AND WE DRANK
38 Murray Street,
South Australia 5253
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OWNER SOMMELIER – Grant Dickson
FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER – Chalie Schultz
CHEF – Sam Smith – assisted by Emily Thomas
Thursday 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
Friday 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
Saturday 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
Sunday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
Monday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
POSTED SEPTEMBER 29 2023
Muted as a cellar door/bottle shop and bar, you need to look hard to find food on the Otherness website. In fact, on their home page not a single picture of food or of women. This hardly does justice or places sufficient importance on their dining experience. Listing Otherness as a bar is not the right description. I think of a bar as a high bench with some stool seating in front and opportunity to pester the bar person. Yes there is a bottle shop element with an erudite moderately sized list that encompasses Australian and Barossan genius with a terrific smattering of wisely selected internationals including Champagnes. Yes, there is the opportunity for wine education and regular tastings…but it is the dining experience that is par excellence here.
It should not surprise anyone to find that Grant Dickson owns Otherness. A world class musician, he worked for Rockford Wines for years, stepped briefly into the restaurant world at another location to now be sole owner at Otherness. It takes guts, passion and integrity to take on what is, a large, somewhat awkward space in the main street in Angaston that was initially intended as a bakery. The baker still uses the facility a couple of nights a week and does make the excellent light sour dough bread served at Otherness. Hardly massed passing trade. The lack of Chinese tourists has hit all the South Australian wine regions hard. It is large and light space and tables are well spaced.
Finding such intelligent restrained food perfectly match to wine is rare in South Australia. Chef Sam Smith comes with excellent provenance having worked with David Swain at Fino for some years. Like Swain Smith’s focus is finding the best in-season produce and treating it with respect. Peculiarly, Smith looks a little like Swain. I love this sort of food.
The Barossa is not blessed with amazing vegetable gardens, apart of course, from the Famous Rockford Krondorf Garden, and Smith sources much of his produce from a Pasinetti Produce in nearby Virginia. Virginia is truly Adelaide and the Barossa’s food bowl, and we are lucky to have it in such close proximity.
So, let’s get down to it. Staff are very familiar with food and wine, but Dickson is mainly there and my suggestion with wine is to give Dickson a budget, explain bottle or glasses, and don’t be coy it can be a little or a lot without judgement and put yourself in his hands. Mark-ups are modest and their list loaded with jewels.
We did lunch and enjoyed everything that was put in front of us with one small nit-picking exception the Peanut & Lime Leaf Kerupuk. This is Indonesian street food, cooked on the street and eaten immediately…it was a poor fit against the excellence of the rest of the dishes we were lucky enough to eat.
The bread, a first-rate light sour dough made by their co-tenant baker, had a great crust, and was accompanied with a generous amount of the Barossan Dairy Man’s butter. It may surprise many to find that excellent seafood can be found in a landlocked region but the seafood at Otherness is par excellence. To start Gazander Oysters Mignonette shucked to order…happy to wait…they were divine! This is the classic French au naturel, shallot in wine vinegar.
Next Mulloway, Coconut & Lime Ceviche $20 subtle and perfectly seasoned, exquisitely fresh fish just set in the ceviche lime juice and coconut milk, coriander, a little red onion and the perfectly restrained balanced amount of chilli.
Perhaps the pièce de résistance for us was the Whole Globe Artichoke & Bagna Cauda $16. In the early 80s I tried to serve whole artichokes in the same manner to see them, despite the explanation of how to approach them, be sent back to the kitchen one after the other by dissatisfied diners. Forty years later we are much better educated diners and the artichokes were attacked with great delight. This was a fantastic dish. Light on the anchovies with the wonderful crunch of the pangratatto, …just heaven! If you are an anchovy hater I am sure the kitchen could find you and alternative sauce.
GAZANDER OYSTERS MIGNONETTE
MULLOWAY, COCONUT & LIME CEVICHE
WHOLE GLOBE ARTICHOKE & BAGNA CAUDA
Above …Asparagus & Toum with Chopped Egg, Green Olive & Almond $24 was incredibly generous and perfection with the lovely lemony garlicky Toum [a Middle Eastern staple often found in Hummus] balanced with the olives and crunch of the chopped almonds.
Blow …Garfish a la Meunier $22 the French classic was perfectly executed, loaded with capers, parsley and a perfect lemon beurre blanc…delicious!
DRY AGED SCOTCH FILLET & ANCHOVY BUTTER AND AT THE BACK PUNTARELLE, FENNEL & MUSTARD SALAD
CHEF SAM SMITH [AND YES DOES’T HE LOOK LIKE DAVID SWAINE!!]
love your local
As if we hadn’t already had enough, the order of a single Dry Aged Scotch Fillet & Anchovy Butter $60 came as two portions. We groaned and then proceeded to demolish the lot…it was so good! Scotch can be a bit unpleasantly sloppy in texture unless is it properly hung. One of my many pet hates is a miserly disk of flavoured butter that comes with most steaks in Adelaide. Always insufficient for the portion of the steak. This was faultless, topped with a generous layer of the anchovy butter that completely covered the steak and finely chopped chives. I have never seen Puntarelle in any menu other than some of my own, and was delighted to see Puntarelle, Fennel Mustard Salad $14…more ecstasy.
Despite not being able to eat another morsel, and only because it looked so delicious, we did watch the neighbouring table a little enviously. They were enjoying Braised Beef Shin with Fregola Agrodolce $32. The female of the pair refusing to share the bone marrow, picked up the bone in her hands and sucked the marrow out. Go girl!
We had eaten so much the idea of dessert just could not be countenanced, but we have no reason not to assume they would not be of an equal standard.
Otherness might have a simple environment, but the dining offering at Otherness both food and wine and service is as smart and sophisticated as any you could hope to find anywhere.
and when you’re leaving
Don’t forget to duck into the butchers almost next door. Smokehouse Barossa Butchers and grab yourself some of their very own par excellence Jagerbraten and a stick of the very good Mt. Pleasant Butcher Traditionally Woodsmoked Garlic Metwurst.
I realised that I had taken pictures in their smokehouse more than thirty years ago. On smoking days, walking to their shop door, you may still be assailed by the divine perfume of meats being traditionally smoked with red gum at the back of their shop.
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