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Lunch review: Bar Torino

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Bar Torino is always busy at night, but as a daytime lunch destination it is a quieter venue that is more siesta than fiesta.

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But that is no criticism – its fine Mediterranean style works just as well in the daylight hours on leafy Hutt Street. And the fact that Bar Torino is located next door to Chianti, one of Adelaide’s most enduring fine-dining restaurants, adds some daytime buzz.

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Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

The venue is actually the progeny of Chianti owners Frank and Maria Favaro; their children Nick and Jess made their long-held idea to create a classic European bar a reality, opening almost 12 months ago.

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Behind the bar. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

While at Chianti diners are sheltered from the elements by a wide verandah, clear plastic blinds and white tablecloths, at Bar Torino eating al fresco means tessellated-tile-topped tables, umbrellas and the warm sun. At night, it is full and vibrant, but during the day it is cool, dark and moody.

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Vermouth aperitif. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

The daytime food offering continues with the same sharing approach as for the night, with tapas, pintxos (Spanish-style bar snacks), charcuterie, some larger dishes and a regular specials board.

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Mini empanadas. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

When InDaily visited, the specials were mini empanadas (delicious crumbly Spanish-style pastries filled with sweetcorn and roast capsicum; $4.50 for two) and West Winds Sabre gin with Mediterranean tonic and fresh pear ($10). Thursday is the day for Pica Pica (“like yum cha but no chicken’s feet”), and Sunday at Bar Torino is paella day.

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Veal and tuna mayonnaise cigar. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Favourite dish: Beetroot and goats curd ($14). A mix of tender golden and purple beetroot chunks and slivers of pickled radish served on a generous bed of Woodside goat curd and dressed with shallot sherry vinaigrette; a dish that was good enough not to share and substantial enough as a lunch meal for one.

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Korean beef-cheek toastie. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Other dishes: Cigar – a fine crisp pastry shell filled with veal and tuna mayonnaise that was a delicious and indulgent appetiser ($5 for 1); Toastie – a Korean-style beef cheek, balsamic onion and melted cheddar toastie ($6.5), a more substantial lunch dish; Lamb and Haloumi – skewers of cubed lamb and haloumi served with yoghurt sauce, cucumber salad and flat bread ($26), a large and tasty rustic dish.

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Lamb and haloumi. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Something sweet/to drink: While the food menu runs only to a few pages, including a few “dulce” such as a Catalan-style crème brulee ($7.50), tarta de Santiago (classic Spanish almond and cinnamon tart; $6), churros ($8 for 2) and Portuguese tarts ($4), the drinks menu is extensive. It starts with cocktails and follows with gins and tonics, vermouth, sherry, and local and European wines – all of which are a specialty (and very reasonably priced). By comparison, the number of beers and ciders offered is small.

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Portuguese custard tart. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

As an aperitif, InDaily had a glass of vermouth, a Casa Mariol Negre from Terra Alta, Catalonia, Spain. This was a sweet-tasting vermouth with herbaceous and spicy notes, served on ice and garnished with a green olive. Then with lunch we tried a glass of ’13 Luis Alegre Rioja Rosado ‘Flores’ rosé from Cantabria, Spain, a blend of Tempranillo and Viura grapes ($8.50). This lovely, dry rosé was a perfect accompaniment to the savoury Mediterranean flavours we enjoyed at lunch.

Bar Torino
158 Hutt Street, Adelaide, 8155 6010
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am until late.

 

 

 

 

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