Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Adelaide Review - Celsius

The Adelaide Review - Celsius Some years ago I prognosticated that fennel pollen would be the next big thing. (At least a little thing on a list of little hot things.) It has taken its time. Lardo (a superior Italian lard) has made it off my list and on to menus as well. A few stragglers still wait for their time in the sun. We needed places like Celsius Restaurant and Bar to serve perfectly bubbly pork crackling with yoghurt and fennel pollen. It is called a dry snack on the menu and costs $6.50. It is very difficult not to cancel all orders and demand five more of these with five different beers. We need Celsius to remind us that restaurants are better. They can have kitchens full of dreamers working at lightning speed. They know where to source the best ingredients from all over the world if it isn’t available under their noses. Places like Celsius remind us that food can be adventurous and meals can be fun. Celsius serves up an egg cooked at 62 degrees with bacon crumbles for $6.00. You could make that too. If you had a commercial kitchen and wanted to get up a couple of hours before breakfast-time. If you start sprouting formulae based on the egg diameter and dropping words like “ovalbumin” – give it a rest. If you are inquisitive about a “Vegetable patch” of herbs, flowers, raw and pickled vegetables, which comes complete with soil and snails you will find out that, no, the soil isn’t real, but, yes, the tender tempura battered snails are. ($18) The soil is rather moreish, and based on nothing more challenging than coffee. Snails should be on the plate of every savage gardener every day. In among the leaves, flowers and very small vegetables in various dishes are cucumbers young enough to be sporting a flower on the receiving end. Caramelised sweetbreads with yellow and red beetroots, beetroot powder. Pickled seaweed. Turnip flowers. Turnip flowers. And I am leaving ingredients out. A dish that is tuned up for the judges’ show-bench is rounds of quail in prosciutto with foie gras, parsley root and liquorice for only $24.00. The foie gras mousse wrapped in brik pastry with parsley root and liquorice is more complex than it sounds, but I have to leave you something to discover. You could pay the same $24.00 for a steak at your tarted up local; then you have to decide on pepper sauce or Diane sauce for an extra $2.50; and wonder what exactly is sauce Diane in 2010. Wait, where is that packet? Easy on the Cognac there, Chef. Duck with garlic stems. Black fungi. Shelled broad beans. Pea flowers. Tendrils. Duck consomm√© poured into the duck dish at service. I’ll stop gabbling now. I have seen the culinary light. Celsius is not a place where all the staff have to do is ask: “Garlic bread with that?” The waiting staff are keen and anxious to explain the magic in each dish. The menu is exciting on the palate and plate. I like a bit of gastro-drama. I have met Chef’s secret weapon, Kasim, his brother. I returned for staggeringly good desserts. Four (4) sorts of mulberry in one dessert. Picked that morning. Yoghurt made into brittle croquant. That is scratching the surface. Kasim is the reason for the little flowers with subtle flavours and vegetables with any sort of flavour. We are lucky to have Chef Ayhan Erkok in Adelaide. He has worked at this year’s ruling best restaurant of the year, in the world, that is, Noma, in Copenhagen, as well as Marque and Pier in Sydney. (We nearly lost him to Sydney.) He has also starred in Adelaide at the Manse. He is crawling with talent. A star Adelaide chef has joined Ayhan at Celsius, but it would be gossip if I told you who. The wine list leads off with a page full of nine French bubbles, two from around here, one New Zealander and a lone Spaniard. The whole list is pretty good now; I am sure it will take on the best soon. Try a wine recommended by Sommelier Pauline: Adelaide Review wine judge James Erskine’s beautiful 2010 Jauma Grauburgunder. (500ml-$52.00) Like hanging your palate out in Times Square at night. Flash. Pop. Ripple. Celsius offers an eight-course degustation for $120, or $175 if you let Celsius choose matching wines (I would). If you are sick of cries of imminent planet-wide disaster, go out and have a long lunch at Celsius. Two courses for $30.00, three for $40.00, five course degustation, $50.00. How cheap is that for this? On the other hand, Celsius is decorated in a hard-edge romantic sort of way. Just like you really. So maybe dinner might be best. Celsius Restaurant and Bar 95 – 97 Gouger Street Phone: 8231 6023 Mon and Sat: 6pm – Late Tue – Fri: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – Late

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