Out & About – Loft Oyster & Wine Bar Autumn Menu Launch 2015

By The Lady and The Gentleman

With the changing of the weather from bright, sunny, and sometimes unbearably hot Summer days to the cooler, wetter, and darker Autumn, classy Gouger St watering hole Loft Oyster & Wine Bar have launched their Autumn Menu featuring seasonally inspired cocktails and food. As you already know we are big fans of what Loft Wine Bar do (you can see our prior thoughts here and here) and we were lucky enough to attend a delightful evening at the Loft where we were able to sample the newest creations on offer. The Loft’s close proximity to the Central Markets mean they are always aware of what’s fresh and in season and like their menu to reflect that. Needless to say we were quite impressed with what the Loft will be dishing out to its customers all through Autumn.

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Stop. Cobbler Time.

The whole evening had a fun and slightly theatrical air as our knowledgeable and charming host Eddie talked about the inspiration and history behind each of the new creations. We began with the Loft’s Autumn version of the Sherry Cobbler, a drink that was basically the ‘Look at my wealth’ meme of the 1800s. It has a lot of citrus and crushed ice two things that were pretty damn expensive at the time. The drink had vodka, apple liquor, cranberry, apple and ginger cider, and pomegranates. The Cobbler was tart and sour, amplified by the sherry, with a hint of maple sweetness. There was a lot of apple flavour throughout the drink, although we thought the first few sips tasted a bit cherry-y, which brought back all sorts of flashbacks to The Lady’s summer cherry binge. The drink was light with a dry finish and it is easy to see why this drink, despite being damn expensive back in the old days, would have been so popular.

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Gin Fizz No. 53 with dill garnish

We then moved into an area of the cocktail menu we felt quite at home with, gin. Specifically, Loft prepared their Gin Fizz No. 53 (dubbed No. 53 because of all the herbs/Herbie the Love Bug). This was a bit different to other Gin Fizz’s we’ve had. We were served smaller versions of most of the drinks (otherwise it would have been a drunken gramming disaster) and the Gin Fizz’s didn’t seem to have a lot of egg white in there. Instead it was the herbs that were the star of the show. The drink had dill, mint, and thyme and it was the dill that really took over. It gave the drink a really savoury aroma and slightly savoury flavour, which was an interesting and unexpected turn. The use of dill in this drink brought The Lady back to her travels in Russia, where everything had lavish sprinklings of dill. The Gin Fizz No. 53 also used Prosecco instead of the traditional soda water and the Prosecco gave the drink quite a dry finish with a hint of alcohol.

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Tiki kitsch goodness!

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Zombie. Uuuuuunghh.

Things really started to heat up when we moved onto the Zombie. A mix of 4 or 5 different rums, including overproof rum, the Zombie is one of the quintessential Tiki cocktails. Legend has it Donn Beach created the drink to help a hung-over customer get through a business meeting, but instead turned the customer into a zombie for the next few days. Everyone got pretty excited when the Scorpion bowls (Tiki bowls for groups) and sparklers came out. All of a sudden there were a lot of people aiming to get the best photo of the flaming, sparkling Tiki ware and why not, the fire was impressive and added to the theatrics of the evening (but take care). The Zombie was definitely a crowd favourite. Balancing the different rums and fruit juice is a difficult prospect. Too much rum and it’s too strong and difficult to drink while too much fruit juice makes it too sweet and similarly unpleasant. Luckily the Zombies we had were well balanced. There was a nice sweet fruit flavour from the pineapple and passion fruit, but it didn’t fully mask the rum. There was definitely a nice kick to it that reminded you this drink is loaded and ready for bear.

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Mint Julep with some fancy pants ice

The Lady and I generally like all the cocktails we’ve tried Out & About, but there is one drink that had previously bucked that trend: the Mint Julep. A classic cocktail that is synonymous with Southern Gentleman enjoying the Kentucky Derby we ordered one, thinking we should get our head around the classics, and neither of us liked it. Since then the Mint Julep had been way down the bottom of the cocktail list, but the Loft’s Georgia Julep managed to change that. Sure it had a hell of a bourbon punch to it yet it wasn’t unpleasant. We’re pretty sure the bourbon was infused with mint, which probably gave it that something extra that changed our minds. The bourbon and mint just seemed to combine a lot better in this Julep without being too overpowering. The Georgia Julep was another drink that was up there as a favourite mainly because it managed to change our opinion of the Julep and let us feel like the fine Southern Gentlefolk we’ve always wanted to be.

