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Rose Garden

September 9, 2012

125 Churchill Road
Prospect SA 5082
(08) 8344 9969
Open Tues-Sun for Lunch & Dinner 

Anyone living in Adelaide for the past 20 or so years might have formed a bit of a stereotypical view of Churchill Rd as being quite rough and dangerous … and it’s not until the Prospect Council upgraded the road recently that anyone driving around here would probably agree. People always assume that dining in a swanky popular suburban strip is the only way to go for great food (… and we’ve certainly done the rounds to coin this!) however even the worst looking suburbs have their hidden surprises and I have a feeling the Rose Garden (currently receiving a very impressive 93% rating on Urban Spoon!) is going to turn some heads … well, mouths at least! Let’s find out!

Final Score: 7.5/10

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“A” (Hor Mok Talay)

It’s been recommended to me before, and I guess it has been put off for a while because it’s a bit of a travel from the South. Nevertheless, it has been haunting me on my long list of Thai restaurants and the time has now come … time to face the music and see whether the Rose Garden will produce something sweet-smelling or thorny!

Being on a main road, it’s hard to miss and for one of our diners this was actually her regular Thai eatery so hopefully no arguments will surface! From the outside, you’ll notice just how long this place has been around for judging by the drab frontage. When you step inside, it doesn’t really get much better … with your typical 80’s Chinese restaurant styling, complete with plastic flower arrangements on the wall and plainly framed Asian artwork thrown about the place. The furniture was definitely of-age and let’s just say the toilets would definitely be a renovator’s dream. If you’ve been following this tour, the aesthetics of this place would be just a smidge lower than our review at Angkor Thai … so hopefully, going by the old saying “never judge a book by it’s cover” the food will be absolutely amazing and cheap!

In a nutshell the service here is warm, friendly and amazingly quick! There were just six of us so the speed shouldn’t have been an issue, but the attention to us (with plenty of other patrons as well) was great and there were no problems taking in our orders and no fuss recommendation for my dish. Food came out with quick gusto, including requesting entrees coming out at the same time as our mains. Exactly the kind of service you’d expect from, well, any restaurant! … I mean, we’ve been to some restaurants where the service has just been plain rude (to match their prices I guess) so it is always uplifting to be served with a smile. It’s one of the reasons why I rate the service separately because it impacts heavily on your dining experience!

Now, you might be wondering why the flip is this dish called “A” … well, that’s exactly what was sold to me, and is what they announced when they brought it out! Later I found out it was actually the “Chef Special A” called Hor Mok Talay, a traditional steamed seafood egg souffle … exciting! It’s great to see places offering traditional Thai dishes (on top of the favourite curries of course) and it makes you realise how authentic the cooking really is. All I can say is totally tasty sumptuous seafood! The flavour was excellent with plenty of spring onion, chilli, basil and of course that seafood marinara tang. This was all combined with a soft eggy souffle mixed throughout and it worked surprisingly well. The texture of the squid, from being steamed slowly inside the alfoil wrap, was almost perfect … and there was plenty of it! To top it off, it was served to me on fire … now, come on, everyone knows sizzling steak in an Asian restaurant turns heads as the burning smell and crackling sound hits your senses, but this is definitely one notch higher! Conclusion … not only is it the Chef’s recommendation, it’s mine too!

So great service, questionable venue (renovations definitely required) and awesome food … but what about the price? Be ready to pickup your phones and place your orders … mains were just $12 for most, with my filling seafood envelope just $15! Compared to what we have paid for previously on our journey, here I would have been able to order two (yes, two!) mains! Next time you’re walking down the footpath and see that blade of grass forcing its way up toward the sun through the cracks in the grey concrete, remind yourself that even the most unlikely suburbs can pop out a winner … go ahead, be brave and get all Christopher Columbus up in there with your next food outing!

  • Service [9.1/10] : Like last week, super friendly and speedy!
  • Quality [9.4/10] : So much tasty seafood in an eggy souffle mix, just magic!
  • Venue [3.1/10] : Erk … BUT prices match appropriately. I hear takeaway is popular!
  • Value [8.4/10] : Massive marks for cheap food & great service, points off for the venue, sorry!

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