The ground floor of the Clarion Hotel Soho used to house Decant restaurant, a place to eat for people that stayed at the boutique hotel. That all changed when Naomi Growden (previously owning the Thrift Shop bar) and Alfonso Ales (former Executive Chef at Olea) teamed up to open The Little Soho. It was a chance for Alfonso to do his own thing and bring some true Spanish culture to Adelaide. The food is not isolated to one region of Spain but is a gastronomic map that utilises all the great South Australian produce we have access to. Each dish is simple and showcases the freshness of the ingredients used. Adelaide Food Central, along with other invited guests, were invited to sample the Tapeo dinner menu tonight, with all food and drink provided free of charge.
We started off with the Patlin Garden Kalamata Olives with oregano and extra virgin olive oil. Bought from Pooraka, these olives are the freshest you’ll ever taste. A traditional salt treatment is used to cure the olives and allows the delicate flavours of the olives to come through.
Next was the Spanish Tortilla with sourdough and aioli. The generously sized omelette was made from egg and potatoes, and was soft and delicate. It sat on a crispy slice of sourdough bread and was given depth by the smooth and creamy garlic aioli.
Croquetas are available in every tapas bar in Spain and the ingredients are based on what’s in season. Most of the time, croquetas are vegetarian, as was the case tonight. The croquetas were fried to a light golden brown and the filling was a blended spiced cauliflower with cress. For lovers of the Chiko Roll, the taste was exactly like that.
“Cogollos” Grilled Cos Lettuce was served with white anchovy, black garlic, walnut and sherry dressing. The large lettuce leaves were soaked in a subtly sweet sherry dressing. The pieces of anchovy added saltiness which was balanced the strong, pungent garlic. The presence of walnuts added a nice crunchy element to the dish.
The last of the small tapas dishes was the Smoked Port Lincoln Sardines. This dish was beautifully presented and almost too good to eat. The saltiness from the sardines was balanced by the natural sweetness of the peaches. The crispy wafer that the sardines sat on added a nice crunchy texture to the dish.
Further celebrating the theme of South Australian produce was the Goolwa Pipis. These juicy pipis matched perfectly with the bacon flavoured crispy pancetta. Served with a delicious sourdough bread, it was a matter of soaking up the flavours of the ocean inside the cast iron dish.
Pork neck is all the trend at the moment and we see it again with the BBQ Kangaroo Island Pork. The pork itself has similarities to a Chinese BBQ Pork. The meat was a little fatty, but tender and succulent. Served with a light and refreshing legume ragu, the salsa-like side added balance to the dish.
The final racione (larger tapas) for the night was the Mixed Local Seafood Paella. Filled with Spencer Gulf prawns, Boston Bay mussels, Goolwa pipis and calamari, you can taste the flavours of the ocean in the rice. The dish is made to order and done the proper way. It’s one of the best paellas you’ll have in Australia.
As we always say, no meal is complete without dessert. The Tarta De Santiago Cake was the perfect way to end the night. The cake was light and spongy, and not overly sweet. Just right for the many dishes we already had.
The food was simply amazing. We can’t even remember when we last had a great tapas experience. Alfonso really showed us what Spanish tapas is really all about. Combined with the cosy and relaxed atmosphere, and great service, it really was a nice to remember. Adelaide Food Central would like to thank all the staff at The Little Soho for a memorable evening.
If you’re thinking of having Spanish tapas, then look no further than The Little Soho.
WHERE: 264 Flinders St, Adelaide