Peel Street Restaurant: Adelaide’s retro masterpiece

Sit at the bar listening to a mix of old school Motown, Janet Jackson and Bon Jovi in Adelaide’s Peel Street restaurant and you’re transported into your own Brat Pack film. The stripped back warehouse interior design features a long bar of timber and concrete and old-school air-conditioning ducts criss-crossing the ceiling. Add a small picture of Al Pacino as Scarface stuck to the wall next to the cash register and casual but attentive bar staff and you’re back in the 1980s. Outside and across Peel Street itself, a hair salon sits in a blonde brick building finished in pebble-crete. I half expect Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez or John Cusack to wander in wearing a long surplus store overcoat.

It’s packed to the gunnels on a Thursday night and as I scan the happy, diverse crowd seated in bistro-style timber chairs, I wonder where Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s co-produced HBO series Vinyl went wrong? Sure it does offer a lovingly designed vision of the 1970s and all of its excesses but it’s all surface. Vinyl reminds me of the story in the movie Inception - a lovingly created dream on the verge of collapse. I’m thinking if Jagger and Scorsese truly wanted to get an understanding of how to imbue a room with the understated cool of another era they couldn’t have gone wrong visiting Peel Street.

The actual Peel Street and neighbouring Leigh Street are both part of a now lively Adelaide precinct offering visitors plenty of distractions day and night. Wander along during the day and the street is alive with cafes while at night there’s a laid-back energy emanating from numerous small bars and great little restaurants.

Back at Peel Street, the volume levels in the room are pretty high. Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl kicks in as waiters flit between tables with plates piled high with comfort food augmented with lashings of roughly chopped eye-catching greens such as coriander, basil and mint and the red of pomegranate seeds.

Peel Street, Adelaide
They play Billy Joel's Uptown Girl - we approve. Peel Street restaurant

Yet as casual as this all sounds, Peel Street is one serious diner. The food might be pared back but chefs Jordan Theodoros and Martin Corcoran embrace South-east Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines to create a thoroughly modern-Australian menu.

Operating out of a constantly buzzing open kitchen behind the bar, Theodoros and Corcoran’s blackboard menu showcases local, fresh and seasonal produce. Chickpea battered garfish with quinoa, chickpeas, pomegranate, tahini and mamaharah (chilli, peas and coriander blended beautifully) offers a mash-up of pure, lip-schmacking natural flavours on the plate. Matched with a Ministry of Clouds grenache from the McLaren Vale it works a treat.

For sweets, a lime coconut meringue accompanied by roasted plum, coconut sorbet and ginger cream is a play on Eton Mess but lighter, obviously tangier, refreshing and straight up moreish. There are other sweet delights, cheeses and plenty of other savoury dishes to taste and share on the long blackboard menu covering one wall.

The wine list is pretty broad and while local wines are well represented, small winemakers from other states get a guernsey as do Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Importantly, it’s a pretty food friendly list and not too far off the wall when it comes to embracing smaller lesser-known winemakers.

And after an espresso to finish the night I am in my happy place and vow to try breakfast first thing the next morning. Yep – it’s that sort of place, you just want to return.

Mark Eggleton

Social Share

Related Posts

Sydney's supreme Cirrus Dining

Sydney's supreme Cirrus Dining

Despite the bevy of restaurants at Barangaroo, there are very few worth casting a second glance at. Sydney’s newest cafe and restaurant district is stacked full of bars, restaurants and cafes and for now, it is a case of quantity over quality. Yet one stands alone in its quest for true culinary greatness. Located on …

Sydney’s supreme Cirrus Dining Read More »

Back to Burnt Ends: dining once again in a restaurant we love

Back to Burnt Ends: dining once again in a restaurant we love

Walking down Singapore's Keong Saik Road on a Friday night towards the end of July, people flow in and out of the restaurants to either side in a steady stream. The sweet smells of local eateries drift on the humid air, and the din of a hundred conversations creates a constant murmur. Millennial whoops tumble …

Back to Burnt Ends: dining once again in a restaurant we love Read More »

Bristol bubbles up near Bath

Bristol bubbles up near Bath

Visitors to England will, no doubt, have heard of - if not visited - the ancient Roman city of Bath, about three hours west of London. Yes, it’s lovely and charming, and oh-so-touristy. But, just a 20-minute ride, or about the same distance by train from London to Temple Meads station sits Bristol, a less …

Bristol bubbles up near Bath Read More »

Bali’s Da Maria melds food, fashion, art and style

Bali’s Da Maria melds food, fashion, art and style

While Australia has predominantly made its name as an exporter of rocks and crops, there has been a quiet export revolution going on over the last decade and it’s influencing the world’s palate - in particular South-East Asia’s. Chef David Thompson of nahm restaurant at Bangkok’s ultra-stylish Como Metropolitan may have been the regional trailblazer …

Bali’s Da Maria melds food, fashion, art and style Read More »

Le Pont de la Tour’s adds to 2020’s south side trend

Le Pont de la Tour’s adds to 2020’s south side trend

As recently as 15 years ago or prior to 2005, Londoners wouldn’t consider a spot south of the river as a place for destination dining. Yet, Sir Terence Conran chose a former 19th century tea warehouse alongside Tower Bridge as the site for his classic French restaurant, Le Pont de la Tour. For the past …

Le Pont de la Tour’s adds to 2020’s south side trend Read More »

London’s legendary Ivy a Kensington fav

London’s legendary Ivy a Kensington fav

The Ivy has continued to grow over the years, taking over prime real estate in Covent Garden (a natural), Marylebone, Chelsea, Kensington, as far west as Wimbledon and a few hours further, to Bristol, one of the foodiest cities outside the big smoke. From its original location near Leicester Square, this favourite among celebs has …

London’s legendary Ivy a Kensington fav Read More »