You might be familiar with the Greek myth of Icarus, the story of a hubristic young man who disobeyed his inventor father and flew too close to the sun (literally). In the myth Icarus falls to a watery grave – but the team behind this Peel Street bar is planning to skirt the sun and keep on soaring.
While Icarus’s dad was an inventor, co-owner Sam Stoios’s father ran a Greek restaurant on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Stoios invokes the Icarus myth when describing his own rebellion. “With Icarus … he obviously flies too close to the sun. I was like, ‘Screw it, I’m doing a Greek restaurant. It’s like I’m going against Dad, but I’m also doing the exact same thing that Dad did as well.”
The offering at Icarus is hearty, with rich flavours and large dishes designed for sharing. “The ethos behind it is about being generous,” Stoios says. Like its namesake, the restaurant lacks moderation.
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The menu includes a series of dishes cooked over coals on a custom-made wood grill. Think grilled octopus with ‘nduja, saffron mayonnaise and oregano; raw Dexter beef with smoked bone marrow, Jerusalem artichokes, cured duck yolk and pecorino; smoked tommy ruff with olive tapenade on wood-grilled flatbread; and a charred lamb shoulder with sorrel and garlic labneh.
The team will source produce locally wherever possible (including from Ngeringa and Ellis Butchers), and change its menu with the seasons – a move very much prompted by admiration for the soon-to-close Summertown Aristologist. “We can’t have a garden [on Peel Street], but it’s very much the same principles as [Summertown Aristologist],” explains Stoios. “We want to put forward food that is fresh, that is grown so locally it’s not funny, and that we can go out and hand-pick from the farms.”
The fit-out comes courtesy of co-owner Alex Makridis. Plush upholstery and warm colours invite visitors to stick around, while an undercurrent of dark tones add dimension. The owners wanted to keep the building’s original masonry, and the warren-like layout provided an opportunity to design pockets with varying looks and feels. “There’s no downlights – nothing is pointing down. It’s all just very moody, ambient lighting that creates that softer kind of feel, and then the whole roof is black,” says Stoios. “It’s just extremely comfortable … you want to sit there for a long time; you want to enjoy yourself.”
Music – and space to dance – is integral to the venue, and DJs will appear from time to time. Scrolling through the playlists Makridis shared with Broadsheet, it’s clear there will be a few distinct moods as the night progresses, with everything from Flying Lotus and Caribou to Miles Davis and Luiz Bonfá.
23 Peel Street, Adelaide
(08) 8151 1423