The Guardsman is hard on the ears if crowded, but the noise is worth it for what your eyes will get. The talk from the emerald leather seats set within wooden booths, and the round oaken tables, rises up into the air. It forms an audible smog, one maybe as thick as that that fills the train station beyond the restaurant’s doors. The bar occupies the centre of the long room. It is surrounded by a skeleton of metal rods, like the piston cylinders that pushed old locomotives. The artistry of the indoor decorating even extends to the bathrooms, with black-and-white-tiled floors, and a mirror set in a thick wooden frame. Outside seating offers an alternative to anyone who wants a quieter meal, under the vaulting square roof of the train station.
My first impression that this would be a standard pub meal vanished when the waitress brought my appetizer. I was expecting bread rolls covered in some variety of garlic sauce. What I received was Zaatar bread sprinkled with Kangaroo Island garlic, served with olives and a thick orange gazpacho oil. The olives were better than those I ate while in Greece. They were tart without being overwhelmingly bitter. The bread was smooth with the kick that I like from garlic.
My mood dropped slightly when my meal came. I had to saw my burger in half to eat it. Even then I had to stretch my jaws to their limit to wrap my lips around it. I don’t like meals I can’t eat with cutlery, but the burger was worth the trouble and mess of eating with my hands. The amount of meat was generous, a patty and bacon, all divinely grilled. The pickles, tomato and sauce, prevented it from having the dryness of just meat thrown in a bun that makes a burger filling but unsatisfying. In each bite, a specimen from almost every major food group hit my stomach in a single blow.
My dessert surprised me more than my appetizer. It was not so much a lemon meringue pie, but more the contents of a lemon meringue pie. The lemon curd and meringues weren’t served inside a base, but on top of a bed of pistachio nuts. But it still was sweet enough to make my taste buds dance across my tongue. It also came with a scoop of lime gelati that cleansed my pallet when I was finished.
I would advise anyone interested in dining at The Guardsman not to underrate this hidden, rough gem, and make a reservation. It is not just a cheap greasy spoon. If you don’t believe this, someone else will already know it, and will beat you to it, and deprive you of a delightful meal that will break both convention and assumption.
For anyone who wants to test my claims, The Guardsman can be found inside the Adelaide Railway Station, and you can look at their website to see their menu and make a reservation.