A couple of weeks ago, the country’s top chefs and restaurateurs gathered at the Art Gallery of NSW for the 5th annual Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants.
This list of top restaurants is a little different from the rest because it’s voted on by fellow chefs, not food critics.
As you’d expect, NSW and Victoria dominated the list. But about South Australia? After all, they pride themselves on their wine and produce.
Well, they had a number of restaurants featured in the list, including a little placed called Shobosho in the Adelaide CBD.
While it came in at number 92, I honestly think they were robbed!
Blink and you’ll miss it – it’s not a very big place and not the most obvious location.
Once you walk in though, you’ll be impressed by their creative use of the space.
The open kitchen lines one side of the restaurant and it’s fascinating to hear everything the chefs say to each other, and to see how they work.
What’s extra special about Shobosho, is how friendly the chefs are. I was seated at the kitchen and the chefs were more than happy to have a little conversation about the restaurant and food, and to explain the dishes.
And so, we get to the food.
The menu changes daily and everything is inspired by the chefs’ experiences in kitchens around Asia – Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and more.
Sure, on the surface, that might seem like A LOT of complex, clashing flavours. But trust me, they’re all fused together perfectly in delicious and approachable dishes.
To give you a quick rundown of the food I ate, we started with the potato crisps with seaweed salt and vinegar, then had the raw tuna salad, handmade egg noodles with eggplant xo sauce and fried egg, garfish wrapped in Korean seaweed and soaked in black vinegar, Korean BBQ spicy chicken, pork and cabbage pot stickers, katsu sandwich and an apple shaved ice with sake jelly and puffed rice dessert (this was such a fresh way to end the night).
As someone who’s always on the hunt for excellent Korean food, I think Shobosho does a great job of introducing Korean flavours without being too intrusive or confronting to the taste buds.
The use of salted Korean seaweed is such a unique but clever way of serving Garfish because it gave it a really robust flavour and plenty of seasoning.
And then there’s the Korean BBQ chicken. It’s not your traditional Korean BBQ – they give you whole bits of chicken. But I thought it was a really smart way of using “ssam”, and introducing it to customers who might not have any Korean BBQ experience.
The marinade over the chicken was fantastic too – it had the typical Korean gochujang taste that I love. The only criticism I have is that for some people, it might all be a bit too spicy.
The pot stickers were probably my favourite – in fact, since coming back to Sydney, I’ve been trying to recreate them! They had a bit of spice, which made me think the mixture had some gochujang in it too, while the sauce ladled over them definitely had a hint of soybean paste.
The most interesting thing though, is that the ends of each pot sticker was left open, which I’ve never seen before.
The reason? So that the pork fat seeps out and gives the pot stickers an extra caramelly crispiness. And it works!
I really only have praise for Shobosho – the food’s absolutely delicious, the service is unmatched and it’s quite an experience.
If you ever head to Adelaide and you’re on the hunt for some good Korean flavours, this is certainly the place to go.