Adelaide: Day 1

my last church photo

So yes… It’s a church. What can I say, there really are a lot of churches in Adelaide. Not all of them are particularly photograph worthy, but as a concession to church lovers the world over, here are my first and last church photos. I know I’ve been slack about updating the site with all the news and happenings in South Australia, but if you’re been around for any length of time you’d realise it was completely inevitable… The fact that I had a couple of thousand photos to sift through alone should be a good enough indication as to why my procrastination has been so pronounced.

So after a relatively short flight from Perth on that stunningly cheap (in every way) airline Virgin Blue, we arrived in Adelaide. The basic plan was to spend some time with my friends Paul and Kara (who were getting married), and Sharon’s friends Serena and Chris, as well as fit in as much good wine and good food as was humanly possible.

After being picked up at the airport by Paul and Kara, and bewildering them with my need to bring my entire knife set with me (because you just never know when a spontaneous dinner party is going to break out). We had a quick lunch and wandered around the streets of suburbia. I have no idea where we were as I was still almost completely disoriented, but my initial reaction was that it seemed like a big country town. Which is not a bad thing if you like country towns of course :)

Later that evening, after unwinding and becoming acquainted with Kara’s miniature schnauzer Ebby (who had an unnatural fascination with my feet), we decided to try out the first place on my list of recommendations, Good Life Organic Pizza. This one came from Kam and Louise of Fiori fame, who had many good things to say about reasonably priced tasty pizza, and an excellent list of wines.

Good Life - Modern Organic Pizza

I’m happy to say they weren’t mistaken. We ordered the roast organic vegetable pizza, the Angaston spicy salami pizza,
(with organic kalamata olives, organic red onion, fresh baby bocconcini and basil), and the Free-range roasted duck
with shitake mushroom and spring onion ginger jam ! Oh boy… they were all so very good. My personal fav was most likely the duck pizza, however the roast vege one did a great job of making me forget about my carnivorous tendencies for a while.

Duck and Shitake Mushroom Pizza

We also ordered a bottle of Geoff Hardy’s K1 Cabernet/Tempranillo, starting a trend that would continue throughout the week of consuming vast quantities of great wine (in moderation of course – one after another :) ).

The service was casual and the staff did a good job of sounding genuine in their concern for all things organic, which was also nice. It was also nice to be having dinner with my good friend Paul, one of the nicest guys I know, and one of the few people on this world that I know can eat more than I do. I happily left him the last piece of pizza as we slowly eased our way into holiday mode, ready for the rest of the week.

First & Last Night at Il Pasto

A week or two ago, late on a Sunday night in Perth (about 8pm), Sharon and I were doing our usual trick of finding restaurants to be turned away from due to the kitchen being closed. Having not been turned away from many restaurants in Mt Hawthorn recently, we thought we’d try there for a change.

So cruising down to the end of the ubiquitously named Oxford St, we happened across a little pizza bar called Il Pasto. Finding out that yes indeed it was still open, we headed inside for a pizza, and possibly the strangest experience I’ve had in a restaurant for a while.

Arriving at the counter, we were slightly suprised to see the chef sitting out in the restaurant eating a pizza, while people were packing boxes around him. He quickly explained that this was actually the last night that Il Pasto was going to be in operation. They had recently sold the business to another operator, who was going to be opening up a Japanese restaurant at the site. He also explained that we were welcome to stay as long as we didn’t mind people packing boxes around us, and that there was only one pizza left. I took that to mean that there was only one type of pizza left, because they’d packed all the ingredients away…but soon realised it meant that there was literally one piece of pizza dough left from which it they could make us a pizza. So we literally had the last pizza ever in that restaurant.

So straight away the atmosphere was strange. Instead of customers we felt like we were friends who had somehow been roped into helping someone move. In part because they were so friendly. Carlo (the chef) and Sandra (his girlfriend) chatted away to us like we were old mates. We ordered a quattro with cacciatore sausage, sun dried tomatoes, mushroom, and artichoke, and bought a bottle of Pizzini Sangiovese, which was a steal at $20 (which is very likely cheaper than retail).

That was the other thing… everything was for sale… and cheap. The chairs, the tables, the book case, the olive oil, the wine, all of it. Carlo’s Dad was chatting to Sharon about how we was a bit sad the restaurant was closing… “but ahh these Japanesey” he said… “they makea good offer”. He was pottering around the store, packing things into boxes, at one point showing me into the store room to ask me if i’d like to buy any of the white wine or champagne in there.

So our pizza came, in amongst chatting, and we wandered around the shop picking things up, asking prices of this and that, drinking amazingly good and extremely cheap wine, and basically acting like we weren’t customers who had just walked off the street.

So in the end, we ended up getting the pizza, a salad, the wine, some extra virgin olive oil, some chilli infused olive oil, some truffle extract flavoured oil, and another 3 bottles of excellent wine (including a Montepulciano d’Abrusso). It was like a closing down sale meets restaurant in a Red Dot “everything must go!” extravaganza.

As for the food, it was nice. The pizza was tasty, the garden salad was as tasty as a garden salad can be, and the wine was phenominal. It’s only a shame that the first time we managed to get to the place, it just happened to be the very night it was closing down for good.

Still, I gave Carlo my email and said to be sure to let me know if he starts another restaurant up in the future, because if they can make people feel so welcome when they are in the middle of closing for good, then I would love to see them at the height of service. That kind of genuine friendly attitude and love of food is something that you just can’t buy, and you can’t fake, so hopefully Perth hasn’t seen the last of these guys yet.

Il Pasto *was* located at:
401 Oxford St,
Mount Hawthorn

Eggplant Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella

Pizza & Wine

A quiet night in called for a low key dinner solution. I’m very much into dough at the moment. I’m not sure why, I just seem to be going through a dough phase. I get a very calming sensation from just kneading dough until its nice and soft, and the yeast makes it seem alive (which technically, it is).

So this was another home made pizza base consisting of:

500 grams flour
2 or so cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of fresh yeast
1 pinch of salt
2 drizzles of olive oil
1 dollop of honey

Combine dry ingredients, and then gradually add the wet ones and mix it all around until its a big ball of doughy goodness.

Leave it to rise in a covered bowl and then punch the air out it a couple of times, til its really malleable.

Then roll it flat, and you’re good to go.

The topping for this pizza was tomato paste, a nice fat slice of eggplant, some sliced “vine ripened” tomatoes, basil, and buffalo mozzarella.

Eggplant Pizza

The mozzarella is great… I’d been looking it for a while since having a Mozzarella di Bufala pizza at Pronto’s a while back, but for ages I couldn’t find it, and was told by the nice ladies in Restore that there was a shortage of it… Fortunately for me the buffalo must have been lactating more recently, and I happened to find some at Herdsman Fresh on my last trip.

Apart from being made from buffalo milk, I’m not sure how its different to boccocini… but I like it nonetheless.

The pizza was paired with a wine from my current favourite winemakers. It’s a 2002 Sangiovese/Merlot from Innocent Bystander. Spicey but delicate, with a fruity aftertaste… something different to try.

Innocent Bystander 2002 Sangiovese/Merlot
All in all a great meal to pass the time on a night where all you’re really doing is waiting to go to bed :)