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Lunch review: Downtown HDCB


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There has been a steady appreciation building within the Adelaide food scene for the American style of smoked meats cooked using a “low and slow” method.

Slow-cooked pork takes on a distinctly smoky flavour when barbecued, and is at the heart of lunch options such as the Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Sunday from Downtown HDCB in Hindley Street.

You may have heard of this place when a furore erupted a few months ago over some insensitive Facebook posts, but cook Sam Worrall-Thompson insists these aren’t the norm for the restaurant and bar. Opening in December last year, HDCB is owned by the same stakeholders as Jack Ruby on King William Street and has a similar yet perhaps more over-the-top American dive-bar vibe which is accentuated by its Hindley Street location and late opening hours.


Jack Ruby was the first to introduce the specialised Yoder smoker to Adelaide and has carried on these flavours at HDCB, with Worrall-Thompson smoking the meats at his own home.

The bar may have a slightly low-fi feel, but all the meats come from quality butcher Richard Gunner.

Favourite menu items: The hotdogs. Served in a light, brioche-style bun (think Burger Theory), these are pretty pricey at around $12-15, but the flavours are strong and they are made with quality ingredients. The range includes the most popular offering The Snoop Dawg (beef sausage, pulled pork, mac ’n’ cheese, and barbecue sauce,  $12) , The Salma Hayek (bacon-wrapped beef dog with pinto beans, jalapeño salsa, guacamole and corn chips, $15) and the Doctor Chong (wagu beef, spiced beetroot, pickled red onion, horseradish cream and frisee lettuce, $15).


Other options: The smoked meats come into their own in menu items like the chilli fries with smoked short ribs and chilli mince ($12), the New York meatball sub with spicy meatballs, bacon ,jalapeños and mozzarella ($12) and the rueben sandwich with corn beef, sauerkraut ,Russian dressing and Swiss cheese ($12).


Drinks: Patrons can chose from an extensive range of American bourbons or perhaps a quirkier drink such as the bourbon-based cocktail Meg Ryan (“I’ll have what she is having”). There’s also the outrageous Pickleback – a bourbon and pickle juice combo which apparently tastes like a hamburger.

As a lunch option on any winter’s day HDCB is warming and relaxed, but according to staff it really comes into its own on Fridays, with DJ Inkswell spinning ’90s music on Friday nights.

Downtown HDCB
99 Hindley Street, Adelaide
Ph 8212 7334

More lunch reviews:

Penny University
Fair Espresso
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