Having recently celebrated their 4th birthday, it is quite likely that you have at least heard of Bank Street Social. Their ‘blink and you’d miss it’ entrance is tucked away in Adelaide’s West End between Cibo and Zamberos, and if you carefully follow the winding staircase down below the bustle of street level you will find a surprisingly large space, warmed by rusty red bricks and soft yellow lighting. The décor, inspired by turn of the century New York, echoes the feeling of the famous city. The once dark and damp shell has truly been transformed into industrial order, softened by a gentle glamour.
Most visitors to the venue, myself included, either slide into a booth at 5pm to enjoy an after-work beverage from the plentiful range of South Australian beers and wines, or come in the later hours of the evening to sidestep through a crowd which pulsates to the music of the live DJ. The expert knowledge and shaking tins of the bartenders guide you through explorations of the vast library of spirits lining the walls behind them. You may have even experienced the enjoyment of snacking on one of the freshly made stone-cooked pizzas from Bank Street’s Pizza Bar, which was run by former chef Maddy D’Angelo.
With Maddy recently saying a fond farewell to the bar, Bank Street Social’s owners Shaun Campbell and Simon Orders turned to the talents of Anna Cucuk, formerly from the kitchens of Electra House and Adelaide Club. Seeing the opportunity to use her impressive talents to continue the venue’s support of the quality produce of our state, Anna has both updated the pizza options available and expanded the menu to include ‘Bar Food’, which I am here tonight to try.
As the wooden boards start sliding onto our table I can immediately see that the offerings are deceptively titled. Far from the beer nuts and pre-packaged crackling initially brought to mind, the rustic pottery bowls hold a selection of tapas which would make any Spaniard excited.
Spearing into the tapas with tiny wooden skewers we indulge delightedly in the rich tastes, local flavours lacing through each mouthful. The chorizo is glazed with a reduction of Deliquente Nero d’avola and the cauliflower is coated in a crisp Pike’s Pilsner tempura. The meticulous culinary quality is notable, with the loaf for the garlic bread baked in house and the Potato Bites thrice cooked for maximum moreish crunch.
The cheese platter gives above and beyond what I expected for the price point. The thick wedges were foraged from the Adelaide Central Market, and we slice into tonight’s selection of an Adelaide Hills Shadow of Blue, Onkaparinga brie and Murray smoked cheddar. Another perfectly baked loaf of thinly sliced baguette provides a base for us to eagerly slather with rosemary salted butter, also made from scratch in the small Bank Street kitchen.
Though the menu has expanded, I can see that no amount of attention or effort has deviated from the crisp based pizzas, which are thickly loaded with regional produce. The Barossa Pepperoni would more than satisfy any carnivorous cravings, and I feel I definitely get in a cheeky 2 and 5 from the vegetable laden Winter Harvest.
As we lounge replete in the candlelight, I continue to admire the attention to detail which seems to be the ethos of this venue, epitomised by bartender Nicola using tweezers to delicately place a real flower on my foam topped cocktail. In complete contradiction to the grit and chain food of the street above, Bank Street exudes quiet, confident class.
Next time you’re deliberating on a dinner venue in the West End I highly suggest descending into their ambience and enjoying it for yourself.
Words by Danielle Clarke
WHERE: 48 Hindley St, Adelaide