As part of the Tasting Australia ‘feast’-ivities last week, The Adelaidian was invited to a delightful dinner at Sean’s Kitchen in the company of renowned chef and River Cottage Australia star, Paul West, or as he’d refer to himself, ‘Westyyyy’. Featuring a number of entrees, mains and desserts to share paired with our own choice of two matching beverages for each course, the feast was thoroughly grand to say the least.
Paul and Chef Sean Connolly were undoubtedly the ultimate dynamic duo to host the evening’s entertainment, cracking jokes and teasing the audience (and one another) playfully throughout the duration of dinner. Hearing Paul’s dramatic yet humorous stories alongside his incredibly animated presence was more than enough to keep us intrigued and anticipating what was to come. The guy was seriously so hilarious we were actually left surprised he isn’t performing comedy as a side job to his cooking. Indeed, we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more; the fact that we completely lost track of time completely and ended up hanging around ’til late certainly proved testament to this!
With a key focus on native ingredients, we were introduced to our first three dishes from the entrees selection, each comprised primarily of locally sourced goods. The introduction saw Pork Terrine, Grilled Octopus and Pissaladière make an appearance on our table, each one presented in a visually aesthetic way that made us want to instantly devour everything in sight. Alas, we had to hold ourselves back to give everyone else on the table a chance, too!
We have always had a thing for octopus. Ever since that one time in Mykonos, Greece where we were both dying over the perfect grilled octopus platter (yes, perfect), we have never quite found anything that matched up to its utter flawlessness. Last week, however, Paul and Sean’s creation stood as some strong competition. This wood-fire grilled octopus came sliced and diced, served cold with radish, peas and grilled lemon on the side. It was like a light and fresh octopus salad with zingy lemon citrus, yet still relatively filling too, particularly with the addition of sliced roast potato.
This Country-Style Pork Terrine was the major entree filler, with a heavy density and dangerously more-ish characteristics. It came bacon-wrapped, and who doesn’t love any sort of food item wrapped in bacon!? Pickles, mustard and artisan sourdough complimented the terrine, making it a glorious antipasto-style treat.
Vegetarians were not left out as Paul and Sean ensured their patrons were offered a meat-free alternative, the Vegetarian Pissaladière. The smoked red onion topping was rich and thick, with added tangy baby capers and caper leaves. Paired with our three entrees, we sipped on the Barrel-Aged Settlers Gin and Tonic from McLaren Vale, infused with Thyme and Orange.
Mains were hearty and significantly earthy, consisting of Chicken, Beef Ribs and Risotto dishes. The BBQ’d Saskia Beer Chicken was perhaps one of the most exquisite chicken dishes we’ve tried in a while. Neither of us are particularly die-hard fans of chicken unless it’s deep-fried with crispy skin; however, while this chicken was quite the opposite, it managed to fulfill a juicy texture and soft tenderness that we’ve never quite experienced before in a chicken dish. The flavours of green tahina sauce, buttery goodness and mild beer tones were infused into the meat itself… it was pure glory and a definite favourite of the night.
Similarly, the Grass-Fed Angus Pure OP Rib was cooked to perfection. It was simple and earthy in flavour, sticking to the theme of native ingredients with locally sourced Angus beef, and accompanied with fresh horseradish if you craved an extra flavour hit. Everyone loves a good steak, and Sean and Paul certainly catered to that.
We could bang on forever about the Butternut Pumpkin Risotto. It was made of a perfect consistency and reminded us of a healthier, more wholesome version of mac and cheese. This dish was served with pepitas and ever so thinly shaved parmesan cheese on top, presented in a tall, plastic tube which was slowly removed to reveal the gooey, runny goodness that is butternut pumpkin risotto… it was probably the most popular around the table!
Beverage pairing offered a red or white; either The Other Wine Co Pinot Gris or the Jericho Syrah from the Adelaide Hills. On the side of all of this, we were also provided plates of Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli and Walnut Salad. While light and simple, we were beyond pleasantly shocked that Paul and Sean managed to make even brussel sprouts taste good. If that doesn’t speak talent, then we don’t know what does.
After a long and arduous task (not really) of consuming all of these culinary delights, we were finally treated to the sweets: an Apple Tarte Tatin served with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and Chocolate Semifreddo sprinkled with pistachio praline. Guests either chose to pair their desserts with a Big Shed Brewing Golden Stout Time which amazingly tastes like a Golden Gaytime or the By Jingo! Dolce Dolce Fortified Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.