There’s nothing better than being comfortable while enjoying a hearty meal that’s been cooked with love – just like Nonna used to make.Chef Khalil greets you personally at the door to his humble Norwood restaurant with open arms.
“Welcome family and friends!” – it’s an instant ice breaker and heart warmer.
I have to admit – the restaurant is absolutely nothing like we had imagined. When we were told we’d be dining at a restaurant owned by a Celebrity TV chef who was the star of his own show, we expected white collar, fine dining, dab the corners of your mouth with your napkin, kind of style. Instead, what we experienced was nothing more than a comfy home cooked meal that felt like it was cooked by a long lost friend – and we couldn’t have been happier!!
The walls of Nonna and I are painted to look like the Italian country side and the hard wood furnishings and aesthetic add to the nostalgia of childhood memories – eating around the dinner table with mum, dad, grandma and grandpa and even the dog at the end begging for a sly scrap to be thrown his way.
Since this month Adelaide Fusion is focusing on Gluten Free option aside from the norm, we (of course) asked him what he recommended. His response was slightly baffling since we were in an Italian restaurant:
“Don’t get the pasta!! Try something different! I am a chef and a tailor and I can make for you whatever you like!”
It one of my favourite responses ever.
So often those of us with allergies or strict dietary restrictions are treated as nothing more than a hassle. Menu options can be altered to the point of simply removing the bread or omitting the sauce. Dishes are not made for us, they’re just manipulated to make do. Not at Nonna and I. Here, we are important members of the family and we are treated as such. It’s incredibly humbling to be considered and cared for in such a way.
“Each of my dishes is cooked as it is ordered. This means that the food is fresh and can be made with or without whatever you want. I’m cooking for YOU.” Says Khalil.
So we took his advice and ordered the Beef Cheeks and the Egg Battered Flounder.
Both. Were . Divine.
It is hearty and filling and all we could think of that could make it better would be enjoying it in front of the fire place with a nice drop of red. Perfect for a cold winters night and a dish that will stay in our minds forever.
The flounder was unlike anything we’d enjoyed before. The egg batter creates an almost creamy like taste – and the fish itself is moist and tender, soft and, dare I say, dessert like?? It was almost like eating pudding. Sooooo smooth and delicate and oh so delicious. Very difficult to describe but very highly recommended – A+ for taste, texture and presentation.
One thing that has stood out to us at Adelaide Fusion over the past few months is that many establishments are focussing more and more (in some cases, ONLY) on the visual aesthetic of a meal; is it “instagram worthy”. This is made a considerable impact on the quality of service and overall hospitality that the places have provided.
I cannot stress enough how important costumer service and a basic level of interaction/concern can be. A meal can look incredible on the plate and taste semi reasonable , but if it’s not delivered with a smile or followed up by a sense of interest by the waiter, then the entire dining experience can be compromised.
In the case of Nonna and I and it’s owner/head chef, we could gladly pick up a bottle of wine and sit with him at the table and simple listen to him talk. He is engaging, caring, considerate and hilarious!
As much as his food is familiar and insanely tasty and certainly warrants a return visit, it is HE who will bring us back time and time again. He is quite possibly the very best host we have ever had to good fortune to meet. There is no review good enough to the awarded to this man and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for welcoming us into his family!