There’s nothing stuffy about Aubergine, just a cool refinement that runs right through it. Tablecloths surrender to the warmth of polished timber, dark walls and charcoal carpet cocoon, and the high-backed chairs of old have been replaced with a mid-century vibe, as has the cabinetry.
Bar Torino started its life as an adjunct to Nick and Jess Favaro’s restaurant Chianti, long one of the most loved dining spots in Adelaide. Launched as a Spanish-Italian hybrid, it operated as a standalone bar, but also doubled as a waiting room for the perennially popular Chianti, a place where a plate or two of tapas and a vermouth or sherry, or the like, would effortlessly smooth the crinkles out of the wait for a table.
The menu is not limited to tapas, however, with larger plates on offer, but it is at the heart of Bar Torino. Expect croquettas, tortilla, conservas and patatas bravas, along with their signature vitello tonnato cigars or classic steak tartare.
Sharing a common wall of intricately stacked stone between the historic Hutt Street terraces, Bar Torino was never going to be relegated to an annex. Indeed, its identity was stamped so strongly that it has evolved in to an institution just as loved as its big sister, though perhaps for different reasons. That Spanish cant has tilted further in to a broader European offer, embracing inspirations from the Iberian Peninsula and arcing across theMediterranean to Greece, with a compact list of wine also marked by its eclectic nature.
Cult local producers, such as Ochota Barrels, Yetti and the Kokonut, andBK, are joined by established names like Grosset. But before you level accusations of parochialism, the likes of white-hot Victorian makers Timo Mayer and Joshua Cooper get a run, along with a thoughtful smattering of Italian and Spanish bottles. It’s a tight list at 70 bins, but it feels a whole lot bigger than that. And if wine’s not where you’re at, then maybe you’ll find one of the 35 small-batch gins to your liking, most of which you’ve probably never heard of. They also run deep with whisk(e)y, vermouth, sherry, aperitifs…