I’m a carnivore, pure and simple.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fruit, vegetables and grassy greenery just as much as the next herbivore… But unfortunately, I rarely feel totally satisfied unless I’ve sent a little soul to shangri-la for my dinner.
So when my next stop on the Land of the Long Lunch trail is a restaurant called The Grill, you can bet your meat munching derriere that I’m going to go there deliberately ravenous, and ready to send some wide-eyed critters to promptly meet their maker.
Even more enticing than its name, is the fact that The Grill just won the joint best restaurant award by the AHA/SA and the best overall Hotel for The Stirling in 2015.
Honestly, I wonder incredulously to myself why I’ve never visited this hotel before… One of my life’s great unanswered questions.
When we took our seats in the cozy, but decidedly chic dining room my first thoughts were, although overall the Stirling Hotel would be a grand affair for the family and I’d have absolutely no reservations about making a kid friendly reservation, The Grill restaurant itself, is just a little bit special.
I was in turn, super happy that our babysitter ended up coming through at the eleventh hour, because this was one dinner I didn’t want to share with the youngins.
I’d happily share it with a group of gluttinous friends though… As long as they were of the adult kind.
It was a particularly cold, foggy and drizzly winter’s eve last Thursday when Cory and I made the short hilly drive to the Stirling Hotel. And, need I remind you it’s only 8 minutes from the Tollgate and less than 20 from the CBD…? Uh huh, close aint it.
It was certainly warm, fireside, red wine drinking weather. Although I partook in a glass of cool Pike & Joyce Chardonnay on arrival, because I like to cruise unconventionally… And truth be told, when the wine list is as vast and delicious as The Grills with over 350 options, why not go a little out-there cray-cray?
Speaking of Cray-Cray…
When we were given the option of the 6 or 8 course degustation, or a choose-your-own 3 course adventure with a few chef selections thrown in, we decided on the latter.
This proved a wise move when we were presented with their entrée special of seared Marron with Pernod butter.
If you’ve never eaten marron, you are missing out on quite simply, one of the universes greatest edible gifts.
I adore Prawns, I truly love Yabbies, but nothing… NOTHING beats this freshwater crayfish.
Cory in the past has brought me home marron from his Kangaroo Island travels as big as a longneck bottle. Boiled and dipped in vinegar, it’s a taste sensation worth selling your soul for…
And, this dish was just as incredible.
If it wasn’t such an uncouth and tasteless display, I would’ve picked up the plate and licked it, and anything else that came into contact with this come-hither crustacean, totally clean.
Note to everyone: At this point you should click HERE for marron sucking mood music, then visualize my overtly sexual parade of licking table tops, fingers and chair legs.
Our meal started on a high, with the Grilled haloumi, truffled honey, sweet chilli and Smoked tuna, garlic rouille, pepper tuille, gribiche.
Then climbed even higher with the entrées of the aforementioned marron and the divine Pork cheek terrine, mandarin chutney, pickled onions, house made seeded mustard.
Then escalated to dizzying heavenly heights with the mains of 400g Limestone Coast Rib eye and Pork belly, baby squid, peas, seaside succulents.
Cory’s main of the perfectly cooked Rib eye was a sheer delight. His only qualm being that he listened to me when I suggested he get the Celeriac & horseradish remoulade condiment, because he would’ve personally preferred a sauce rather than coleslaw (as he put it), and as soon as it arrived he realized I’d duped him into ordering something I wanted to try…
WAHAHAHAHA (Insert evil genius laugh).
Meanwhile, later when we visited the kitchen, I have to admit I was totally overcome with oven envy. The Grill cooks all of their cuts in an imported Josper Oven – The first of its kind in South Australia. This European charcoal powered oven grill, heats up to over 400°c woahhhh and cooks a 400gm bone on Rib Eye to rare in 3 minutes flat… Insert second woahhhhhhhh.
Mumma likey, mumma wantey, but at around 30k, mumma never havey.
My main of Pork belly was impressive, and I thought the flavour combination of pork with fried baby calamari, sweet peas and salty samphire was surf’n’turf amazingness, however I would’ve loved more of that delectable squid ink sauce to dig my pork and squid into. Scrum-diddly-yum.
Our sides of House cut chips, thyme salt and Cauliflower, bacon & truffle gratin, are quite literally mouthwatering and I’d happily dine at the Grill again just for a plate of these.
The chips, super soft in the middle and crispy outside, were like little crunchy clouds and thankfully, they are liberal with their salt usage around the Grill (mumma also likey).
Then as Cory so delightfully declared, the cauliflower is “Heaps better than yours”. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s the best cauliflower gratin we’ve EVER had… Triple woahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Next up on our journey to eternal paradise was dessert.
Although still up there in the clouds, it’s hard to go any higher when you’re taste buds are already in Nirvana.
Cory had his heart set on the Sweet beetroot mousse tart, smoked chocolate ice cream, sesame macaron, grapefruit caviar and Buffalo yoghurt panna cotta, maple syrup gel, rhubarb, raspberry meringue, and being the dutiful wife I am, I happily obliged.
However upon hearing our choices, our waitress insisted we also order the ever popular Dark chocolate sphere, white chocolate mousse cake, orange, honeycomb, and being the dutiful diners we are, we happily obliged.
My personal favourite, the beetroot tart.
I found it quite extraordinary how such an earthy vegetable could be made into a sweet dessert without totally cloaking it in chocolate or some other such saccharine thing, and being a diehard savoury tooth any dessert like this will always pique my interest…
Even the Sphere had an element of bitterness with the super dark chocolate, slightly burnt butter honeycomb and tart orange, counterbalancing the white chocolate perfectly. Plus the drama of it all was pretty mesmerizing – I won’t ruin it for you with photos… Just you wait and see. And, who doesn’t love chewing like a horse for 5 minutes with a toothful of homemade honeycomb? (Yes, this happened…to me)
We enjoyed sharing the Panna Cotta. The flavour was delicious, a true tangy delight. But honestly, once I tasted the tart, it was lights out for everyone.
So dear friends, it’s time to testify.
If gluttony’s a sin then strike me to the ground, because The Grill took our tastebuds on a stairway to heaven, and I didn’t want to come back down.
By the stroke of Demi-Gods in a Josper Demi-Glace we entered the pearly gates, skipping hand-in-hand with all the sweet creatures that we sent there on our plates.
Until we dine again… xxx
For more information about the Grill restaurant and the Stirling Hotel, please go to the following link; http://www.stirlinghotel.com.au/grill