The O’Connell Street strip which cuts through the heart of North Adelaide certainly has a lot to offer. There’s a 24-hour bakery, a recently refurbished art deco cinema, a bunch of cafes and charming pubs, and it’s soon to be home to one of Adelaide’s famed Italian specialty stores. too. But there was something lacking; a bit of pizzazz, if you will. And that’s where the brand spanking new Pastel Wine Bar has come in to change the game.
The day-to-late joint has rooted itself within the site which formerly housed restaurant L’Italy. With a near complete strip, the space now boasts a retro-esque dining room fitted with impressionistic artwork, and a sunny green courtyard with snazzy decor; plus a few other intimate nooks where a glass of something in hand is more than welcomed.
If anyone’s got the funk, it’s Pastel Wine Bar and co-owners Daniel Vaughan of 1000 Island, Elijah Makris and Saba Maghsoudi of both Pinco Deli and Studio Mazi, and artist and designer James Brown have made sure it’s groovy as all hell, whilst oozing sophistication just a hop, skip and a jump from the city’s fast paced atmosphere.
Silky timber panelling pasties the front dining room walls which is complimented by hints of exposed white brick and marble countertops, an heirloom of the previous eatery. The journey through to the rear room encounters Pastel’s open kitchen adorned with mustard tiling and set with highchairs intended for peeping upon the culinary performance. While the courtyard crux flaunts a mammoth disco ball which spins gracefully, dancing with the Sun’s rays through the transparent roofing.
Pastel Wine Bar invites a diverse crowd – whether that’s for a casual arvo tipple, a full-blown evening feast, or a post-nosh soiree. When dinner service wraps up, the disco ball starts a-spinnin’ with a more-so vigorous attitude, the lights dim, the red lamps illuminate, and djs take to the decks to cater for the late-night adventurers in a cool, calm, and collected way.
Circling back to the dining side of things however, Pastel Wine Bar’s menu provides an equally cracking vend, along with more than 140 wines and a carefully curated cocktail list. Head chefs Darek Krzywdzinski, formerly of Peel St Restaurant and Nathan Liu, formerly of Gin Long Canteen take charge of the kitchen tools which see South-East Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delights.
Think: chargrilled octopus skewers with taramasalata and salsa verde; pork and prawn dumplings with spring onion sizzle, shitake, ginger, and chilli oil; coconut braised beef short rib with green mango, chilli, lime, and roasted rice; Kingfish sashimi with nam jim, coconut, crispy shallot, and thai basil; and crispy spiced eggplant with snake bean, green papaya salad, peanut, and chilli relish.
Plentiful plant-based fare is assuredly on the cards too with the likes of: battered eggplant ‘fish’ and green papaya salad; smashed sichuan cucumber with wood ear mushroom, chilli oil, soy peanuts, and fresh ginger; smoky hummus with shatta, mint, fresh tomato, and grilled pita; and a big old bowl of brothy steamed eggplant, cabbage, silken tofu, marinated shitake and wood ear mushroom with fresh herbs and spring onion drizzle.
Pastel Wine Bar is open for business from Wednesdays through to Saturdays from 4pm until late, with the addition of lunchtime service from 12pm on Fridays. But keep in mind their Christmas hours which see Tuesday 27 closed, Wednesday 28 to Friday 30 open from 4pm, and from Saturday 31 December to Monday 9 January closed, with Tuesday 10 open from 4pm.
Pastel is the new ‘it spot’ and it’d be a shame to overlook the very snazzy restaurant-cross-bar.