Leigh St Wine Room

9 Leigh St
Adelaide, SA 5000

Nothing beats a good wine bar, and Leigh St Wine Room is as good as they come. The space is dressed to stun, its cosy European vibes capped by a dramatically high, curved ceiling. The delightfully snacky menu is served with aplomb by the bubbly, knowledgeable staff, and the way the restaurant leans into its former identity as a dry cleaner is adorable. This is Melbourne-level stuff people, and shows off Adelaide’s culinary scene as the up-and-coming hot spot that it is.

Rating: 15/20 – #radelaide
Must-order: fried potatoes. fried tapioca. steamed mussels.

Fried Tapioca, Black Garlic ($7ea)

If you love textural bites, the Fried Tapioca, Black Garlic ($7ea) will be a total slam dunk. The golden-crisp shell gives way to a gooey, cheesy centre, studded with chewy spots of tapioca. The richness is augmented by a delicious fermented black garlic paste, plus more cheese, just for good measure.

Pickled White Anchovies ($12)

The Pickled White Anchovies ($12) in a pool of olive oil are a natural pairing for bread, but you can also use these salty, tangy bites to cut through whatever rich treat you happen to be snacking on at the time. I personally liked them paired with the crispy fried potatoes (more on that later).

Pork Belly Skewer ($15ea)

The majority of the sharing menu is vegetable or seafood-forward, but there are a handful of heartier options, including the Pork Belly Skewer ($15ea), glazed with a sticky Filipino-styled BBQ sauce that adds a fermented funk to the classic sweet and savoury flavours. I would like the pork to be a bit more tender and smoky, but it’s an enjoyable bit of meat nonetheless.

Steamed Mussels ($18)

The Steamed Mussels ($18) are a hidden gem, even if seeing them across the room will definitely not prompt an immediate envy-order. What looks sort of like a whipped custard turned out to be half a dozen of fresh, plump shellfish swimming under a mousse of miso and sesame. The result is a beautiful contrast between the sweet, mellow brine of steamed oysters, and the savoury earthy notes of the frothy sauce. They recommended bread to mop up the remainder, but once again, these went just as well with the fried potatoes (the anticipation for these potatoes is building!).

Crispy Fried Potatoes ($15)

And here they are! The Crispy Fried Potatoes ($15)! Yes they’re basically just fancy potato cakes, but it’s hard to beat thick, waxy slices of potato, lightly battered and fried until perfectly golden. It truly is one of life’s purest pleasures. A mellow but distinctly pungent blue cheese cream comes on the side for dipping, but you can really just swipe this through any sauce you have.

Fregola, King Prawn, Kalamata, Chilli ($34)

The Fregola, King Prawn, Kalamata, Chilli ($34) ends things on a note of quiet luxury. The pearls of pasta were cooked to a gorgeous al dente, having soaked up the rich broth of king prawns, summer tomatoes, and fresh chilli. Bouncy chunks of prawns are tossed through the pasta, and crowned with an entire smoky prawn head that consolidates of all the beautiful flavours in the dish.

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