Osteria Oggi- Gluten free pasta so good, you wouldn’t know it was gluten free

Adelaide Eats, Gluten Free, Meat Eater, Restaurant Reviews

As a huge lover of all things Italian: pizza, pasta, bruschetta, cheese, lasagne and most of all garlic bread… the list goes on, becoming gluten free was a huge struggle for me. With gluten free alternatives always being at an extra cost, I have begun to avoid Italian food all together. There are alternatives in the supermarkets, but nothing comes close to the real deal, and most of the time I end up being disappointed. 

With this being said, Mum and I decided we needed to find a great Italian restaurant in Adelaide before we move on with our Australian adventure. There were actually a few restaurants in the pipeline, but we chose Osteria Oggi. I have read about this restaurant numerous times, with raving reviews and beautiful pictures, but without a menu on their website, I have always been nervous about progressing. All it took was one simple call to discover they in fact have plenty of gluten free options, including PASTA, and with this, we were sold. 

We visited Osteria Oggi at lunchtime today and were both very excited. We had only had a light breakfast, ready to indulge in a buttery, herby Italian feast. The restaurant is in the main business district, surrounded by sandwich and coffee shops, we almost walked past it- if it wasn’t for trusty Google Maps. The entrance to the restaurant is light, with a long bar and casual dining tables, however, when you walk through to the back, it opens up into a beautiful restaurant with high ceilings, seating booths and long communal dining tables. 

There was freshly baked bread on the bar, along with amazing smells of cheese, cured meats and the main attraction, pasta, filling the air. After ordering drinks to start, an Aperol spritz for myself, and a prosecco for Mum, to our surprise, we were told that there was only a tasting menu due to the proximity to Christmas. I was slightly nervous as I like to see the ingredients of meals to try and identify hidden allergens, but I had to put my trust in the staff and food preparation in the kitchen. 

Our waitress was clued up on intolerances and put my mind at ease, letting us know our set menu would be completely gluten free. We chose a three-course set, although there was also an option for five courses too. In the end, we were pleased with our decision, as we both ended up pretty stuffed. 

With our drinks, we were given bread and olives. The bread was from the freshly baked loafs on the bar, served with delicious oil. Although this was not gluten free, Mum assured me it was delicious- nothing like rubbing it in hey?! I did munch my way through most of the green olives though, they were also very tasty.

Our first plate was a king fish carpaccio with grapefruit and radish. The fish, native to South Australia, was incredibly flavoursome and paired perfectly with the slightly sharp flavours of the grapefruit. The radish added texture to the dish, which otherwise, melted in your mouth. I was really pleasantly surprised by this and would definitely order it again if I saw it on another menu. 

The second plate was not quite to my liking, but it required a lot of cooking skill and smelled amazing. The base of the dish was a cheese flan, which is very similar to a soufflé, topped with meaty, rich Bolognese. The Bolognese was delicious, and I did have a couple of big spoons of this, leaving the flan to Mum. She loved it. 

Following the cheese flan, we were bought an orange and fennel salad as a palette cleanser, before our mains arrived. The salad had a balsamic glaze with fresh basil and pine nuts, along with radicchio lettuce and ricotta cheese. The sweet perfectly balanced with the tangy balsamic, and the soft ricotta was subtle but delicious.  

There was a short wait between these dishes and the pasta, which was actually well received, as we needed some breathing time, and maybe some time to have another wine or two. This also gave us time to take in our surroundings, and mainly spy on what the other tables were eating. Large parties were sharing four or five different types of pastas, others with plates of cured meats and cheese. 

Eventually it was our turn, with 2 plates of sausage pasta placed in front of us. One with gluten free rigatoni pasta, and Mum’s with curly pasta. I am pretty sure ‘curly pasta’ is the specific Italian name! Along with the pasta and sausage, there was also more fennel, chilli and a lot of delicious rich butter. Although this meal may have not been good on the hips, it was certainly a treat for the taste buds. It took me back to previous Italian holidays with Mum and Dad. 

The gluten free pasta was delicious, and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell it apart from any other pasta they were serving, in terms of appearance. Mum said there was little to no difference in the taste either. All the pasta is made daily in house, and you could tell it was amazing quality. If I could buy bags and bags direct from the kitchen, I certainly would.

The food was rustic and relaxed, whilst also being incredibly stylish, an amazing combination. This description can also be extended to the dining experience as a whole. The staff were calm, yet also attentive, making our time at Osteria Oggi enjoyable to say the least. 

Sadly, our only grumble was that there wasn’t any tiramisu soft serve ice cream for pudding. However, after all the carbs, maybe we didn’t really need ice cream too?! This won’t be stopping me from returning, I can’t wait to try the full menu after Christmas. 

Roxie’s Garden Bar and Eatery- A Hidden Gem

Adelaide Eats, Gluten Free, Meat Eater, Restaurant Reviews, Veggie Dishes

It isn’t often I write a restaurant review anymore, however, after a trip to Roxie’s today, I felt inspired to do so. 

