Restaurant Review: Art Gallery

Those little triangular sandwiches. Yes, those little bundles of boring bread and some combination of ham, lettuce, chutney, tomatoes, tuna, egg or cucumbers (not necessarily together) seem to pervade every Australian catered function from Darwin to Hobart. I am a reasonably numerate person, but I think I would be challenged to count the number of times I’ve been served those little triangular sandwiches. I believe there must be a secret caterers’ society where you only get the special decoder ring and catering wizard certificate if you promise to make them for every event.

Of course, that little rant has something to do with the latest F & G review of the South Australian Art Gallery Restaurant on North Terrace in the city (but don’t go to the website – it’s a piddley single page updated last in 2004!).

When we first arrived in Adelaide we ate in there several times after cruising around the city, actually visiting the Art Gallery, or passing through the University of Adelaide grounds. It’s close to work and has a lovely back area and outdoor table dining. Of course, it’s in the Art Gallery itself, so it’s literally surrounded by beautiful things. All a good combination.

But it was the food that kept us coming back. The little dishes and sandwiches were tasty and not too pricey, the wine list was good, with an occasional winner (the Hans Heysen organic Shiraz, which unfortunately isn’t served any more, was brilliant), and the desserts were pleasing. The coffee was very ordinary, so don’t think you’ll be treated to anything like what we should get everywhere in Adelaide (see The Quest for Coffee).

The last few times we’ve eaten there, however, have been very disappointing. We’ve had the duck salad (not too great), and the Scottish baps (the chicken caesar was ok, but no longer available, and the salmon was fairly depressing) on a variety of occasions. So today, we decided to try a sandwich. And what do you think appeared before us? The dreaded triangular sandwich. I’m sorry to say that a few slabs of wholemeal bread bought at Coles or Woolies surrounding some tomatoes, unidentifiable cheese and a bit of green stuff FOR $10 (!) just won’t do.

I mean, really. With all the wonderful bakeries in town and seemingly every other decent restaurant baking its own bread these days, there’s really no excuse (did I mention they were $10 each?). Sure, the place is run by a caterer, but that doesn’t mean we should be served substandard food. I wonder who they’re trying to please? Maybe they are reaching out to the nice little old lady crowd who want to approximate a high-tea experience?

Our advice – give the place a miss if you are looking for a decently priced lunch and a reasonable coffee. You won’t find them here. But if you are in the Art Gallery anyway and just want a bite in a nice setting, go for it.

Groggy & Foodie

P.S. Are you a fan of the triangular sandwich? Is this a sub-culture we are missing out on? Please let us know!

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~ by Groggy on 11/02/2009.

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