We are well and truly into Autumn now… or more like Winter don’t you think? With the new season comes new seasonal menu launches, and just recently, we were invited to attend the 2015 Autumn menu launch at The Loft Oyster and Wine Bar for an evening tasting of their brand new autumn inspired cocktail menu along with a few new dishes.
The Loft sits in close proximity to the Adelaide Central Market, so it’s no surprise that their exciting cocktail and food menu is always seasonal as they source out the freshest and in season produce to utilise. I have been invited to The Loft for previous launches, but on this particular evening, I was excited that I got to share the experience with the Stranger as he does enjoy his boozy drinks!
We were met by Edward, the Loft’s resident mixologist who was also our charming host for the evening as he has been at previous launches. I knew that we were in for a good and fun night with theatricals and plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the table as he presented his inventive and fun creations.
We started the night off with a cobbler, a slight variation from the previous ones I’ve had in the past, this one was a mixture of vodka, apple liquor, cranberry, apple and ginger cider presented in a wine glass with plenty of crushed ice. The result? A light, sweet and refreshing start with strong apple flavours present from the liquor and cider; I did find that the vodka was a bit strong for my tastebuds so I gave the cobbler some time for the ice to melt, and thereby diluting the cocktail somewhat and making it more palatable for myself.
Truffle siu mai; $12.00
Our first plate of food was presented, a plate full of glistening plump yellow siu mais (pork and prawn dumplings), each one topped with an aromatic truffle paste. These siu mais were larger in size than the usual ones from yum cha; the texture of the meat was chunky with bits of prawn and pork–so fresh and tasty! Then there was that subtle hit of truffles that lingered after each bite, delicious. What a genius idea! Siu mais from now on should always be topped with truffle paste. Yes, yes?
Gin Fizz No. 53; $18.00
We were both looking forward to the following drink, a gin based cocktail as G&T’s are
our my usual go to. A coupette holding a concoction of gin, lime juice, dill, mint, thyme and prosecco was presented with a head of froth and a sprig of aromatic dill. A sour, herbaceous and citrus delight with a strong dill flavour, surprisingly the thyme was the dominate herb in taste as it lingered on the palate after each sip.
Peking duck pancake; $20.00
We got to get a bit ‘hands on’ with our next food course, peking duck pancakes. A plate of peking duck meat, spring onions, cucumber and hoi sin sauce was presented along with a bamboo steamer with pancakes. Grab a sheet of pancake, neatly assemble ingredients, roll, wrap, drizzle some hoi sin sauce on top… then chomp! It’s very much like a cold roll but tastes a bit more richer and heavier with the thick duck slices and glazed crisp skin and the dark punchy, salty and sweet hoi sin sauce. The cucumber and spring onion strips were essential as they helped cut through the sharpness of the flavours with a burst of freshness.
Oh the sparkles!
The zombie is a concoction of rum, pineapple and lime juice, grenadine, absinth, passion fruit and Falernum, the potent cocktail was presented in a tall tiki cup along with a lit sparkler for photographic purposes. We received miniature versions in tumbler glasses but of course, not forgetting a sparkling sparkler for each person. (I love sparklers!) A refreshing and tropical punch but don’t let its good looks fool you! There was a total of 5 different rums in the zombie much to the Stranger’s liking, and surprisingly, with that much alcohol in it, it was a well balanced boozy drink with the fruit juice still evident.
Garlic butter bug tails; $15.00
A paddle board of garlic butter bug tails perched on rock salt made an entrance as it was laid out on the table. Our first serving of the bug tails were slightly overdone as the meat was a little dry and lent itself to a chewy texture. Luckily, when we went for seconds from a different paddle board, the bugs were cooked just right, the meat still plump and juicy letting the natural flavours sing; naturally sweet with a hint of garlic butter throughout. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the accompanied green paw paw salad as I thought it was too sour and tangy for my palate but the fresh chilli was welcomed as it gave each bite some oomph and heat.
Georgia julep; $18.00
The Georgia julep is a slight twist on the classic mint julep with the addition of peach. What a pretty looking cocktail, and the ice ‘cone’ thing holding the berries was actually made by pressing crushed ice between a hand held juicer/squeezer! What a clever idea. The cocktail was presented in a julep cup with crushed ice, minted bourbon, peach and seasonal berries; a strong, fragrant yet refreshingly tasty boozy drink.
Lamb cutlets; $20.00
Look at them cutlets! Barbequed lamb cutlets with rosemary cooked medium rare with a salsa of tomatoes, basil, red onion and olive oil. The cutlets had a nice smoky grilled char on the outside and the accompanied salsa was bright and vibrant. Simple and delicious.
One of the downsides of being a food blogger is taking (sometimes too much) time to take photos of the food whilst it sits there and goes cold… cause let’s be real here, cold lamb cutlets don’t taste anywhere as good as hot ones. I guess there’s that bit of ‘give and take’ when it comes to this hobby of mine. Oh well!
The Contender; $19.00
The Contender cocktail hails from Eau De Vie in Sydney; a strawberry infused gin, mandarin and rosemary syrup, lemon and apple juice presented in a cocktail glass with a toasted marshmallow pierced by a rosemary twig that had been slightly lit emitting a smoky aroma in the air. A dangerously sweet, fruity and complex cocktail where a lot of our senses were asked to take notice; smell, sight and of course, taste.
Deconstructed cheesecake; $15.00
Dessert for the evening was a deconstructed cheesecake and it was divine! A combination of textures, creamy cheesecake, crumbly biscuit, sweet juicy berries in a chunky berry coulis, a healthy drizzle of caramel, a shard of toffee and hints of mint (I love mint flavoured things, mint choc chip ice cream, hello!) that lingered on the palate with each bite. So, so good; so much so that the Stranger even finished his share despite his lactose intolerance levels… so you know that means it was really good. 😉
Coffee experiment; $20.00
We ended the evening off with The Loft’s signature expresso martini called the coffee experiment, one of my favourite cocktails! A caffeinated concoction of dark rum, spiced caramel and shiraz reduction and espresso served in a coupette glass. The Loft’s version uses a dark rum instead of the usual vodka and it results in a rich and smooth delight with hints of vanilla and chocolate. Yum! Did you know that they’ve served over 138,000 of these since they’ve been open?! That’s around 170 of these babies every week!
What a night! Thank you to Edward and The Loft team for the invite and for being a lovely, friendly and knowledgable host. We thoroughly enjoyed the stories behind each drink and can definitely see your passion behind your work. We’ll be sure to make a return visit for some ‘warming’ beverages to combat the impending winter cold.
[dbites was invited as guests to The Loft Oyster & Wine Bar]
The Loft Oyster & Wine Bar
Level 1/128 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
P 08 8211 8887