Press* Food and Wine on Waymouth Street in Adelaide’s CBD is one of those gastronomic delights that people flock to continuously and repeatedly. Showcasing the finest and freshest of South Australian produce with much-loved flavour combinations innovatively packaged up and presented, it’s no small wonder this place is a success and I finally got to see what all the fuss was about during my extended Easter break at home.
One of my dearest high school friends and incredibly talented and motivational Yogi/Raw Food Enthusiast and Positive Living Advocate, Love Raw Lyfe (whose family actually provide the restaurant with their organic and biodynamic pork) suggested the venue for our overdue catch-up and I couldn’t have said yes fast enough! We arrived at the incredibly trendy space and were seated along one of the long luncheon style bar tables that runs parallel to the wall and faces inward toward the restaurant, immediately sending our nostrils into overdrive with smells wafting from the open kitchen at the back. Although we had a this-is-my-first-ever-shift waitress she was very accommodating in finding out the answers to all of our questions (as you can imagine, serving a food blogger and a mainly raw foodist wouldn’t have been an easy feat).
The menu is designed for sharing with Raw plates and Smaller plates designed as entrees or starters and From the Wood Grill, Offal and Bigger as mains. After much umm-ing and ahh-ing over the menu we simply decided to hand the fate of our stomaches over to the chefs and opted for the Press Tasting Menu at $68pp. With a description like “the way we like to eat…let us feed you!” we were looking forward to experiencing the best Press had to offer. And boy were we in for an epic feast!
Starting with superbly fresh and fluffy but slightly chewy sourdough with salted butter we were then swiftly served our first portion of entrée or ‘small plates’ which consisted of mini Press Burger, Pear, witlof, blue cheese and walnut salad and Ocean Trout Gravalax with dill and sour cream.
The texture of the trout was unbelievably silky with just the right density and body in each precisely cut sliver. The small cod roe balls that adorned it were bursts of fresh sea flavour while the creamy dill cream balanced the shards of watermelon interspersed with slices of fennel. It was an incredible taste sensation!
The Press burger (although the smaller Tasting Menu version was possibly closer to a slider) has got to be one of the best I have ever tasted – a sweet, cloud like brioche bun encased juicy pork and crispy rind with a crunchy salad of lettuce, cucumber, onion relish and an insanely good horseradish mayo, which absolutely made the dish a hit.
Lastly the always-a-hit combination of pear, cheese and walnut was a good palate cleanser with that bite of bitterness from the witlof and provided some cruciferous salvation from the protein rich feast.
After a slight break the next lot of plates arrived with Wood-grilled Squid and chimichurri sauce and Rodriguez Bros. Morcilla with apple and wombok remoulade. The former was delightfully fragrant – just like a wood burning fire with notes of charcoal against the fresh, lightly chewy squid. And the latter? After Love Raw Lyfe dubiously agreed to taste it, it was swiftly polished off the plate and we both agreed it was by far the best dish of the evening. Intense, smoky flavours wrapped in a rich, salty, soft textured cylinder and sitting on a bed of sweet and crispy appley-cabbage it blew our tastebuds out of the water.
As the mains or “Bigger” plates arrived we could start to hear our stomachs protest simply because these Tasting Menu sizes are no smaller than a regular main. (A great and cheaper way to sample all the food if you’re with a group or plan on eating 3 courses anyway). Our waitress placed in front of us the Fish of the Day – a beautifully cooked white flesh fish that had a crispy salty, seasoned skin on top and was served on a base of creamed potato and a béarnaise like sauce – as well as the Roast Pork Belly with cucumber salad and celeriac puree. The pork fillet was so tender you could see the individual meat stands just pull away from the cut and the crackling was so heavenly it felt like Christmas lunch. The creamy mash that arrived with them sadly remained untouched. We just couldn’t do it, especially knowing dessert was still to come.
Finally a Passionfruit Tart with a perfect quenelle of yoghurt sorbet was delivered to our end of the bench. It smelt absolutely divine and the tangy zing of fresh passionfruit enveloped the senses. The texture of the tart was light and mousse like with a buttery crumble-like layer of pastry, while the not too sweet yoghurt sorbet (think froyo in an icier form) as well as plump fresh raspberries provided acidity and balanced the flavours.
A word to the wise…come with an appetite and plan on staying all night. Press* is out of this world and will surprise and delight you regardless of whether you opt for the Tasting Menu or choose their famous Press burger with onion rings.