Despite the opulent furnishings, my eyes are continually drawn against my will to the incongruous tv screens against the back wall. The fans watching the footy there have an enviable selection of local craft beer, but the juxtaposition undercuts the grandeur of the venue somewhat.
The menu is more cohesive, marrying pub classics with a gourmet flourish and a few more speculative dishes, so there really is something for everyone.
Fittingly, for a restaurant near what was once the terminus for trains from all over the state, it reads like a paean to South Australian produce. Port Lincoln sardines, Kangaroo Island garlic, Limestone Coast beef and Riverland lemon are all namechecked on the roll call of regions.
Eyre Peninsula seafood is particularly well represented, and on a cold night I can’t go past the Kinkawooka mussels.
As soon as I take the lid off the pot I’m engulfed in a cloud of garlic-scented steam that tells me I made the right decision. The rich, creamy white wine sauce has some celery and onion, parsley for freshness and a hint of ocean jus from the plump bivalves. It’s perfect, and the toasted Turkish bread alongside it is put to good use soaking up the sauce.
Elsewhere, the menu accompanies overwhelmingly South Australian touches with influences from further afield. Even so, I’m a little surprised when the shoulder of lamb arrives in a balti dish with a mild curry gravy.
Topped with a generous garnish of saffron threads, it’s richly spiced without being overly spicy. Fortunately, the garam combines harmoniously with the lamb, which still has just enough fat to be succulent, and the texture is superb. It’s soft enough to be pulled apart with tongs and the meat and accompaniments are generous.