Forget Sydney and Melbourne and take a trip down south to Adelaide instead. The capital city of the state of South Australia is bustling with life and there’s plenty to see, do and eat when you visit.
Those looking for an experience should head to Africola (4 East Tce; africola.com.au) for its pan-African flavours. Pull up a seat at the open kitchen’s flaming hearth and watch Duncan Welgemoed and his team play with fire. The white bread chicken skin sandwich with a dipping sauce is richer than a Nigerian prince and they’re doing interesting things with veggies here too – be prepared for strong flavours and spice. We recommend the Feed Me menu ($65) with matching booze ($45).
At the opposite end of the palate is Orana (285 Rundle St; restaurantorana.com), where everything from the décor to the degustation is delicate. Chef and owner Jock Zonfrillo’s tasting menu stretches to 20 courses, with fresh seafood and native Australian ingredients taking a star turn. Opt for the more modest Friday lunch (nine courses) that comes with tiny dampers cooked over even tinier coals at the table as well as chilled consommé of clams, tomato and ice plant and rare kangaroo with a charred exterior that’s served with tart native berries.
Keep things purely spiritual and very chill at inner-city spot Hains & Co (23 Gilbert Pl; hainsco.com.au) where the expertise is whisky and gin. Visiting in the afternoon during the height of summer is no problem as a fine mist of water is dispersed from ceiling ducts over the tables outside – bliss on a 35-degree day.
For an unbeatable view and wine list, head eight floors above street level to the terrace of 2KW (2 King William St; 2kwbar.com.au) – and make sure you’re dressed to impress. Take in the sunset view towards the River Torrens with a glass of something locally special in hand.
For late-night whimsy, make your way to the petite Pink Moon Saloon (21 Leigh St; pinkmoonsaloon.com.au) and squeeze out back for a bar that channels the aesthetic of a Swedish dollhouse. The cocktails are well balanced and the soundtrack is spiked with cheesy ’80s power ballads to keep the vibe well and truly alive with the sounds of Michael and Madonna.
For bespoke luxury, you can’t miss the Mayfair (45 King William St; mayfairhotel.com.au), the preferred choice of visiting rock stars and celebrities since opening in 2015. Located in the centre of the CBD where shopping strip Rundle Mall meets bar and dining strip Hindley Street, it’s perfectly situated for exploring the city on foot.
If you want a step down in price, the Crowne Plaza Adelaide (16 Hindmarsh Sq; crowneplazaadelaide.com.au), just a few blocks away, is a perfect base for city explorers or business travellers. The contemporary rooms range from standard to suite and feature plush bedding, luxurious bathrooms with full-sized baths and walk-in showers, and iPod docks. The hotel also boasts a health centre with gym, pool, spa and sauna and self-service laundry for guests.
Take a day trip to Adelaide Hills
Spend a dreamy day in this lesser-known wine region – compared to the Barossa and McLaren Vale – that has become a drawcard for young chefs and winemakers interested in local produce and natural wines.
Lunch at the Summertown Aristologist, (1097 Greenhill Rd, Summertown 5141; thesummertownaristologist.com) where local produce is king. Everything is made on site (including the bread, butter and charcuterie) and the wine list includes boutique labels Lucy Margaux and Commune of Buttons.
For dinner, pop one town over to Uraidla and the tiny converted church of Lost in a Forest (1203 Greenhill Rd, Uraidla 5142; lostinaforest.com.au) – a low-key, high quality pizza and natural wine joint that has made the town a destination for foodies and vino lovers alike. You’re in for a scenic drive back to the city so try to leave before sunset.