It is a night where one of my besties, now a Melbournite, is back in town and wants to see what is new in Adelaide. Upon consult we thought we would check out the newly hip & raved about Ruby Red Flamingo in North Adelaide which sounds like a great summer spot and perfect for a Saturday dinner come drinks on a nice night. No bookings means an early start is required but our crowd head there at 6.30pm only to find out that with a function and already nabbed limited tables there is a 2.5 hour wait… I don’t think so, exit stage left!
Everyone racks their brains on the next option. North Adelaide has a few, but nothing that overly excites us, and we have our BYO bottles already to consider. We end up thinking “Oh yeah – Tin Cat (in Kent Town)”, it’s an oldie but a goodie. They take a booking, confirm BYO, and so we head there. Unfortunately, thanks to a late finishing function, outside is not an option in their cute courtyard garden, but we happily take the big window table at the front.
The retro decor, odd collectables and the gallery aspect prove an interesting setting for lots of looking around and admiring which is always nice… we swoon at the collection of 1950’s tables and chairs – all in perfect condition, which must have taken ages to accumulate.
I have had breakfast and lunch here in the past… both were fabulous. The lunches in particular were all served in the garden on a warm day and it was a heavenly oasis, I remember not wanting to leave! Dinner proves to be fairly gourmet thanks to a sophisticated menu that leaves all of us salivating at the clever combinations that sound divine. Adding the specials, and even an extra vego option they threw in for our table upon request, there is certainly enough to choose from. Our starters see the roasted garlic, bread, olives, paprika almonds and seafood sharing plate (including the well discussed white anchovies – “oh you haven’t tasted” – “they aren’t like normal anchovies” – “they are more like sardines” – “trust us, you’ll love them” – “oh please try them”). All is devoured pretty quickly as we enjoy a crisp & clean Coriole Verdelho and then my staple, Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling. Yum! A quick skim of the drinks list has a nice assortment, although pricey. An imported beer will cost you $10. The BYO has worked well for us at $15 per bottle of wine.
Our mains are timed well, soon-ish after, and leave us all with goggling eyes… they are huge! Then the sides… very generous, in particular as a potato lover I am excited at the roast spuds piled up. We have a great mix of mains over the table including vego along with barramundi, salt & pepper soft shell crab and lamb.
We all dig in and there are no complaints. Everything is cooked to perfection. I have the lamb rack sitting on a yummy little concoction… A delicious rich jus with figs covering Israeli couscous and a pistachio crusted labne (yogurt cheese) on the side which proves a perfect compliment. Meat is cooked just how I asked. Everyone says they are thrilled with their meals and there is plenty of table sharing going on too – excited to taste.
We finish our meals very satisfied and despite being full keep picking as it is just too hard to leave such good food on the plate.
Dessert or cheese are contemplated long and hard but most just simply do not have room despite wishing they did… my hubby, as always, proves there is a different stomach for sweets and orders the trifle as the lone dessert. It comes out looking proud and showing off each of the layers, he enjoys every element and announces “how good is jelly?”, yes, pretty good. The short blacks across the table are a nice finish to a satisfying meal.
It has been a lovely dinner only further complimented by exceptional service. I must say, every time here the staff have been really great. Very attentive, lots of personality and enjoy a bit of banter and involvement in your table which is nice. Another bonus, it is in the Entertainment Book and with the card a couple of us luckily have in the purse plus the BYO we had means it is an extremely reasonable night out given the quality and quantity of food. Mains are around $30+ but you definitely get what you pay for here if you don’t mind paying a little more than average to enjoy great food and service.
So while not what we originally planned for this evening, it was not disappointing by any stretch of the imagination. Service, food, company, wine… a great night out and just what the doctor ordered to enjoy some time with dear friends. Tin Cat still has plenty of potential, as one of the original arty-type bistros of Adelaide and a rich history that includes being a bakery, brothel and a jazz supper club. As my sister said, the set up lends itself to it being a more happening place, especially out the back any summer weekend… and yes, more people should reacquaint themselves with this great little Adelaide treasure on the edge of the city.
Tin Cat Cafe, Restaurant & Gallery
107 Rundle Street, Kent Town, Adelaide, South Australia
Vibe: 8/10 – on a busy warm day/night in the garden 10/10
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