Review: Daniel O’Connell

This is the tale of the Daniel O’Connell.

This story isn’t one of faerie castles, sniggering leprechauns or fearsome hags, but a fable of wondrous beasts tracked locally from paddock to plate and butchered in the depths of the scullery; recipes torn from the pages of folklore and prepared in a flurry of delectable activity; nose, tail, and everything in between.

From the heart of the kitchen to the smoked heart of an ox, matched impeccably with oyster, cornichons and capers.

This is the tale of the Daniel O’Connell.

Still suffering from a time when Irish pubs received wicker and glass-panelled makeovers, the frontage maintains its heritage while some recent touches have brought the important parts of this hodgepodge venue up to date without worrying too much about cohesion.

With exposed beams, brick surrounds, and ye olde timber joinery, the interior is rounded off with clunky furniture, chesterfield couches, and whiskey on display. There’s something to be said about Irish cuisine, and it certainly isn’t potatoes. It’s black pudding with a fruity finish of peach and apple and radish. The idea of imperious blood sausage disappears when the dish lands. Served as a cube and topped with fruits it delivers an alluring scent. The only comparison I can suggest is an American brownie – bittersweet and velvety, with a hint of chocolate to boot.

Alongside is another starter, a dollop of bone marrow custard served with lavosh and gherkin (and a large hunk of the blood pudding brownie). Not quite enough lavosh-to-custard ratio, we use the house-made sourdough bread to mop up the rest and move on to round three.

It’s steak tartar, but not as you know it – and aptly named Dead Romance. I’m guessing that the personality of ‘loveable rogue’ sous chef Phil Whitmarsh shines through in this dish.

Whitmars is second in command to head chef Aaron Gillespie, who is a Manse graduate and most recently peddled his wares at Grace the Establishment. These two make a formidable team; together they are building quite a reputation while creating a culinary destination.

Back to the rest of the share menu and I made a measured decision to avoid the peculiar sounding (though according to our waitress, surprisingly delicious) Pig Ear ‘Schnitty’.

I appreciate the nod to Adelaide’s pub favourite, but it was back to the kitchen with that little auricle, bound for someone with less discriminating taste.

I moved on to the liver parfait instead, this one served with a portion of duck breast fillet accompanied by prune, cherry and pain d’epice – another sweet element of spice cake. The kitchen prepares dishes with minimal waste, and I was determined to eat in the same fashion.

Full but determined, two main courses arrived: Saltbush mutton, peas, parsley and ricotta, and Mulloway Brandade. The ol’ ram was given the royal treatment and the simple additions let the cut speak for itself – coated in a master stock that topped things off nicely.

The Mulloway Brandade with crisp egg, trotter and grains was the lightest of all the dishes, and served with a side of spiced yogurt-coated carrots. Delicious.

The local wines are as enticing as this culinary tale, though I’ve seen most of these on lists around town before. A Yangarra Roussane served well with the entrees, and a French Vermentino followed. I’ve heard whispers of monthly culinary feasts titled Table for 10 where the guys will serve themed selections to highlight the season and tickle your buds.

If you’re Irish (at heart) and feel like a tipple then the Jameson Whiskey flights might be for you, or perhaps a flight of their exclusively imported RC Lemaire range of Champagne.

Whether the Irish legend is true or not I’ve got my three wishes ready: beef shin, bone marrow and a chocolate stout dessert – he can keep his pot of gold.

The Daniel O’Connell Pub And Dining

165 Tynte St, North Adelaide
8267 4032
danieloconnell.com.au

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