Public CBD

public cbdDinner Review.
Modern Australian/Mediterranean.

After attending the official opening of the funky new Franklin St establishment called Public and tasting an eclectic spread of the bar menu, I was eager to head back and dive into their more fanciful fare from what is labelled the ‘surprise dinner’ menu. Head Chef and Electrolux Australia’s 2012 Young Chef of the Year, Stewart Wesson, recreates a new and exciting menu each week to entice punters in. Unlike most restaurants that have a static or seasonal menu, this allows Stewart’s creativity to shine and keeps customer’s tastebuds savouring new delights.

Wandering into the restaurant, I took in the clean flair of the decor which has a refreshing style throughout the cafe, bar and restaurant areas. The owner greeted me and asked Alex to escort me to the table. Accompanying me for the evening was Michael, winner of a competition from my Facebook food blog: McFuzzlebutt’s Manchen.

Taking my seat at the table I was asked if I would like my wine to be opened to breathe; I requested it be decanted. Knowing that I wouldn’t be pouring any for at least 30 minutes, it would allow the wine to open up. Not knowing what to expect from the menu, I brought a Fox Creek 2008 Reserve Merlot which would be a great all-rounder for seafood, white meat or red meat due to its mellower flavours compared to a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

It was a relatively warm day so we decided to start with a refreshing ale to cleanse our palates. Looking over the drinks menu, I was a little disappointed at the lack of craft beers. With an ever-growing microbrewery industry across Australia I enjoy trying, and supporting, the more artisan style beers – perhaps there is an opportunity here to diversify on the commercial choices currently offered.

With 3 entree, 5 main and 2 dessert options on the evenings menu, you would think that the decision making process would be swift, however all of the options offered tantalising ingredients and included local SA produce which positively stilted our momentum. Since both Michael and I were struggling to choose we agreed on halving our meal choices to ward off any food envy.  Being a curious and finicky eater I asked Alex where the octopus was from and if it was fresh, along with what cut and size the fillet of steak was. Unfortunately it was only Alex’s first week but she was only too happy to find out and scurried off to the kitchen to retrieve all answers in an efficient manner.

For entree we ordered the following:
Michael: Heirloom tomatoes, basil pesto, bocconcini and dried olive
Myself: Braised Local Octopus, apple and aioli (fresh Kangaroo Island octopus)

For mains we ordered the following:
Michael: SA Angus beef fillet, butter poached Moreton Bay bug tail and caramelised onion (250g grilled eye fillet)
Myself: Murray Valley pork cutlet, braised cabbage, pancetta and apple
Sides: Broccolini and a Public Slaw.

When the entrees were presented we could immediately tell that we were in for a treat. The heirloom tomato assortment looked stunning and the colours danced on the plate. Their freshness and slightly sweet acidity broke through the soft bocconcini and earthy bitterness of the crunchy dried olive creating a unified marriage on the palate. The braised octopus was wonderfully tender with a smoky char-grilled flavour which coupled well with the shaved apple and aioli.

Relaxing with another cold beer Michael noticed a patron in the bar eating mini burgers from their bar menu. Being cheeky at the best of times, I thought I would flutter my eyelashes and politely ask if we could sneak some in before mains. Once again, Alex whooshed away and returned with the answer we were hoping for. Soon after, we received our wagyu burger and pork belly burger with shoestring fries on the side.  The burgers were halved and utter silence came over us as we shovelled the deliciously moist, tender meat filled, soft buttery buns into our mouths. How could anything be better than this?

Wiping the juice from our mouths and fingers, I requested a 15 – 20 minute interlude before mains to allow us to digest the first 2 courses and make room for more. Our glasses were filled with the Fox Creek Merlot and we sat back and relaxed in the softly lit restaurant to soak up the ambiance around us. Alex returned and replaced Michael’s standard knife with a Laguiole steak knife. As I frowned jealously Alex asked if I too would like one, to which I replied “yes” without hesitation.

At almost 20 minutes to the second, we were presented with our mains and our glasses topped again. The pork was well seasoned with a crisp rind crackling - I just wanted to finish it all until I was handed the beef fillet. It was sheer ecstasy; the beef melted away as it hit my tongue and moans replaced words as I cleaned up the plate.

I managed to conjure up enough courage to battle through to dessert and ordered a serve of popcorn pannacotta. Thankfully the portion was just right; the sweetness was well balanced by the salty caramel and it provided a light scrumptious ending to a faultless meal.

Full to the brim and with a smile from ear to ear we were both elated evening’s proceedings. The service was exceptional, even when I made several spontaneous requests in an attempt to throw them off; I was pleasantly rewarded with affirmative answers and actions. With a bright, vibrant, city centre residence, I have no doubt Public will be a favourite amongst the corporate breakfast, lunch and Friday night eaters, drinkers and diners. When you do visit Public be sure to wash your hands, the orange, sage and cedar wood hand wash is so amazing, you’ll want to devour that too.

Darren Richards

Average Menu Pricing
Entree $12.00 - $14.00
Main $26.00 - $34.00
Side Dishes $7.50
Dessert $12.00
(Friday surprise dinner menu changes weekly. Bar and kitchen menus also available)

Where: 12 Franklin St, Adelaide, 5000
Trading: Monday to Thursday 7am – 5pm, Friday 7am – 12am (bookings recommended)
Contact: (08) 8231 8151