NOLA has become an institution in Adelaide for those who love beer, whiskey and soul food. But as much as we love trying
all one of the rotating sixteen beers on tap, this trip to NOLA was singularly for the purpose of sampling the menu. Pretty much the whole menu, which for $39 a head, you can do too.
The ‘Feed Me’ menu is a great way to branch out from the fried chicken NOLA has become famous for and try one of the many other southern-inspired dishes on the menu. It offers a variety of food, from seafood to meat to vegetarian, and while many people assume it’s all New Orleans style food, head chef Adam Hudson wants people to know it’s not going to be the exact same as what you’d find over there.
A lot of people come here and say it’s solely cajun and creole influenced, but it’s more than that. Here we create New Orleans inspired dishes, but we also want to stay as local as possible and we don’t have access to the same ingredients and animals as they do over there. That’s why we use meats like crocodile instead of alligator, because we can source that ethically from the Northern Territory. – Adam Hudson
Getting down to it, the first dish to come out was the fresh and light marlin tartar, mixed though with spices, capsicum and served with house-made crisps. The tartar is meant to be placed on the crisps and eaten together, providing a crunchy, salty base with a fresh fish topping.
The New Orleans Oysters came out freshly baked, topped with three cheeses; comte, pecorino romano and grana padano. Their cheesy, worcester sauce goodness warms your palette up and gets you ready for the beginning of the meat courses.
When the fried chicken came out, we knew we were in for a serious meal. NOLA’s fried chicken is hands down better than KFC, and since the kitchen is open until 2am Friday and Saturday nights they’ve been known to get an influx of drunk hooligans flooding in and ordering dozens of baskets of the stuff.
Smoked wild venison meatballs rolled onto our table, deliciously tender, topped with a zesty chimichurri and served alongside a bean and corn salad. Though we’re not usually salad fans, it was a relief to see some freshness and vegetables on the table, if only to make ourselves feel slightly better about gorging down on such decadent food!
Another reason NOLA is so well-known in Adelaide is for their gumbo and jambalaya. Both traditional New Orleans dishes, gumbo is a very thick stew, where as jambalaya is a predominantly rice dish. NOLA offers gumbo as a meat-lovers option and jambalaya as a vegetarian option. The flavours of the dish change regularly, and when we went a gumbo with chicken, bacon, sausage and prawn was being served, rich in flavour and generously filled with meaty ingredients.
Six dishes into the ‘Feed Me’ menu and we weren’t nearly done. Next came the heritage beef brisket, with sweet potato puree and baby leeks. The brisket had a good amount of fat on it to keep it juicy and moist, but not so much that all we were eating was fat. The meat pulled apart easily, and went well with the sweetness of the potato.
To finish off the savoury dishes, we were served something really exciting; crocodile ribs and crocodile sausage with blue cheese sauce. The crocodile was cooked well, not chewy at all and the ribs were slow roasted and then deep fried, making them salty, crunchy and tender.
Our palette cleanser before dessert was a creamy sweet potato custard with house made biscotti. Having never heard of sweet potato custard before, we were eager to try it out and were not disappointed. It was smooth, refreshing and sweet, but not in an overpowering, sugary way.
To finish off we indulged in a Broken Mississippi Moonshine Pie, a creative dessert that utilises some of the many whiskies NOLA has on offer. There were three elements on the plate; vanilla pudding with Ole’ Smokey Peach Moonshine in it, chilli chocolate cremosa with Ole’ Smokey Blackberry Moonshine and whiskey cream with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, served with a gooey salted caramel sauce with Ole’ Smokey Apple Pie Moonshine and sweet crumb. Though by this point we thought we couldn’t humanely eat anymore, once we tasted it, this dessert had us licking the plate to get every last drop of the pie elements and salted caramel off the plate!
For $39 a head this standard and quantity of food is phenomenal, and you’d be silly to pass it up on your next trip to NOLA, whether it’s your first time or your 400th time. If you’ve already gorged down on the ‘Feed Me’ menu, NOLA will be hosting monthly ticketed degustations where patrons will get to enjoy special one-off feasts. The first event in August is Apha Box and (S)wine, a top-to-toe pig degustation where Adam Hudson has created a menu of dishes that use parts from the whole pig, paired with wines from Alpha Box & Dice! While the first event has sold out, tickets for the September event will go on sale soon. Big Shed, Big Ocean will be the next shindig, followed by Hillbilly Hunters in October and a big Thanksgiving feast in November!