Set slightly further afield than the main streets of Adelaide’s CBD, we came across Roxie’s purely by chance, on our way back from Flinders Street Christmas Market. I must say, a Christmas market in 25+ degree weather is very weird, but it meant we were looking for somewhere in the sun for a bit of lunch. 

Roxie’s was like a Mediterranean tardis- unassuming from the outside, but once you’re through the gate it’s a tropical garden with amazing character and atmosphere. 

To our surprise we were the only people there, however, this did mean we got full pick of all the seating options. High tables, benches, stools, chairs, in the sun, in the shade, everything you could imagine. 

The food and drinks are ordered separately, and after a quick scan on the menu, we placed a food order, followed by drinks. Although the menu wasn’t extensive, there were delicious choices, and intriguing pairings of ingredients. Which, I guess, is why I have been inspired to write this blog; the food excited me.

To drink we opted for something refreshing… and alcoholic. I haven’t been drinking since I had my wisdom teeth out, so I eased back in gently with a Pimms spritz; fruity and delicious! Mum chose an Australian Riesling, perfect on a hot sunny day. 

Now onto the main attraction… the food. We selected three plates to share. Mum chose the Croquetas from the tapas section of the menu, which both looked, and smelled, amazing- but sadly they weren’t gluten free. The croquetas were served with delicious aoli too, which I did try! 

Croquetas

Along with the croquetas, we ordered a broccoli dish from the grill section, and the special pizza with a gluten free base. The broccoli, for me, was the best dish! With a super garlicy sauce, almonds, hazelnuts, egg and herbs, it was crunchy and delicious, with a smoky finish from the grill. I was unsure about the egg, but it worked so well with the other ingredients, a really clever dish. 

The pizza special was crispy and just the right amount of greasy. The toppings were mortadella ham, green olives and mozzarella. I do normally like my pizzas to have the tomato element, but I really didn’t notice it missing. I took a couple of slices we had leftover to have as a snack as we walked around Adelaide Zoo. 

If the food, drink, atmosphere and surroundings aren’t selling points enough, the staff were also great. Both behind the bar and in the kitchen, the staff were amazingly friendly, helpful and chatty, and really added to our dining experience. I imagine Roxie’s gets super busy, and it seems a great location for a summer party, or a casual beer after work. 

Like I have said, everything was great, and I will certainly be returning. It is definitely worth veering off from the usual track, away from Hindley Street and Rundle Mall. 

My weekly shop at Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Eats

Food shopping since I have been in Australia has mainly consisted of constantly trying to work out the exchange rate, desperately remembering ingredients and figuring out how to carry everything home on the bus. I decided I had to make a change, become more organised with both my time and money, and stop eating like a pig. My morning today began with a lovely trip to Adelaide Central Market to buy my ingredients for the week (and a bit more) ahead.

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Creating a meal plan not only allows you to be precise with your shopping list, but it reduces food waste and also saves money. My budget here has to be slightly higher than at home, but I will include the AUD as well as the GBP conversion.

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Meal Plan

I found it surprising here how expensive veg and fresh produce was in supermarkets as Australia is very self-sufficient in terms of production, however, to my surprise, I found much better deals at the central market.

The Central Market has over 70 traders ranging from fruit, to nuts, to seafood and bakery items, along with lovely cafes and eateries. The market also has a mission to operate sustainably whilst producing a cultural shopping experience- which I think is better than a huge supermarket. Also, the market had free tastes… winner winner chicken dinner. I purchased quite a few items from Chinese stalls as well as Australian; I feel I had a good mix of culture.

Going to the market was great because I was able to chop and change some of my ingredients depending on what was in season, and on offer. I swapped my normal chestnut mushrooms for enoki mushrooms, which will be great for stir-fries. Also, one of the stalls was selling curry dhal mix which you make by just adding water- really easy and perfect for these chilly Australian evenings, but not something I had thought of purchasing before.

I must add I did have to go to a supermarket for a few bits after my market haul, mainly for tinned tomatoes, tuna and GF bread rolls. Below you can see the extent of my purchases. Although I didn’t keep track exactly of how much I was spending, the overall trip cost around $55, equivalent to just over £30, which is not too bad for over a week’s shopping I don’t think.

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Food Haul!

fullsizeoutput_217e.jpegMy meal plan started yesterday with leftover sausage bake for lunch, and chicken pasta after lacrosse (I got back quite late, so I needed something quick and filling). For today’s lunch I also had my feta salad, and this evening after the gym I will make barramundi, peas and rice with a garlic, lemon mayo.

Throughout the rest of the week I will be uploading short recipes of the meals I make.  I have to keep everything quite simple here because I don’t have a selection of amazing utensils, dishes and cooking equipment like I had in Brighton. However, this is good because all of the meals I make will be easy and quick- perfect after work, Uni or school.

Watch this space x