La Taberna Bar & Kitchen is the latest addition to Rundle Street’s bustling east-end; and with them, they brought a grand fiesta that kicks on from Monday—right through to Sunday! In terms of the cuisine, we’re talking a huge selection of entrees, share plates and traditional main course meals that deliver the finest flavours from right across South America and beyond. And of course, the food is accompanied by both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails that really bring the heat (literally, just try the La Taberna Magherita). So, why jump on a plane when you can get a piece of the party right here in Adelaide?
The menu truly retains the traditional gourmet goodness that people travel right across the world to endure. Further adding to the cultural experience, the whole menu is written in Spanish (with English translation on the side), and there is a mean soundtrack of Samba tunes that really set the tone for the evening—especially after a few cocktails. The bar-scape is decked out in contemporary minimalistic décor and overhead greenery that contrasts beautifully against the dim ambience of the lighting. But of course, it wouldn’t be a Latino scene without vibrant pops of colour in the form of glazed tiles that line the tabletops for bold, decorative flair.
The establishment is run by hospitality king and food enthusiast, Miguel Sá, who hand selected a list of his favourites from the menu for us to try. The list was clearly hard to narrow down because we ended up indulging in a 12-course feast of seafood dishes, loaded fries, and familiar favourites like Paella and Quesadillas.
As though straight out of Nonna’s kitchen, every meal was wholesome and generous in size. We firstly ticked off a variation of two tacos—the Gambas, and Pollo. While both were expectedly delicious, there’s something about a traditional chicken taco with guacamole, aioli, sour cream and salsa that fills every hole in the soul. For that reason, the Pollo is a must-try! Next up we tried the Portuguese baby octopus (Polvo) and the Spanish prawns (Gambas Al Ajillo) served with a side of toasted bread. The pan-fried cooking method added a nice buttery crisp while retaining the moisture and natural salty flavours that seafood is best known for.
Following on with the deep blue theme, we then dived into Rosa’a Paella: traditional paella rice with a variation of meat and seafood topped with Rosa’s secret stock. The broth, herbs and rich meaty flavour gave it everything it needed to successfully replicate everyone’s favourite Spanish dish. To spice things up a bit we had the Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, which were wrapped in a tasty sheet of speck.
While trying our absolute hardest not to devour the entire plate, we also got stuck into the Loco Fries which are loaded with the La Taberna house sauce, cheese, pico de gallo (Mexican salsa), black beans, guacamole and sour cream…need I say more?
Before moving into the sweet stuff, there were two more meals to conquer. The first certainly made it into our favourites: Quesadillas de Puerco & Chorizo. With slow cooked pork shoulder, locally sourced chorizo, sour cream, manchego cheese, chipotle and salsa—‘delicious’ just doesn’t do it justice. A close competitor and certainly one for the meat enthusiasts is the smoked short ribs with tomato rice and pickled cabbage (Costillas de Novillo). The rich, smoky meat pulled straight off the bone which made it far too easy to devour.
To end our long and delicious journey, we finished up with some desserts. We didn’t even bother trying to narrow down the selections this time round; trying all three of La Taberna’s sweet dishes. each delivered a completely different culinary experience to the next. First came the flan pudding with homemade caramel sauce and fresh orange (Pudin Flan). Each component of the dish was distinguishable in every mouthful; a creamy, zesty, saltiness that simply worked. We then tried the Pastel De Elote: homemade corn cake served with vanilla cream and pistachio praline. The unique textures of this dish made it a personal favourite, as the warm sponge absorbed the creamy sauce, and was complemented by the odd crunch of pistachio in the praline. Although, there’s no doubt that the house-favourite would be the Sonhos—Portuguese style donuts with warm and indulgent chocolate sauce. It’s the kind of dessert that really tests your will-power, and it’s safe to say that we were easily broken.
If you’d like to take the wonderful journey that is La Taberna Bar & Kitchen, visit the eastern end of Rundle Street any day of the week and experience the best Latino street food that Adelaide has to offer.
Words by Kimberley Goodman
WHERE: 281 Rundle St, Adelaide