Friday, 16 April 2010

City X Grille, City Cross Arcade

I don’t understand why anyone would go to HJs or Maccas when somewhere like Citi X Grille is just around the corner. Sure, you might have to pay a few extra dollars (a burger with the lot will set you back $8. A burger meal is an extra $2), but the quality and flavour is worth it.

I usually order a burger with the lot. Today was no different.

A burger with the lot gets you a burger with cheese, grilled onion, bacon, egg, lettuce and sauce. The flecks of onion in the burger give away the fact these burgers are house made. The flavour and crust on the outside says that the burgers are cooked on an old style hot plate. And though they’re cooked all the way through (something that American burger eaters would probably cringe at), they’re always juicy. And they use real bacon and real eggs. Not that faux stuff that the burger chains pass off as bacon and egg.

Crispy and salty, I can definitely vouch for the chips. Because Citi X Grille isn’t a chain they carry childhood favourite soft drinks like ginger beer, sarsaparilla and pasito.

I’ve had breakfast here a few times. The bacon and egg sandwiches (real bacon and egg!) are great, but they make their coffee way too hot and too strong for my taste. I’ve also heard that their pepperoni hotdogs rock, but I’ve never been able to go past their burger.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Zen Kitchen, Renaissance Arcade

I am a sucker for pho. In fact, I’m a sucker for Vietnamese food, full stop. I love the stuff. Zen Kitchen in the Renaissance Arcade has recently become the home of my lunchtime Vietnamese fix.

Research the origins of pho, I learned that the broth is usually made with charred onions and probably has French origins. The French dish put-au-feu also use charred onions in its broth. Feu is French for fire and is possibly epistemological origin of pho.

To start I ordered spring rolls. Part chicken, part Vietnamese pate, these spring rolls were hot and crispy.

I usually favour the rice dishes over the pho, but because I have a cold (and the best cure for a cold is chicken noodle soup) I went for chicken pho. A generous serve of pho emerged quickly from the kitchen, accompanied by a big plate of bean sprouts, basil and lime. The broth was savoury and the herbal flavours of star anise, cloves and ginger came through strongly (and probably did wonders for my cold). The chicken was slightly fatty, but juicy and tender. I like to dip my chicken in a little soy and hot sauce. Delicious.

Zen Kitchen is great place for lunchtime pho. I can also recommend to banh mi and the mayonnaise chicken.

Apologies for the lack of photos with this entry. I got so excited about filling my belly with Vietnamese food that I forgot to take any. I’ll take some next time. Promise.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Bites of Europe

The newest storefront (and a fancy schmancy store front it is!) in Southern Cross Arcade; Bites of Europe offer culinary delights from beyond the Iron Curtain. I like to be the first to try new lunch places, and I tried Bites of Europe within it's first week of opening.

I ordered goulash and meatballs with rice and a potato filo pie.

Though the meat in the goulash was fall apart tender, it was a little bland. The meatballs were juicy and firm to the bite. I’d definitely order them again. The rice was flavoursome. I’m still not sure what to make of the potato filo pie. It started off bland, but the more of it I ate the more flavour developed. I’d have to try it again to be sure how I feel about it.

I spoke to the very friendly (and quite attractive) store owner after my meal and raised the issue of the bland goulash. She said that she had received this feedback before, but she felt they had to tone their goulash down to make it more approachable for the general public. I'm told they'll be investing in some condiments and spices for the more daring eaters to add to their meals.

Bites of Europe also offer some delicious looking stuffed capsicums, rizzoto (capsicum and rice), salad and cakes. So, show the new guy some support and give them a try.

Pars Kebab, Southern Cross Arcade

A relative newcomer to the Arcade, Pars Kebab offers the hungry diner kebabs as well as Persian dishes. Pars Kebab has recently relocated within the Arcade, and is now next Fresh Choice (who offer some of the cheapest and best banh mi in Adelaide). Their previous location has been taken over by Taste of Europe (which I’ll be trying tomorrow). I’m assuming that Pars Kebab’s new location has a higher rent than their previous location as prices have increased by about $1 across the board.

Probably the cheapest kebab I have come across (around $6) Pars Kebab make a pretty decent, though fairly greasy, kebab. The chicken and lamb seem to be actual chicken and lamb, though I’d steer away from the falafels. They taste like they’re straight out of the box and I’ve seem them warmed up in the microwave. But if you really want to see where Pars Kebab excels, try some of their Persian dishes.

For around $7 you can get yourself a delicious and decent sized lunch. I ordered saffron chicken and spicy chicken with salad and rice.

Chunks of moist spicy chicken thigh swam in a rich tomato sauce. The saffron chicken was savoury and moist. Abundant with fresh parsley, the salad was crisp and clean. The garlic sauce was garlic sauce. But the rice… the rice was something else. The rice from Pars Kebab is possibly my favourite rice. Words simply do not do it justice. Flecked with pomegranate (and possibly saffron), the grains are impossibly long and firm to the bite, while still being light and fluffy and toothsome. If nothing else appeals to you about Pars Kebab, at least try the rice. I promise you won’t be disappointed.