By Amanda – On The Chopping Board
:: 289 Halifax Street, Adelaide
Finding a dinner location on a Monday night is always a challenge due to so many establishments not opening on this night of the week. Thankfully the new kid on the block ‘Ballaboosta‘ is open and myself (Amanda) and three friends head off for a cook-free Monday night dinner. Seems like we’re the only ones dining out on this cold evening as we have Ballaboosta all to ourselves. No issue for us as it means we can freely gossip away and have the chef’s full attention!
We begin with selecting a couple of mezze dips and wood fired pita bread to share. We select the Hommus (chickpea puree, lemon juice and tahini served with extra virgin olive oil) and the Baba Ghanouj (char-grilled and roasted garlic infused eggplant with tahini, lemon juice and a splash of extra virgin olive oil).
The pita arrives fresh out of the wood-oven puffed to a spectacular high! We cut through the pita to deflate it and spread thick with each of the dips. Both dips are delicious. The baba ghanouj oozing smokey eggplant and garlic flavours and the hommus a creamy moreish chickpea blend with back notes of lemon freshness. We are offered extra pita bread to ensure we wipe those dip bowls clean which we appreciate.
Next we have the ‘Wild Zatar and Vegetable Mezze Flatbread’ which is described as a mixture of wild thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and premium olive oil with fresh tomato, cucumber, mint and Labneh (soft cheese spread) toasted and wrapped in our signature wood fire flatbread. I’m a big fan of the manoushi’s at The Little Eastern (you can read my review here) so I had high expectations and was not disappointed. This flatbread is rolled and generously filled with the Middle Eastern spices and fresh ingredients with lashes of creamy labneh. The wood fired flatbread completes this dish perfectly as it is lovely and soft and has great smokey flavours that combine well with the zatar.
The ‘Grilled Haloumi’ is described as a Cyprian haloumi cheese lightly grilled in the wood fire oven, served on a bed of rocket and cherry tomatoes. Haloumi at times can be too salty or too tough but tonight at Ballaboosta it is superb. The cheese has great smokey flavours from the wood oven, has a soft inner, a lovely caramelised crunch on the outer and has just enough saltiness. A good squeeze of the lemon on top, paired with the fresh rocket and we were happy.
The ‘Sambousik’ is described as pastry pockets filled with seasoned beef mince and toasted pine nuts, served with hommus. This deep fried pastry pocket was crunchy and the beef mince inside was juicy and well seasoned and we enjoyed the extra textural element from the pinenuts. Dipped in the hommus it made for a nice mezze dish but slightly underwhelming compared to the previous dishes.
The ‘Wild Mushroom Wood Oven Pizza’ is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, goats cheese, wild mushroom and spinach. Who doesn’t love a good wood oven pizza and luckily this one stood it’s ground. Great thin base, good amount of toppings and a winning mix of ingredients with that delicious wood fire taste.
To balance out our dinner and add some ‘green’ in our lives we decide to order The ‘Fattoush’ salad. This consisted of romaine hearts, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, sumac and extra virgin olive oil, served with toasted pita crisps. The salad was just as we were after, fresh and healthy (even if it had some sneaky crunchy pita crisps in there!) and made a nice accompaniment.
To neutralise the garlic and digest those carbs, I finish with a lovely pot of peppermint tea. A perfect ending to a lovely night at Ballaboosta, with service all to ourselves, great pricing for generous sized dishes, all while we watched our meals fire away in the wood oven which brings a warming cosy feel to the whole place.
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly :: Yes
Child Friendly :: Yes
Ambiance :: 3/5 Warm and cosy from the wood oven but missing the buzz as there were no other diners on this occasion.
Service :: 4/5 Quick and friendly.
Food :: 8/10 Tasty Middle Eastern food executed well in the wood oven.
In total OTCB gives Ballaboosta 15/20 chops on The Chopping Board.