilled juices all over the plate when cut into. However, the beans didn’t really add anything to this dish and seemed to just be an extra vegetable edition to get those much needed vitamins and minerals.
When dessert was served, our minds were absolutely blown. We will be returning to Cliche as soon as our waistlines will allow it simply to indulge in these fabulous desserts. We were served three dessert dishes from the menu, though there are five on the menu plus a daily special. The Gauteau au Chocolat was a chocolate lovers dream, featuring a chocolate mousse cake covered in dark chocolate ganache with raspberry jelly, berry compote and raspberry sorbet. This dessert was indulgently rich in chocolate but the fresh sweetness and acidity of the berries cut through the chocolate, making it not too sickly.
Our Lemon Curd Souffle was excitingly fluffy and stood proudly on the table after being served hot from the oven, and barely started to deflate before we attacked it. The Lemon curd was sweet but zesty, however the soufflé itself was a little on the eggy side.
Cliche’s dessert special is possibly one of the best desserts you can find in Adelaide. The Vacherin is a magical ice cream creation featuring in-house raspberry sorbet and salted caramel ice-cream topped with passionfruit meringue, a sweet biscuit crumble and topped with fairy floss. This dessert was everything; sweetness from the fairy floss, saltiness from the salted caramel, fruitiness from the raspberry sorbet, crunchiness from the crumble and chewiness from the meringue. The ice-cream was rich and full of flavour, and when all the elements of this dish were combined it created one hell of a party in your mouth.
The wine list is small but carries a variety of wines from South Australia and France. We tried the Chevalier Monopole Methode Blanc de Blanc, a sweet and fruit sparkling from Burgundy in France that went well with many of the lighter dishes we ate. The cocktail list carries a lot of interesting original cocktails that could compete with the dishes for flavour and complexity, and we’d love to give these a try one day.
The decor of Cliche is worth a mention too, as the whole restaurant is decorated with art, painted onto canvases and the walls directly by local artists. The back wall is lined with a small fence, so customers can bring locks and attach them with the name of their loved one on there, like the Lovelock Bridge in Paris.
If you’re thinking of heading to Cliche, we recommend booking in advance as tables fill up fast and nobody likes waiting for food!