Looking for something different to do on a Wednesday night? If you’re an art lover or interested in supporting the local creative community, The Oxford Hotel has a night out for you. Art Smash is a unique innovation to promote local artists. A guest artist will create a piece right in front of you, in the downstairs bar. Not only do you get to watch the work unfold but you can bid for the piece if you like it enough to take home. Here’s the twist; if it doesn’t get sold in 2 hours for more than the secret reserve price, it gets destroyed on the spot!
Obviously you need to be sipping on cocktails while watching the magic happen. The Oxford has an impressive menu of classics, old favourites and innovative drinks. We tried the Bees Knees, a warming and soothing mix of Gin, lemon juice and honey. The mellow concoction will take the edge off a wintery night.
I always love a Bellini, who doesn’t love their bubbles with a twist of something fun. The Oxford has a decent list of Sparkling based cocktails using Dunes & Greene Sparkling Wine combined with a variety of Liquor. Strawberry, Peach and Raspberry are on the menu but tonight we tried the Fig Bellini that used the liquor Esprit De Figues to add sweet caramel notes to the wine. Garnished with fresh blueberries this drink is a steal at $10.
I then opted for the Lemon Fizz, what’s not to love about a combination of limoncello, sparkling wine, fresh raspberries and basil. Despite it being the midst of winter, with a warm coat on and this cocktail in hand it was very easy to pretend it was a hot January afternoon.
With your cultural needs met and a few drinks down, you’re going to need something to nibble on. We started with the Arancini Balls – standard pub fare that is too often abused and disappointing. These mushroom and feta arancini were first class. The crumbed, fried outer shell was delightfully crispy and salted perfectly. Inside a risotto that was cheesy, packed full of herbs and chunky mushroom. I’m happy to report there was no sign of the gluggy, gluey, stodgy centre that makes me think twice about ordering an arancini. But this wasn’t even the best part! The risotto balls are served with what is described on the menu as “onion jam-jam” and aioli. Now I’m speculating here, but I assume its called jam-jam because it’s so much better than just jam. This thick onion creation was somewhere between a sauce and a jam. It is sticky and sweet, the onion slices retain bite and shape but swim in an earthy reduction that was pungent with balsamic and coated the ball nicely.
I followed this up with the Crunchy Chicken Burger, its nero bun making it stand out from the crowd. Encased in the black bun is a succulent chicken thigh that lives up to its promise of being crunchy. Paired with ripe avocado, a slice of fresh tomato, lettuce and sweet chilli and a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise added a subtle heat. A well rounded burger that was fresh, delicious and importantly, not greasy.
There are few hotels in Adelaide as iconic as The Oxford Hotel. It guarantees a good feed, great drinks and now you can combine your interest in art with your food and drink for a great night out. Art Smash is held every second Wednesday at The Oxford Hotel.
Thank you to all the staff at The Oxford Hotel for a great night of food and drink, and to Girl About Town for hosting another great event.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 101 O’Connell St, North Adelaide