It has taken quite some time to get my hands on copies of The Advertiser Weekend Delicious 100. In the meantime, watching social media posts, as restaurants and cafes acknowledged their entry onto this list [and their entry point onto the list], with each acknowledgement I became more and more curious because it seemed to be a bizarre list. Now that I have read the entire 100, it is indeed a very strange list, especially so because it is almost impossible to navigate.

It is astonishing to find my choice for one of Adelaide’s most delicious restaurants, if ‘delicious’ is the criteria, The Jasmin Indian Restaurant is at number 63.

Equally it can be said that establishments like Restaurant Botanic, Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Arkhé and Aurora and Fino Vino must find it puzzling to be lumped with Topiary and Press, both recommendable but in a different league altogether, as are many in the first 50. Equally these high-end restaurants should be incensed to be called “eateries” when hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in everything from their environment, wine lists, glassware, accoutrements, and kitchens and in some cases a percentage of staff who have been recruited from a world stage and paid accordingly.

Kitchen door Arpège, Paris 2018 click here for the review.

Café du Palais, Reims, France 2018 click here for the review

doing a
seems to

Doing a list seems to be an attempt to mimic the highly acclaimed S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna ‘The World’s Best 50 Restaurants’, that extends to 100. However, what this Adelaide guide has not grasped is the difference between their list and ‘The World’s Best 50 Restaurants’, is that the restaurants included in this prestigious list also totalling 100, are mainly on a par with each other. They have incredible locations, superb accoutrements, stunning glassware, wine lists to die for and sommeliers, so accomplished that they will know every bottle in their cellars, even when their cellars can boast up to 60,000 bottles. Adding to that, if they have flowers, they are perfect, never half dead in obviously dirty water and their toilets are in immaculate condition during the restaurant’s entire service period. Then comes the service…. trained, obsessive industry professionals, very frequently speaking several languages…. working in a team conducted as skilfully as one of the world’s great orchestras by a restaurant manager and maître de. On top of all that, these restaurants frequently have their own produce gardens, or at the very least intimately know and support their producers, who in turn deliver the best that the region – and often the world – has to offer to their kitchen doors. This list especially celebrates the ingenuity of the chef and their kitchen team. I remain strongly opposed to their ‘Best Female Chef’ award, which demeans the strength and ingenuity of female chefs. In praise of equality, I have been unsuccessfully suggesting they remove it for years.

So, in what way does this Adelaide list give a nod to any of the above? Absolutely none! A new Adelaide/South Australian restaurant guide would be a great idea, but to lump together expensive venues with modest venues (no matter how good they are), is to do the diner and the establishment a disservice. Anyone coming from Europe or the eastern states looking at the top 50 would consider them to be high ranking, offering at least some of the elements of these international awards, when in fact some of them are small and simple local cafes, most recommendable but they would be much better served as a group of their own towards the end of the 100. Some we love and have eaten at several times; some we have eaten at and would not recommend; some we have never eaten at but are on our list, and others we have no plans to visit, having been warned off by friends and colleagues whose opinion we respect. How is the novice diner, even the experienced diner, supposed to navigate this list?

I think The Advertiser SA WEEKEND Delicious 100 offers a disservice to both diners and restaurants/cafes alike. Before getting my hands on a hard copy, I thought that there is only one way to make a fair list of this type if ‘deliciousness’ is the only criteria, and that is by alphabetical order. But, in hindsight, having read and re-read the list several times now, I cannot find any sense to that idea either. There are many on the list whose placing, in my humble opinion, is plain wrong, and this includes many in the first 50. Can we assume service was not factored into the review, and if not, why not? As an example, several in the first 50 have some of the worst service to be found in Adelaide and raffling the food at the table is common, sufficiently awful as to make the dining experience excruciating.… more


The introduction, and I quote from Wilkinson’s editorial in the issue containing 50-100: [1]

“You will find many of the venues at this end of the list champion an accessible style of dining that encourages regular visits, rather than demanding a significant commitment of time or expense.
Hopefully, that will encourage you to make a booking and support an industry that has been challenged constantly over the past few years but continues to play a key role in the state’s economy and enviable lifestyle. Above all, then, this year’s delicious 100 is a celebration of the hard work, resilience and unbounded creativity of all our restaurants.”

