[At the time this review was written I was not working for The White House, I have since taken a job at this restaurant as the Sous Chef]
The White House would have to be one of my favourite restaurants in the Adelaide Hills. I had been to the White House a few times for breakfast not long after they first opened and was very impressed, but had not been back since the renovation and new menu, so I was excited to check it out again. The menu boasts an origin in classic french cooking, with plenty of butter and full flavour, and with clear inspiration from the region in their use of local produce, which they integrate seamlessly with a relaxed sophistication. Breakfast was going to be good!
The whole restaurant in fact has a relaxed feel, with charming additions such as the old bikes out the front and chess board for those that feel so inclined, as soon as you walk in you feel at ease and as if you belong. The waiting staff are exceptional as well, and have the same welcoming and relaxed attitude. We got in just before breakfast was due to finish, and were just starting to feel a little worried that they wouldn’t be happy to serve us. But that concern was immediately put at ease by the waitress who showed us to our table and gave us all the time in the world to order. No rushing to get our order into the kitchen and cooked so they could pack up. How refreshing!
The breakfast menu is simple, giving the impression each item is done well, yet still with enough variation to suit everyone. The waitress’s recommendation was to try the Caramelised Mushroom and Avocado Fougasse Bread, a type of traditional french flatbread similar to focaccia, but we couldn’t look past the Bacon and Eggs ($16.50) and a Crepes Suzette ($13.50) to finish.
The Bacon and Eggs were delicious. Our poached eggs, which were visibly free range, were cooked to perfection, the white set and the yolk thickened slightly but still runny. I ask you, is there anything better in this world than a perfectly cooked poached egg?! Such a beautiful thing, and these were no exception. Happiness on a plate! The local Kanmantoo bacon was rich and smoky, and it was clear that everything was cooked and plated with care.
The hands down winner though was the Crepes Suzette. Beautifully thin layered crepes with the freshness of the macerated orange segments, a perfectly balanced Cointreau sauce and the sweet but sour creme fraiche. Every aspect complemented each other and no element overpowered the other, and the presentation speaks for itself. From a technical standpoint, the crepes had too much colour. Traditionally speaking crepes are served with little to no colour, however I believe that tradition doesn’t always make it right. Personally I think the extra colour in these crepes actually lift the whole dish; I think it creates additional texture and taste, and the contrast in colour adds interest as well. Food is such a personal thing though, if I were French I’d be saying “off with their head”! Each to their own.
All in all a well rounded meal, that left us not only satisfied, but wanting more! Can’t wait to explore the rest of the menu, and it seems that neither can anyone else. If you’re thinking of making the scenic trip up the hills then make sure to book a table, as the word about this cute little hills hideaway is well and truly out. Earlier in the year, The White House was nominated in the 2012 Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence in several categories… for Best Breakfast, Best Cafe, Best Chef: Simon Bratt, and Best Employer: owner Sophie Zervas, with Sophie taking out the Best Employer title, not that there’s any surprise there, given our experiences with the staff.
I’m really excited to see what this fantastic Adelaide Hills restaurant has to offer in the way of its lunch and dinner menu, and if it’s anything like the breakfast menu then all of our taste buds are in for a good time.
Customer Service 4.5/5
Price vs Quality 5/5