Dave and I headed out to lunch on the Wednesday before the Clipsall 500 – destination the Tivoli. Yes that’s right, the Tivoli. That is not a typo or an oversight. What transpired against us and our original plan was the lovely Adelaide early autumn weather – being both cold and raining. As such, there was no way we were walking all that way in said deluge – as such we decided to cut our journey much shorter and duck into The Historian.
The Historian is self described as being “Discreetly located at 18 Coromandel Place Adelaide this quaint and quirky pub matches perfectly with the excellent wine and food on offer”. And really that sums it up. The place has charm in spades, bucket load, and whatever other noun or cliché you would wish to throw at it. Its got more character than you can poke a stick at. See – there is another one right there.
It has been renovated to bring it up to ‘modern’ requirements however it has a very old world, chilled vibe to it. Suffice to say it is a very pleasant place to be ordering a burger and quaffing an ale.
If appearance counted for much, then things were definitely looking up for the Historian’s burger effort. Sitting proudly on the bun, all moist and tasty looking, it certainly got the salivation well and truly underway. When it came to the part of eating, it was very well seasoned without anything there by way of a distraction from what it was meant to be – ie a beef patty. Perfectly seasoned and pretty tasty.
However, this was where the real positives ended for the meat element. The size, while good for appearance, didn’t translate to overly pleasant eating as it was too oval shaped. This resulted in the age old problem of insufficient bun coverage, and then when it was there, about 23cm of beef to be biting through (slight exaggeration for artistic purposes, but you get the idea). The patty was also quite dry, and by the end it was a bit too much effort to be chewing it. On balance, a little disappointing but not a complete failure.
The Historian haven’t gone overboard on the fillings side of things. There was melted cheese on the bun, some very crisp and fresh iceberg lettuce, some fresh and vibrant tomato, bacon and tomato chutney. Good simple ingredients perhaps, but when they all work together they can really sing a wonderful tune.
In this instance though, they didn’t appear to all be singing from the same songbook. The tomato and lettuce were very fresh and commendable, however I only had two very small slivers of the tomato and a little too much lettuce. The bacon was….there, but hardly plentiful, and the cheese had been melted within an inch of its life, as such it had pretty much disappeared.
The biggest issue though was the chutney, which was (all but) missing. Upon close and thorough investigation, I could detect some evidence of the chutney having been in the vicinity of the burger at some point, however it seemed to have long since moved on. This, in conjunction with the slight dryness of the burger, was really conspicuous in its absence.
The bun was a really nice plain white roll – soft with a slight hint of toastiness, warm and flavoursome. The proportions were really good and it moulded nicely into your hand. However, by the end it had basically cried enough and was just starting to break down, however it did make it to the end just holding up its end of the bargain.
Yep, it was chips all the way once more but with the twist of being seasoned with herb salt. They were in good supply and perfectly cooked. Really good stuff.
$18 was what we had to shell out for the burger and chips, and all told, this represents reasonable value. Around the average for price, the overall quantity wasn’t as much as some, but at the same time more than sufficient for me.
Overall The Historian served up a very cool venue – especially on a rainy day – and a decent burger with fresh, minimal ingredients but with some noted issues. The patty delivered today was both a positive and a negative, and not enough sauce did detract. Having said that, and despite the overall negative vibe of the review, it was overall quite enjoyable, but it just feels so much like a missed opportunity. There is strong potential here for it to be significantly better with some small improvements. Perhaps we just got them on a slightly off day?
Score – 6.9