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The Contender

Next up on the cocktail list was The Contender, a recipe borrowed and inspired by the incredible folk at Eau De Vie. In a typical Eau De Vie style, this cocktail was beautifully presented and tasted absolutely gorgeous! The drink was delightfully sweet and had a lingering smoky flavour from the toasted marshmallow garnish and residual smoking rosemary twig. Despite being a sweet drink, The Contender had a light and smooth texture, which was uniform with the consistency of a marshmallow. The addition of the mandarin was a surprising and enjoyable contribution to this modern classic.

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The Coffee Experiment

Finally, the The Coffee Experiment was a rich, luscious, and decadent cocktail to polish off the night. Loft’s revolving take on the ever-so-on-trend Espresso Martini, which has been ordered in some fashion 138,000 times over the last two years at Loft, used a dark rum rather than the traditional vodka standard. Loft have opted for this alteration as they believe it has a closer resemblance to the coffee flavours and characteristics than vodka. The Coffee Experiment was an excellent fusion of flavours and gave us an energetic kick at the end of our festivities. The coffee was strong, it went down smoothly, and had a bitter coffee finish with just some dark rum lurking around.  We believe this is possibly our favourite drink of the night, but we’ll be honest, they were all pretty darn delicious!

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Truffle Sui Mai

Overall, all the drinks looked and tasted incredible. They were all extraordinarily eye catching, with each cocktail having their own little personality. This was further enhanced by the little stories and background information from our wonderful host Eddie.

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Peking Duck Pancake

The food served throughout the night was equally as delicious. We would like to mention that the staff at Loft made up a special serving of food for The Lady in order to accommodate her vegetarian persuasion. They went out of their way to impress everybody on the table, and made sure everybody was looked after. Their premium quality food and drinks, as well as their high attention to detail, make Loft Oyster and Wine Bar a really special place well worth the visit.

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Deconstructed Cheesecake

It was great to meet other fellow bloggers and Instagramers too. We caught up with our friend Lee from Adelaide Food Central, we met Dee of dBites (to my excitement), and were introduced to the stunning photography of @duydash. There were many other lovely people at the event with which we were were lucky enough to share the evening with.

Overall, we were impressed yet again by our experience at Loft Oyster & Wine Bar. We highly recommend that y’all check out their Autumn menu. What’s not to love about sipping down some cocktails and nibbling on delicious treats?

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was invited by Loft Oyster & Wine Bar to their Autumn launch and were provided complimentary cocktails and food for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.

Out & About – Bank Street Social

By The Lady

Bank St

Over the weekend, The Gentleman and I were invited out to the new and trendy West End bar Bank Street Social. I was intrigued to try out this little place, mainly because I heard that in the process of fitting our their venue, the owners of the bar, as well as their kind friends and family carried around 7000 bricks down the stairs to the basement space in order to finish the gorgeous exposed brick wall. Let me tell you right now, their effort was worth it. This wall is pretty gosh darn impressive. The interiors remind me of an old fashioned, almost secret and hidden bar. The space is also surprisingly large, the bar is hidden downstairs and you expect to walk down into a cramped little space, but it’s quite an open and long bar that didn’t get too cramped even on a busy Saturday night. We also felt very hip and trendy being in Bank Street Social, which I think goes hand in hand with the feeling of exclusivity and old school hidden bar charm! Being inside this gorgeous space, you would never guess that there is an array of fast-food establishments surrounding the entrance. However, I imagine these joints would come in handy for those who have perhaps had one too many!

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Bank St The Smoke and Coke

 

Coincidentally, that same day we discovered that it was actually International Rum Day! So we decided the best course of action would be, of course, to drink up some tasty rum! We had heard a lot about Stolen Rum, those cheeky New Zealanders across the Tasman, previously and were eager to try some out. Upon recommendation from our friend behind the bar, we were served up a delicious portion of Stolen Spiced Rum with Coke and Orange, known as a ‘Smoke and Coke’. The Stolen Spiced Rum was an experience I am hoping to repeat over and over. This rum blew my mind. Stolen incorporates fenugreek, vanilla beans as well as coffee beans which ultimately give this rum a delicious and dessert like flavour. Combined with Coke and topped with an orange slice this was the perfect way to serve this drink. Top stuff!

