Coal Cellar + Grill previewed their ala carte Winter Food and Wine Series last Tuesday night, which pays homage to the great produce our state offers. The series will tribute a different theme each month, kicking off on the 1st of June with Pork & Pinot.
Coal Cellar + Grill is just over a year and a half old, and has already amassed a reputation for being best grill restaurant. Using over a tonne of coal every month to cook their South Australian delicacies, Coal Cellar + Grill is the embodiment of a winter menu. The wine list is equally as impressive, stocking over five hundred labels - ninety percent of which are South Australian! Their wine cellar is a magnificent point of difference, - probably why it made it into the restaurant name - as it is centred in the middle of the restaurant above ground with a towered mirror visage.
The meal started off with introducing us to the three featured wines for the month of Pork & Pinot, all of which were - unsurprisingly - Pinot Noir. Where’s the Pinot Grigio I hear you white wine lovers ask? Well, on a full bodied winter menu I’d say the summery drink doesn’t pair too well with the hearty food dished up. I’m not much of a red wine drinker myself, but the chefs have paired the wines very intuitively, and I loved every drop. So fear not, you will too!
The Adelaide Hills ‘Henschke' Giles Pinot Noir is probably the better of the three for those with a sweeter palate. It is very clean, with peppery, berry undertones - so in English, very drinkable. The Felton Road ‘Bannockburn’ Pinot Noir, sourced from our Kiwi cousins in Central Otago is a much richer, and deeper flavoured red; plum-like you could probably say. I would order this wine with the Coal Grilled Pork Cutlet which I will get to in just a moment. The final wine featured in June is the Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir from Victoria, which in terms of palate is slightly savoury, and sits in between the lightness of the Henschke and the richness of the Bannockburn.
Finally, the food. In complete honesty, pork isn’t usually something I would often pick off a menu when dining out. However, after last night’s tasting at Coal Cellar + Grill I’m going to have to rethink that, because my prior assumptions about pork have completely altered. I will no doubt be telling all my friends to try out June’s Pork & Pinot menu the whole month.
The Coal Grilled Pork Cutlet might sound understated, but it was served with double cream potato, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and piquant sauce. The cutlet was sensationally succulent, a feat in itself considering the easiness in overcooking pork, and paired with the mysteriously sweet, yet tart piquant sauce made for a knocker of a dish. And double cream mashed potato, I mean, who doesn’t love that. It’s like Grandma’s homemade Apple Pie, you just can’t go wrong with it.
The second dish was the Pork Ribs, but no, this ain’t no simple all-American picnic. The last time I had pork ribs I was actually in America at some steakhouse in the Mid-West, and they pale in comparison to the deliciousness of the ribs at Coal Cellar + Grill which had the whole table salivating. The ribs are smothered in a chipotle BBQ American sauce, and served with thick cut Texan chips, and ranch dressed slaw. The meat from the smokey ribs fell clean off the bone, so you can appear to eat in a civilised manner with your knife and fork whilst pigging out. The Texan chips were crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, and the ranch flavoured slaw was an ingenious twist on the American classic coleslaw. This was a meal I could, and would, definitely eat again and again.
The final meal featured on the Pork & Pinot menu for June is the Asian inspired Pork Belly which is twelve hours slow braised and infused with honey, ginger and soy sauce, served alongside Asian greens and crispy pork crackling. The belly perfectly balanced the meat and fatty textures, and sings with flavours of the Orient. Despite being stuffed from the previous two tastings, the Pork Belly, which is a very generous serving, was surprisingly light and enjoyable. So your winter waistline doesn’t need to fret, because this dish puts you in no danger of the dreaded winter weight gain.
The Pork & Pinot menu will be showcased for the entire month of June, starting off this Thursday. July will be similarly themed ‘Beef & Barossa’, and August will be ‘Ribs & Rockford’, as a slight teaser for what is to come. So now, there’s only one thing to do. Head over to Coal Cellar + Grill this June, and get some pork on your fork - sorry, I couldn’t help myself!
Header image via Coal Cellar + Grill
All other images taken by Erin Gear.