BISTRO DOM, Adelaide
Bistro Dom is on the Waymouth Street restaurant strip and I’m amazed that so many people I speak to have never been. There’s always been a real European bistro feel to this place but there’s something new happening and it’s not just the refurb. Yes, the bench seating and tables have moved to the other side of the restaurant, the bar has been shifted from the front to the back of the restaurant, and there’s now a beautiful exposed stone wall that extends down the left hand side but there’s a bit of a different vibe. There’s a new chef serving a different style of food that we’re used to seeing at the Dom. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a massive fan of both former chefs Duncan Welgemoed and Shane Wilson and the food they were creating – it’s always been one of my favourite Adelaide restaurants.
Marcus Carter has been the owner of Bistro Dom for a little while now. Coming from the freight industry, he says buying Bistro Dom was due to his passion for good food and wine and “an outcome of getting bored”. New chef Luke Southwood is Spanish-trained and is serving up dishes inspired by classic Spanish food – it’s the cuisine that excites him.
Everything is cooked from scratch and he likes to bring a medicinal element to his food so it not only tastes good, it has a healthy aspect too. Take for example his sourdough made with fermented milk curd – it’s extremely high in probiotics. Prior to coming to Bistro Dom, Luke spent ten years in Byron Bay at award-winning Dish and The Sanctuary before moving to SA to work at d’Arry’s Verandah, Flying Fish Café and Public CBD.
This particular evening I was very fortunate to be an invited guest at an ‘Eat, Drink and Tag’ event – an ‘intimate and decadent degustation dinner’ – and Luke certainly made the most of the opportunity to showcase his capabilities. We started with some snacks – Parmesan coconut macaroons, naturally ripened Kalakaua olives from Virginia SA, and oyster with pickled cucumber and flying fish roe. Thank the lord that I was sitting on a table with two people who didn’t like oysters so I used my natural charm and powers of persuasion to snaffle the couple of extras, heh heh.
First course – Sesame-seared tuna, sweetcorn and ginger puree, pickled carrot, chive oil. This dish looked beautiful and had all the right elements for me. A gorgeous blend of flavours but you could still taste the individual components including the natural flavour of the tuna. The SA Gulf prawns with white gazpacho, muscatel grapes, jamon and paprika salt looked just as beautiful. Big meaty prawns sitting on a gazpacho made from fried bread, garlic and almonds – delicious.
Next, the meat dishes. Slow cooked pork cheek, haricot beans, chorizo, apple and fennel followed by the Shawarma lamb shoulder, slow roasted, fondant turnip, cardamom-infused kefir. Both of these meats were cooked for 18 hours between 70 and 80 degrees. So tender and still moist. The pork dish was comforting and so flavoursome – the Spanish influence was obvious. The lamb was so tender we didn’t even need a knife! So good with the creaminess of the kefir, the crunch of the crisps and the turnip.
And then desserts – Butter-poached pear with nougatine pastry and cocoa sorbet and Steamed ginger pudding with ‘Crema Catalana’ anglaise and rhubarb compote. The ginger pudding was my favourite! And just when I thought it was all over, out came the petit fours!
I can’t believe I fitted all of this food in after a big yum cha lunch that same day! It must have been good. All of the dishes we had were matched with splendid wines, well explained and delivered by sommelier Marco who obviously enjoys his job.
In short, I’m really happy that Bistro Dom is continuing to provide a quality dining experience. It’s seemingly simple, elegant food with bold flavours. I’ve already booked to go again!
STOP PRESS: From July 15 Bistro Dom will be offering takeaway Spanish-inspired lunches and tasty small eats Tuesday to Friday. You’ll be able to grab this food at the rear of the restaurant – food like traditional Spanish garlic prawns, an open steak sandwich using prime beef fillet on house made sourdough, fresh South Australian squid with sepia mayonnaise and lemon emulsion. Yum!