One thing about my awesome friends is that most of them are die hard foodies. This is especially helpful when they are planning events that I have to eat dinner at.
On Friday night it was my dear friend Jo’s birthday and she never lets me down when it comes to picking a restaurant for us to celebrate at.
Two words… Russell’s Pizza.
Now, if you are a food loving South Australian (and possibly Australian), these two words will no doubt resonate immediately. Either you’ve eaten there and loved it or have never eaten there but always planned to go. But, if you’ve never heard of Russell’s, read on friends as you will have it on your bucket list by the end of this blog.
Russell’s is a South Australian institution. It’s been around for as long as I can remember and it’s never changed. Some things get worse with age, Russell’s has remained as good, maybe even better because I appreciate things more these days.
Look, I will admit, it’s a mission.
Russell’s is in Willunga so if you are anywhere further North than Noarlunga the cab fare would be more expensive than a return trip to Bali, but this is one of those occasions where you scour through your black book and invite a friend who doesn’t like booze (or is pregnant) so you can rope them into driving the 12 seater special bus.
And, trust me you will need that designated driver because Russell’s is BYO.
Not in the traditional sense either. They don’t supply you with any hydration other than water, so pack your Esky kids, you will need it. In my mind, this is one of Russell’s most endearing qualities. I love being able to take my own wine, beer, spirits… whatever. Pour your own and eat till you die. What better promise is there of a good night out? My friend Shan and I were musing together on Friday night about our last trip to Russell’s, unfortunately neither of us could remember much about the food, or actually leaving the restaurant for that matter… damn Esky.
This time, I chose to drive and that turned out to be a very unwelcome blessing… but more about that later.
The first thing you will notice about Russell’s is the scenery. It was likened to me, by one of my friends as feeling as though you are eating in the backyard of a country estate. This is such a fitting description. There are tables inside, there are tables outside (and if you’re visiting in Winter, rug up or you will freeze your nads off). We were lucky enough to score a pozzy next to the outside pot belly heater and I truly believe this was quick thinking on the staff’s behalf because twenty women moaning loudly about the cold will be enough to put any diner off their meal. There are tables for two or tables for forty, but be prepared because it’s very rustic. There’s no cutlery or plates. But, that’s part of the charm. The atmosphere is so relaxed, it’s impossible to not have a good time, unless that is, you are thoroughly boring. There’s even a foosball table, a unique touch that will keep any tag-along youngsters occupied while mum and dad are busy getting tanked.
The next thing you will notice, and the most important thing… is the food. You will have a choice of A-la Carte, two courses or three. Russell’s are advocates for local produce and the local produce in SA is bloody good. Now, I always go into dinner preparing to forgo the dessert menu, but this is one instance in life when you really need to eat the sweets.
First course. We had Fetta stuffed Meatballs with Tzatziki and it was truly like a flavour bomb going off inside my mouth. The lamb was seasoned perfectly and the fetta was smooth as silk. We were also served an Antipasto salad. Imagine if you will… Perfectly cooked green beans, marinated mushrooms, roasted beetroot, fetta, snow peas, chargrilled capsicum and the most delicious roasted almonds I can actually remember eating, all layered together on a plate in perfect harmony. There was also fresh bread with a gorgeous Dukkah. My senses were aroused and I was ready for my main.
Pizza. Lots and lots of Pizza. I am a serious enemy of all you can eat, but this is different. The pizzas are delicious. Send me out a Super Supreme, so supreme it even has broccoli on it and you have my vote. A Marinara with giant king prawns and oysters still in the half-shell perched on top… come to mumma. There are Turkish pizzas so divine you will never be able to look at another takeaway pide again. The Margarita actually has REAL mozzarella. OH. MY. GOD. If you are not already salivating, you will be after this…
Third course. Dessert. On this night we had a choice of three. I am not a sweet tooth, in fact I’d rather have a second main, but I actually wanted all three. Soaked Plum Tart with Almond base and Crème Patissiere. When I say soaked, the plums had been marinated in booze and please forgive me friends, I can’t remember what type because I was too fixated on the flourless Dark Chocolate Torte with poached Quinces. Decadence has a new name, and there it is. But, when I heard Panna Cotta and Rhubarb in the same sentence, I knew I’d found my love. I chose the Kangaroo Island sheep’s milk Yoghurt Panna Cotta with poached Rhubarb and Strawberries. I inhaled this dessert so quickly, I was offered another by the waiter because he didn’t realize I’d already been given one.
So there we were, twenty or so ladies, drinking up a storm (OK, I stopped at two… BOOO-RING!), full to our boobies and feeling pretty good about the night. For such an experience, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d be paying through the nose. But, our group was on the Friday night A.Y.C.E. package for $37.00 a head. WHAT!? I hear you ask. That is correct, this is not a typo. Thirty Seven dollars a head for three of the most delectable courses you could ever hope to eat including corkage. It’s even cheaper for the two course menu… but WHY the devil would you?
There a two very important things to consider when planning (as you no doubt are) your upcoming visit to Russell’s;
- Russell’s is only open on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Book ahead, you will never get in otherwise.
Now, back to my earlier story about driving. No free night out as a mum will ever be truly complete until you receive that fateful phone call from your husband about a child with Gastro. This was my reality. I left the party early to assist Cory as poor Mrs. Moo had taken a turn for the worse. I won’t go into details as I’m concerned about putting you off your pizza, but while my cohorts were at Russell’s polishing off the rest of the BYO wine and having a wowzer of a time, I was at home washing sheets, rugs, bean bags, floors and walls, wondering who infected her and daydreaming about homicidal murder.
All I can say is this friends… next time, I’ll be there till they boot me out at closing time and Hell No, somebody else can drive.
For more information about Russell’s Pizza, please go to the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Russells-Pizza/177628362259016