Aside from a couple of tapas restaurants, paella pop-ups and a certain churro franchise, Spanish restaurants are few and far between in Adelaide. So it’s refreshing to see Niña, a love letter to Spanish cuisine, open on Rosina Street.
The 52-seater restaurant is co-owned by food blogger Brenda Loveday, Jessica Purcell and Leonardo Loureiro of Basque by Leo, the online-turned-bricks-and-mortar bakery that churned out the creamy, silky cheesecakes that had a chokehold on Adelaide’s lockdown-era Instagram feeds. As it turns out, cheesecakes are just the tip of the iceberg.
“I love Spanish food. [Niña] was really following the Basque region, which had a very heavy influence on our menus. Not just with Basque cheesecake, but Basque cuisine – it’s very rich. It has so many flavours,” Loureiro, the restaurant’s executive chef, tells Broadsheet. “[The menu features] fifteen years of recipes that I’ve built.”
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The team will be the first to tell you that what they’re serving is not strictly traditional. “We’re doing a nice mixture of some old, traditional Spanish things… but then we’re also putting in a bit of twist,” says Loureiro. “We want to make [traditional dishes] fun. Like your traditional patatas bravas – which we transform so it’s easily shareable, fun, bite-sized things.” With the exception of a few staples, the menu will rotate on a weekly basis, and every dish is designed for sharing. When asked about highlights, the team mentions charred octopus with romesco sauce, mussels with tarragon aioli, and – of course – the cheesecake.
Niña’s drinks list has been crafted to showcase smaller South Australian producers where possible, with a preference for biodynamic drops. “It’s a list that focuses on sustainable farming,” Purcell tells Broadsheet. “A lot of South Australian wine, with particular attention to the small and medium producers in our state... There’s also a good splash of international wine, focusing on the weird, wonderful and unexpected around the globe, from Spain, to Austria, to South Africa.”
There’s also a selection of non-alcoholic drinks and Spanish beers. As far as cocktails go, Purcell recommends trying the Vida Borracha: “It’s a twist on the Boulevardier, using Spirito Santo Ruby Rosso, Gospel Solera Rye, Pedro Ximenez and chocolate bitters,” says Purcell. “It’s boozy, but it’s dangerously easy [to drink].”
Sofitel Adelaide, 38 Rosina Street, Adelaide
0477 833 378
Weds & Thus midday–10pm
Sun & Mon closed