Located in the luxurious Hilton Hotel on Victoria Square, Coal Cellar + Grill brings you the best of South Australian produce with the utmost exquisite selection of dishes and wines.
This time last week, we were invited to taste Coal’s latest menu, sampling a set of five gourmet entrees, six delectable mains alongside a couple of sides, and four rich desserts.
With each meal, we were offered a diverse number of fine wines coming from South Australian wine regions McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Coonawarra. Coal host their own impressive cellar, encompassing 3000 wines and over 500 different types of wines, so there was no disappointment in beverages on offer.
For our starters, we first tried the Squid Ink Ocean Trout, which came out in a delicate, sphere glass frame holding in smoke so the trout could absorb a real potent smokey flavour. When lifted, the smoke escapes from the glass frame in a beautiful swirl after dispersing into the atmosphere – truly a unique and memorable dish. Infusing horseradish creme fraiche and beetroot, as well as lemon myrtle tapioca, this trout was a delight to taste test.
We moved on to another seafood option, the Seared Kingfish, boasting a somewhat Thai-inspired flavour with the use of lime leaf and thai basil, roasted peanuts and fragrant potato. As a huge fan of Thai ourselves, the kingfish was a surefire favourite, and our table’s favourite too.
A lot of people may be scared off by the thought of raw meat; I know when I had first discovered raw meat tartare, I was certainly afraid to try it. However, now well acquainted to tartare (especially after attempting to finish an entire, thick patty of the stuff at a restaurant just off the Champs-Eleysees in France), I was excited to see what Coal had done with their Tartare entree. The tartare was a handcut Grade 9 wagyu meat from Mayura Station on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and came out in a patty (similar to the one in France, but actually edible-sized this time) with a bright orange egg yolk scraped out from the whites of the egg and placed gracefully on top. Served alongside roast bone marrow cream, chives and capers, the tartare was used as an elegant dip for some bread crisps on the side and was definitely my personal favourite. The texture of the egg really added to the entire dish, making for a smooth and creamy finish.
A lighter dish, the Watermelon ‘steak’, was the perfect way to finish our entrees, served up with apple, pistachio crumble and feta from Kris Lloyd Woodside Cheeses in the Adelaide Hills. The watermelon itself is marinated in sangria made in-house, giving it some bittersweet notes and a firm, almost crunchy texture.
The mains were heavily meaty, including Wagyu Rump, Lamb Cutlets and a Tomahawk Steak as well as seafood such as Barramundi and the Prawn Skewers.
The Tomahawk steak was a deluxe, aesthetically-appealing meat offered on a lengthy bone as a treat to the eyes, not only the tastebuds! Recommended for two, the certified Angus pure grassfed beef holco is offered with a side dip of house-made, aged stout mustard, developed over a 6 week process. Choose to eat it using a sophisticated knife-and-fork approach or perhaps try picking it up by its bone… be aware its rather heavy and you will most definitely look like a caveman trying to eat it this way. Best be sticking to the knife and fork!
Pescatarians have the option of whole baby barramundi from Robe, cleaned in natural artisian water over 100o’s of years old. Sounds extravagant, right? Or if that’s not to your liking, the other seafood main is charred SA Gulf prawn skewers served with house-made perri-perri basting. Delicious!
As for the vegetarians, a tasty Conchiglie Pasta was the go, made with with roasted butternut, pumpkin seed pestor, bok choy and ginger crumble. The sides are also vegetarian-friendly, offering charred hole corn with roasted jalapenos, lime zest, mint butter and pecorino and heavenly creamy mashed potatoes. Green asparagus is the meatlovers choice of side, served with parma ham crumbs and hollandaise.
Coal expressed their love for shared food, and wanted to make this concept apparent with their dessert offerings, encouraging us to view the desserts as ‘shared’ rather than per person. To add, all desserts and their elements are made in-house in Coal’s very own pastry kitchen.
The dessert menu covered sweet treats like the Creme Brulee with raspberry, pine nut and basil, Strawberries and Cream with vanilla ice cream, hazelnut pastry and strawberry sauce, Jaffa Fondant with blood orange ice cream and yoghurt crisps and a fun twist on the favourite classic Bombe Alaska, cleverly re-named the Bombe “Australiana”, with lemon myrtle, macadamia praline, wattle seed ice cream and Davidson plum sorbet.
To finish, I must deduce a favourite wine for the night as well, and I would have to say it was the final ’12 Hollick ‘The Nectar’ dessert wine from Coonawarra without a doubt. Going back for a third or fourth glass of this sweet, sweet nectar (who knows by this point), the flavour was so rich and inviting, and it was the perfect beverage to settle my stomach after all that food!
Coal, we absolutely cannot wait to come back. The staff, the surroundings and, of course, the food and wine were all extremely satisfying, and I would definitely pick Coal as my next date destination or birthday dinner outing. With a separate room free to book (providing you have the numbers), Coal really is the ultimate restaurant to bring your family, friends and loved ones together to share some delectable, gourmet dishes for a night of food, fine wine and relaxation.