Adelaide’s small plate and wine bar invasion has been underway for some time, but a tap wine bar serving Argentinian dishes and Basque-inspired pinxtos? Now there’s something a little different.
Riot Wine Co has been an innovator in the tap wine space since founding in 2016. It made small strides towards entering the hospitality space with The Cannery in Brompton, but now it’s teamed up with industry heavyweights Palmer Hospitality (who brought you Paloma, Arkhe and 2KW) for the upcoming debut of Bar Riot.
Bar Riot’s interior is sleek and elegant: pink pastel seating surrounding wooden tables. The high ceilings of the dining area draw your gaze to the gorgeous open-air stone kitchen, as fire crackles busily in the background. Exposed brick indicates the space’s former incarnation, Madre; that venue’s pizza oven was ripped from the walls to make space for one of the centrepieces of Bar Riot: a 1000-litre terracotta wine vase, custom-crafted and shipped from Italy, from which customers will be invited to help themselves to an ever-evolving Riot Wine Co house blend.
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The philosophy of Bar Riot is clear: simplicity of concept and detail in execution. This extends even to its complimentary snack offerings: when customers are seated at their table, they’ll be presented with popcorn seasoned with bush tomato and finger lime, a recipe that went through more than 25 flavour iterations and combinations before a winner was chosen.
The focus on detail and craftsmanship is also evident on the menu. Chefs Cecilia and Trent Lymn (formerly of 2KW) bring a wealth of experience in South American and Catalan cuisine, having lived in Buenos Aires together for many years. Designed in tandem by the couple, the menu at Bar Riot is entirely small plates, with the aim of drawing in both large groups who can stay all night ordering plate after plate, but also the lunchtime business crowd.
The menu has turned out to be predominantly vegetarian and pescetarian. The menu focuses on minimal ingredients of exceptional quality, and thoughtfulness in each dish’s execution: vongole from Coffin Bay (served with pancetta, manzanilla sherry and grilled sourdough) and sardines kissed gently on the grill with jamon iberico and chorizo salsa macha. Spanish staples including pan Catalan (sourdough from the Central Market pan-fried in Peninsula Providore oil with tomato, garlic and oregano) and croquettes (made with pig’s head and served with salsa borracha) are given their own spin as well.
Trent tells Broadsheet that some of the vegetarian dishes have been particularly popular among the venue’s first diners. A big hit has been the summer greens tart: a delicate pea mousse nestled in a baked tart, with a crown of season greens, mint and preserved lemon. Meat offerings are sparse but considered: skewers of lightly grilled beef tongue with pineapple and a fermented jalapeno sauce, and a 120-gram Wagyu steak from the award-showered Kerwee Feedlot in Queensland, supported by chimichurri and grilled shallots.
And the desserts are show-stopping. The Molotov cake, a classic Portuguese dessert, is given an innovative twist: the cake is soaked in tres leches syrup, amontillado sherry caramel, and topped with pineapple and torched meringue. “What’s the best way to start a riot?” quips Cecilia to Broadsheet. “A Molotov, obviously.”
Fourteen tap wines from Riot Wine Co provide the backbone of Bar Riot’s drink selections, supplemented by a carefully curated international wine list and cocktails that continue to reinforce those Latin and Spanish influences that pulse through every element of the venue; think tequila and sherry, flavours of jalapeno, lime and cucumber.
Wed to Thurs 11:30am–10pm