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We got a little excited and told all our friends to order this beauty which resulted in it selling out. While this saddened me greatly, it gave us an opportunity to try out some more of what Bank Street Social had on offer. We also ordered some faithful and crowd pleasing gin and tonics. Always a winner in our books! We opted for two offerings from South Australia’s own Kangaroo Island Spirits, the KIS Old Tom Aged Gin and KIS Wild Gin. Bank Street Social feature an unbelivably wide selection of Australian spirits and beer. It’s great to see establishments like this supporting other locals, particularly when those locals make some damn fine booze. The Gentleman first made me aware of the Old Tom Aged Gin because I love gin and cats, and the label has both! The Old Tom makes a sweeter gin and tonic than usual, but it’s still damn fine sipping. These were another perfect choice for our classy night out. We love gin a lot. So, so much!

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KIS Old Tom Aged Gin and Tonic

 

All in all, we had a grand time at Bank Street Social. Not only were we wowed by the delicious selection of fine local and international liquors on offer, but we were also impressed with the gorgeous decor and felt like proper socialites in Adelaide’s own social club.

 

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Out & About – Chihuahua Bar

By The Lady

 

Last week, The Gentleman and I went on a bit of a date. Oooh la la, I hear you say and I’d have to agree. Not only was the company I was keeping rather lovely, but also the places we went. Very oooh la la indeed!

 

Firstly, we went to the new restaurant Bread & Bone, which is situated in a little white tiled lane way between Adelaide’s Peel Street and Leigh Street. Let me tell you, this place is pretty trendy with tasty food to boot! We both ordered burgers, The Gentleman chose the oh-so meaty B & B Burger and the Veggie Burger for me, with a side of onion rings (obviously!) and I also ordered a Negroni. Given that I had had a rather long day without any sort of break, I pretty much inhaled my burger much to the amazement of The Gentleman! This place has a really cool feel, with great burgers and delicious liquor. For all you hip cats looking to check it out just be aware they don’t take reservations, but if it is busy you can head downstairs to new bar Maybe Mae. We are really looking forward to checking Maybe Mae out as well so keep your eyes peeled for a post about them hopefully very soon!

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Burger time at Bread & Bone

After our delightful dinner, we then travelled the very short distance across the street to another new West End establishment : Chihuahua Bar. We were so impressed with this place we completely forgot to take notes on the drinks we had, and almost forgot to take photos! There is a definite mood lighting feel going on in Chihuahua, so we just got so caught up in the datey, mood-lighty moment!

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Alas, what we can tell you is that we enjoyed our drinks thoroughly! As mentioned earlier, I was rather drained from my long day and was craving a caffeine hit. When I saw the Espresso Martini on the cocktail list, it was a done deal. The Gentleman also noticed that not only did they make a more classic Espresso Martini, with vodka, they also made a more Mexican version, befitting the name Chihuahua Bar, with tequila. At first I was skeptical but as The Gentleman pointed out it’s almost too rude not to try tequila or mescal in a Mexican bar. Any trepidation I had was soon forgotten as this drink was probably the best coffee cocktail I have ever had perhaps, of course, with the exception of our Cold Hug and The Eastender we created! (We’re not biased at all …). Nevertheless, this coffee inclusive cocktail was just the thing I wanted and was absolutely amazing. It was so smooth with barely any of the overpowering alcohol kick you might have expected. Just mind blowing. Please order it just so we can all share my joy.

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Espresso Martini at Chihuahua Bar

The Gentleman ordered this incredible drink called (I think) a Fresh Fruit Bomb, which was served as a shot IN PASSION FRUIT SKIN! So creative and such a refreshing and unique way to serve a drink. It was the perfect way to sip and enjoy a delicious mescal with a wonderful blend of fruit and chili heat. Also there is a little bit of the pulp and seeds left in the skin that you can scoop out at the end. I don’t know if you’re meant to do this but The Gentleman did it anyway and said it was delicious and well worth the possible odd looks from the rest of the bar. It was also very affordable so we will definitely be ordering this little beauty again.

