I’m excited about Charlick’s – I’ve already been twice, and as a matter of fact, I’ve tried every dish on the current menu! The last time I dined at this location it was Vardon Restaurant and the place has certainly undergone an extreme makeover into something cool and modern.
It’s attached to the Stag but entry is off Vardon Avenue. So what’s with the name? It’s named after east-ender William Charlick – the founder of the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange which commenced in the early 1900s. It’s that farmers’ market theme and the availability of fresh, seasonal, local produce that guides Charlick’s menu.
The NOLA team is behind the makeover of the Stag and Charlick’s. And it’s chef Blake Drinkwater who’s in charge of the food. Given that his resume includes not only Orana, but Attica in Melbourne and Noma in Copenhagen, you have to be happy with that. His menu includes quality SA produce, with a bit of a foraging and garden-to-plate theme incorporating various herbs, leaves and flowers, some of which Blake grows himself.
Even though Blake’s worked in some fine-dining establishments, the food, while it still has that ‘wow factor’, isn’t particularly formal – nor is the venue itself. Pricing is mid-range and the place has a casual vibe, but it’s still fancy enough to feel like you’re dining somewhere special. Restaurant manager Jack Booker, who’s doing an excellent job out front, sums it up as ‘casual fine dining’.
I’d recommended sharing a number of dishes – in fact, do the tasting menu for $75pp.
Some of my favourites?
-Duck egg yolk ravioli with smoked burnt butter and sage: Big, fat, oozy – simply bloody delicious – but be quick to order it as there are only a limited number of ravioli made per day.
-Salt baked celeriac – celeriac never tasted (or looked) so good.
-Confit chicken thigh with black garlic leather, smoked shallot mayo and oyster leaf. Not only is this chicken succulent, this dish has introduced me to the nothing-short-of-magic ‘oyster leaf’. Holy cow – green leaves that taste exactly like oysters. Yes folks – they need to be experienced to be believed!!
-The duck breast – so incredibly tender.
Definitely pay Charlick’s a visit. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the great wine list! I can’t wait to try next season’s menu.