Restaurant review: North SkyCity Adelaide
Life is about harmony and balance. Harmony between old and new; balance between work and play. Harmony between East and West, and balance between (dare I say) virtue and vice. Few restaurants exemplify this philosophy as sensuously as North at SkyCity Adelaide.
Situated in the 19th century edifice of the Adelaide Railway Station, North is wedged neatly alongside the city’s casino. And yet, it is just moments away from its cultural antithesis of the Adelaide Festival Centre. Its interior decor, with dark-hued carpets, red-upholstered chairs and leather banquette, is modern and understated — an elegant counterpoint to the quaint and lofty ceilings of the heritage building.
There are the cultured and the erudite quietly working through a light pre-theatre meal; there are Rolex-bearing, raucous punters rumbling volcanically about recent wins. Map-toting tourists are perched casually on high stools at the outdoor tables while suited executives prefer the formal dining room — their heads locked in serious conversation.
Japanese chef Sato Kikuchi arrived in South Australia from SkyCity Auckland’s dine by Peter Gordon, an award-winning restaurant renown for its blend of Asian, Pacific and traditional European cuisine. Now in Adelaide, Kikuchi is combining this fusion concept with his native Japanese culinary expertise.
While most choices on the menu tend to be decidedly European, those that are Japanese inflected are stunningly constructed. Start with the Seafood Tasting Platter ($19.50): an intriguing dish in which the Western-inspired sautéed moreton bay bug (flanked by caramelised scallops) is cleverly wedded to the Eastern-influenced tempura oyster. Shichimi mayonnaise and spiced coconut sauce make up an exquisite oriental veil.
Clearly on a charm offensive in hot pursuit of the the carnivore — he offers all manner of meat from chicken, duck, lamb, pork, beef to a mixed grill — Kikuchi also does not disappoint the fish lover and the carbohydrate-sucker.
NT Barramundi ($28) rides on a delectable mound of stir-fry Asian greens and comes with a crispy spring roll stuffed with finely diced tofu (beancurd) and prawns. The perfectly grilled fish is tender and moist; its delicate flavour judiciously enhanced — and, yes, balanced — by a salty miso glaze.
Spinach tagliatelle ($25.50 for a main and a beverage), from the Dine and Dash Menu for theatre-goers or impatient gamblers who will linger no later than 7:45 pm, is an unexpected delight. Al dente, the vegetable pasta is generously served with chicken pieces and specked with bacon bits — both meats lending a lovely smoky undertone to the tomato pesto light creamy sauce.
In North, Adelaide has found a proud son to promote it as the wine capital of Australia: its epic wine list is predominantly local with only a handful of drops from New Zealand or Tasmania.
Kikuchi’s three-year sojourn at dine has merely introduced him to fusion cooking; he appears tentative on putting forward bold ideas or revolutionary methods. Then again, life is really about harmony and balance — attributes that this restaurant exhibits unreservedly.
Skycity Adelaide Station Rd
(08) 8218 4273