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Served in passion fruit skin. Now, that’s a horse of a different colour!

Due to the fact that Chihuahua has a super romantic mood lighting vibe going on, photo taking was a difficult task. Trust me when I say that this place rocks a super cute, kitsch and stylish interior design all at the same time. There is a vibrant mix of colours everywhere you look and fake flowers and leaves cover the wall in an alluring manner. I would love to sit upstairs next time and sip away on a few more of their cocktails they have on offer. I am sure they will not disappoint!

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Mood lighting at Chihuahua Bar

Chihuahua Bar is a truly unique experience like no other bar in Adelaide. Do yourself a favour and go visit this adorable bar. Maybe even take a special someone so you can also have a unique date night with your favourite lovely. Oooh la la indeed!

A sample of the Chihuahua Bar decor in better light. Image courtesy of the Chihuahua Bar Facebook page

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Now Serving – The Westender

By The Lady

 

A while back, we whipped up a tasty little cocktail which paid tribute to Adelaide’s East End district. We called this drink The Eastender. The drink got us thinking about the key characteristics and traits of other districts in our beloved home town. We decided to shift our focus from the East to the West. I’ll admit, with the West End being such a diverse and broad area, we found this one a tad (read : a lot) trickier to encapsulate into a drink. However, we were pretty happy with the end result.

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Morphett Street (Photo credit Wikipedia.org)

Adelaide’s West End is an unusual creature, with a rich and colourful history which has helped shape the district into what it has become today. Hindley Street is peppered with nightclubs, adult establishments and has a vibrant nightlife. In addition, the area currently houses a melting pot of cultural hubs, including UniSA’s Samstag Museum, the independent film venue Mercury Cinema, one of Adelaide’s few surviving independent booksellers Imprints, as well as the famous Jam Factory. In the West End, you will also find an abundance of inspiring and ever-changing street art.

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With The Westender, we wanted the drink to have elements of the old and the new. For this reason, we decided to base our drink off of the classic cocktail “Old Fashioned”. We like to think of our Westender as an Old Fashioned in New Fashion. Instead of using whiskey, we decided to use West Winds Gin (although not made in Adelaide’s West End, we felt the name speaks for itself). We used Bittermens Burlesque Bitters as a nod toward the West End’s infamous past, and we also added splashes of colour to represent the West End’s colourful art and cultural scene.

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We used :

60mL West Winds Gin – The Sabre

1 Dash of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

1 teaspoon caster sugar

Several drops of Vok Blue Curacao

Several drops Cawsey’s Grenadine

Orange peel to garnish

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Add your sugar and bitters into a glass and mix with a cocktail muddler (you could use a teaspoon if you don’t have a muddler). Mix until the sugar is close to dissolved. Add the gin and stir together in the glass. Use a teaspoon to add a few drops of both the Blue Curacao and Grenadine into your drink (a tribute to Adelaidian Street Art!). If you have a pipette handy, this would be easier but I found the teaspoon a suitable alternative. I poured a small amount of each (separately) into a shot glass, dipped the spoon in and tapped the spoon over the glass until the drops fell in.

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As you drink The Westender, the colours of the grenadine and blue curaçao mix together and blend with the drink, much like how the varying elements of Adelaide’s West End have mixed together to offer a unique district. The drink is definitely a strong beverage, but it delivers a firm statement with a unique flavour. Overall, the drink is quite powerful but certainly very tasty and grownup. We were aiming for a strong drink to match such a vibrant and diverse district. We feel that the mix of old and new fits in perfectly with Adelaide’s West End. The West Winds Sabre gin has a lovely citrusy flavour that makes it very drinkable. This paired quite nicely with the Burlesque Bitters, which has flavours of hibiscus, acai and long pepper and gave the drink a very spicy and herbal flavour. The bitters also gave the drink a delightful smell, full of peppery spice mixing with citrus oils of the orange peel dropped in the glass.

 

The Westender certainly was a tough cocktail challenge, trying to synthesise this diverse and exciting region of the city, but we we’re pleasantly surprised with how well our representation of the flavours of Adelaide’s West End mixed together to create this cocktail inspired by both the old and new elements of the district. So sit back and try a new take on an old classic as you plot your next visit to Adelaide’s West End.

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