Whisked away by cab from stormy shores to Hindley Street, Adelaide’s notorious red light area. Where was she taking me? To the gastronomic mini-precinct of Leigh Street. First stop, cava and pinxtos (Basque tapas) at Udaberri. Sitting by the window, we could be in another city, Madrid in winter, or Melbourne in any season.
Then up a pathway, down some stairs leading to a restaurant’s toilets. Really? No. Press the wall in the right place and a door opens into a secret bar: Maybe Mae, Adelaide’s newest, coolest, secretist cocktail bar. So secret it doesn’t have a website. Whisky cocktails and Riesling on tap, accompanied by a complimentary bowl of nuts and bolts – a homemade concoction of peanuts and Nutrigrain (a breakfast cereal) treated with packet soup (chicken? French Onion?) and curry powder. The seventies live on.
Back to Leigh Street. Rigoni’s Cucina Italiana (est. 1979) is an Adelaide institution, classy as only Italian dining can be, immaculate white table clothes, immaculate and highly personable service. It’s a culinary oasis amidst the fluid evening.
Onwards and upwards, or throughwards. The new tunnel to the newly happening Peel Street and to Chihuahua’s Mexican bar, themed with Dia de los Muertos skulls (plastic) for a nightcap under the deadly nightshade (also plastic), before being whisked home in a gale.