Restaurant Review: Grace the Establishment
You know you’re in for a good meal at a restaurant when everything on the menu looks good. That’s the problem I had at Grace (or more formally Grace the Establishment). What was I supposed to choose? The Jerk Chicken, Pulled Pork Tacos, Coca Cola Pork Spare Ribs or the much talked about, recently awarded (‘Best Plate’ Norwood Food & Wine Festival 2012) Mini Wagyu Cheese Burger. Each dish sounded more mouth-watering than the next, but alas my lunch time decision was none of the above… continue reading dear viewer to find out the gastronomic conclusion to this menu mystery.
Redeveloped a year and a half ago this (excuse the pun) establishment is owned by the same proprietors who also own the award winning Manse, as well as Sparrow restaurants. Nestled down at 127 The Parade in Norwood where Adelaide instituation Manny’s once was, Grace is the more chilled out younger brother of the three and the environment gave this patron a very lazy Saturday afternoon feel, probably because it was a Saturday afternoon…and I was feeling lazy.
The place is divided into three parts. You enter through a very long and spacious hard wood-floored bar area containing metal stools and high bench tops. As you reach two steps near the back of the venue it opens up into a bright sun lit restaurant. The windows on the roof let in a lot of sunlight and really brighten the eating space with the help of the white walls and tiled white floor. Through the glass doors at the back is the spacious and pillow laden beer garden. Unfortunately being a forty degree day we were unable to experience it as it was just TOO DAMN HOT. I won’t lie to you folks if you are looking for a ‘parma and a beer for ten bucks’ you’ve come to the wrong place. The two menus that Grace offers (bar and restaurant) are a little pricey but the quality shows in the presentation and taste of the meals.
The food (and drink)
On recommendation my group and I gave the Adelaide Hills apple cider from The Hills Cider Company a try (a pint $8, a jug $20). The girls liked its refreshing taste…I mean on a forty degree day, who wouldn’t? My only gripe was that it wasn’t strong enough for my taste. It gives a very mild, mellow apple flavour. I prefer a bit more of a bite, and when I tried it without ice it had more of the kick that I was looking for.
So what to eat? That was the toughest part of my day but I eventually settled on the burger bar special (‘any two’ burgers, buns or dog & fries $18). The choices vary from Mini Wagyu Cheese Burger, Hay Valley Lamb Burger, Chickpea Burger, Korean Pork Bun (all $9 each) and the more expensive Lobster Bun ($15).
I went for the Hay Valley Lamb Burger and the Korean Pork Bun, a sweet bun containing a generous portion of locally sourced Berkshire Pork, Kim Chi, chilli and mayonnaise. My ONLY mistake with this decision was that I ate Korean Pork Bun first: the taste of the pork was juicy and succulent and left the perfect amount of heat in my mouth. And therein lies the problem – as I started taking my first bite of the lamb burger I couldn’t taste all the flavours. A five minute eating time out was called to allow the chilli to escape my taste buds. I spent the five minute time out eating the accompanying shoe string fries, which went down well with the Adelaide Hills cider, and when I went back to my lamb burger the flavours balanced perfectly. Lamb, cumin, mint, pickles and black garlic sauce – a great combination. The Coca Cola pork ribs ($20) were also ordered and went down a treat. A large rack served on a plate with the accompanying apple slaw, not a shred of meat was left on the bone as my wife gnawed on them with my 18 month old boy helping out.
Dessert was another problem – so many delicious descriptions, so many evil calories. I chose the ‘PB&J’ ice cream sandwich ($8.50), a beautiful blend of peanut butter ice cream with raspberry jam served between two chocolate discs….yum! My wife went for the Chocolate Bar ($9.50), house made chocolate and caramel served with honeycomb. Rich is the word that best describes it…in a great way. Probably best shared, the plate was licked clean by the time the waitress came to take it away.
The staff at Grace fitted in perfectly with the place itself. Relaxed and easy going they didn’t rush us and didn’t ignore our table either. They were knowledgeable with the menu and even gave my 18 month old a babycino when our group was sitting down to dessert and coffee. Thanks guys! The air conditioning in the place works a treat also, we didn’t even realise how hot it was outside until we got out there…THREE HOURS AFTER WE ARRIVED!
If you are looking for a place to catch up with friends or just chill out by yourself and don’t mind a pricier menu, I highly recommend you give Grace a try. The place is relaxed, the food is mouth-wateringly good and the service is easy going. Enjoy!
Grace the Establishment
127 The Parade, Norwood
Adelaide, South Australia
(08) 8333 1007
Tuesday to Sunday – Midday until 2am.
Closed Mondays. Food available at all times.