And then I quote again from Wilkinson’s editorial in the issue containing 1-50: [2]

“The list is headed by a restaurant that is not only a clear standout among its peers in SA but, we believe, comfortably sits among the absolute elite in this country – a view supported by the extraordinary number of interstate travellers dining at tables.
It is followed by a wonderfully diverse selection of eateries, covering many different styles of food and service, as well as a variety of budgets, an important consideration at this time.
The common factor is that they all deliver what they promise, whether that is exquisite cooking, a thrilling adventure, genuine hospitality, fun and frivolity – or, hopefully all of the above.”

Although the reviewers are listed, we have absolutely no confirmation in the publication of their credentials as restaurant, or in Wilkinson’s words, “eatery” reviewers. One must look for this, and we have done so for those we didn’t know. Simon Wilkinson, David Sly and Tony Love have all been editors of the Food and Wine section in the Adelaide Advertiser and all have been my editor at some stage during the 10 years I wrote a weekly feature for the Advertiser Food and Wine pages. I learned a lot about writing from Simon Wilkinson and like to think he learned quite a lot about food and restaurants from me. All are now freelance writers, and Tony Love during his time at the Advertiser shifted to wine writing and continues to work as a successful wine writer on a freelance basis. Wilkinson continues to write a weekly restaurant review for The Advertiser weekend. Dianne Mattsson has now been with the Food and Wine section for many years, and, to be fair, if you send her information about an event she will find a way to mention it in the pages. Mattsson also attends many, many events – most of which cannot be all that much fun. Christine McCabe wrote restaurant reviews for The Australian until John Lethlean took over sole responsibility many years ago. He writes their weekly restaurant review to this day. Jessica Galletly is Lifestyle, Food and Wine Editor for The Advertiser and Sunday Mail, and editor of delicious.SA. Katelin Nelligan is current deputy digital editor at The Advertiser., with 13 years of experience in the South Australian media industry. She claims strengths in content creation and curation, high-level copywriting and editing skills, mentoring and people management, and strategic planning and project management., plus previous experience in marketing, website development and public relations. Cameron England is the Business Editor at Newscorp, Adelaide. Nathan Davies seems to be an accountant and financial advisor. Antimo Ianella is an Adelaide-based print and online journalist with The Advertiser, News, since 2007., with special interest in sport, entertainment, and events. Where, amongst the last five reviewers, is the expert voice with first-hand knowledge of food and wine and restaurants who might have helped make sense of the order and content of the Delicious 100? Where are these available editorial skills used?

It is not easy to write a succinct review in just 220 words, however, a good editor might have put a red pencil through a lot of random word wasting, in particular pointless music references that could have been better spent commenting on the venue. The lack of categories that would make clear where the establishment sits in the scheme of things is bad enough, but the mainly absent wine list information and completely absent BYO information is even worse. Can you bring a decent bottle or two, or not, and what is the corkage rather than get into an argument when you arrive with a couple of good bottles?? The method of price notation in such a random list is lazy and could surely have been more accurately indicated on each review.
Lastly, what would be wrong with adding each reviewer’s initials to the reviews?

[1] The Advertiser WEEKEND delicious 100… 50-100 July 30-31, 2022

[2]  The Advertiser WEEKEND delicious 100… 1-50 August 6-7, 2022

is the

Criteria is an obligation taken very seriously by the great guides and lists of the world, equally the appropriateness of the reviewers is regarded as an obligation. That they are knowledgeable about food, wine and service are a given. The Guide Michelin, is still highly respected and clearly lays out their criteria for reviewers and reviewing click here. Especially interesting S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna ‘The World’s Best 50 reviewing criteria is also very succinctly laid out click here . It should be noted 34% are chefs and restaurateurs.

My restaurant reviews are very occasional these days, as, when self-funded, it is an extremely expensive process, albeit one taken very seriously. You may be interested to read the criteria and reviewing obligations at cuisine-extreme



in search of perfection

one dish a
perfect dish

We are not afraid to recommend a single dish, often,
a single dish is the only reason to go to an establishment.

Hsin Fortuna is one of those establishments, where, in search of Mapo Tofu we found Adelaide’s best offering click here