It’s been a long time coming, but Adelaide’s wine bar scene has finally hit the suburbs. Places like Bar Lune, Good Gilbert, Anchovy Bandit and its new spin-off Bandit Pizza and Wine all give locals great reasons to eat, drink and have fun in their own neighborhood. And now it’s North Adelaide’s turn, with the new Pastel watering hole (in the former L’Italia site) joining O’ Connell St. And judging by the initial reactions, it’s something the region is crying out for.
“Everyone says, ‘Oh, we’re so happy something like this has finally happened,'” says co-owner Daniel Vaughan, who saw a mixed crowd of people in their 20s and 70s, and an elderly regular who Been in almost every night for a glass of Chardonnay.
Vaughan (of 1000 Island) and business partners Elijah Makris and Saba Maghsoudi (of Pinco Deli and design agency Studio Mazi) and artist and designer James Brown (who also landscaped 1000 Island) want to bring new energy to the Strip and “being part of a bigger cultural shift in the area.” “We’re trying to create space for the kind of place where we’d like to eat and drink,” he says.
The team envisioned the dimly lit place as “a place of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city,” and Brown and her design agency business partner 2049 Sabrina Sterk designed a charming and cozy, hosted by Sam Weckert of Tiger Build. Just two weeks later, it already feels like part of the furniture, thanks in part to the retro nutmeg and tobacco-hued woodwork and exposed white brickwork, which rests against L’era-era marble countertops. Italy, and new custom sconce lighting and abstract artwork. The cozy front room belies the size of the place; a second room with more seating leads to an enclosed backyard, complete with benches, a DJ booth, and lots of greenery. But if you’re looking for an intimate spot, you’ll want to sit at the bar for a premium vibe, where DJs set up shop every night next to the warm glow of a well-placed red lamp.
“When James and Sabrina presented the renders to us, it was all right. It was warm, smart, classy, it felt like it had a bit of character,” says Vaughan. “He has a lot charm and a lot of soul.”
Head chefs Darek Krzywdzinski and Nathan Liu hailed from Peel St Restaurant and Gin Long Canteen respectively, and kitchens from their former workplaces feature on the globe-trotting menu, which crosses over to Southeast Asian kitchens , the Middle East and the Mediterranean. There are the usual wine bar suspects – whipped ricotta with fried walnuts, za’atar, honey and grilled focaccia; trevally sashimi with nam jim and crispy shallots; and anchovy fingers from Ortiz with a boiled egg, marinated fennel and aioli – alongside grilled octopus skewers with taramasalata and salsa verde; punchy Sichuan cucumber salad with chilli oil, soy peanuts and fresh ginger; plump pork and shrimp dumplings with shiitake, ginger and chili oil; and a plate of coconut-braised beef ribs with green mango and roasted rice.
The food is supported by an accessible wine list (of 145 bottles so far) devoted to low-intervention and more conventional drops. “We presented to the inhabitants [minimal-intervention wine], which has been great because it goes really well with food – there’s texture, there’s body, there’s a bit of funk, sometimes it’s got a lot of acid, which is goes well with the chilli, and it’s not too sweet,” says Vaughan. There are also house cocktails – including a Negroni made with peach wine and grapefruit oil and a “Disco Martini” with falernum, bitter orange and lemon oil – alongside a few classics.
47 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide
Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to late