Fino Vino is already widely known and respected for its regionally focused share-plate dining and hospitality and the name might have a familiar ring for some. That's because the Fino Vino story began in Willunga, when business partners David Swain and Sharon Romeo opened Fino there in 2006. Fast forward to 2014 and their move to Fino@Seppeltsfield set a new standard for progressive regional cuisine and they became quite famous in the process.
In 2019, the time came for the team to branch out and bring the Fino dream to Adelaide to complement the Barossa operation and explore new possibilities. Fino Vino opened on Flinders Street right before the hospitality industry was turned upside down by the pandemic but on our recent visit, it was super busy and rightly so.
I like to think that I'm not buying "things" - I like to think I'm buying "experiences". That's what your money will get you at Fino Vino. Prepare to be amazed at the hospitality, the setting, the drinks and most importantly, the food.
It's a vibrant and rustic setting featuring high industrial ceilings and the warm contrast of brick and rendered walls. South Australian sourced stone counters and crafted timber tabletops reflect the colours of South Australia and make the space feel homely.
You can sit at the long bar, bright tables for two, comfy orange-toned booths, or the long communal tables. The kitchen is visible from most parts of the room and the space has a very welcoming and 'together' feel to it, which is just what the spot-on service is like from the front-of-house team. The team are welcoming and knowledgeable. They're attentive, not intrusive, and understand and respect the food and wine they serve.
When you see the menu and drinks list, you'll have lots of questions and the staff will happily explain everything. The menu is based on a shared plate philosophy (which was confusing when they pioneered the concept in Willunga) but they'll explain how it works and what house specials are on the menu for the night. I'm okay with share plates - it just means I get to try more delicious dishes!
On our visit, we tried their charred sourdough focaccia and hummus with black sesame and sumac as an appetiser. The gorgeously soft bread with its crunchy and chewy blackened crust makes for an excellent companion to the fresh and smooth hummus.
Following on from that we were served a pretty looking dish of Southern Bluefin tuna with radish, fennel, sprouted lentils and fermented chilli, a plate of charred leek and borlotti beans with a rich miso dressing, and a delicious bowl of mussels, pipis, pearl peas, garlic, and chilli.
Fino Vino presents dishes that are truly made from simple and locally sourced ingredients in delicately hand-crafted ways that demand your attention with every bite. The hand that charred this leek has a deft and light touch and the rich miso and soft beans laid underneath are rich and hearty.
The silky but dense bluefin tuna is perfectly accompanied by crunchy and earthy sprouts, and bitey yet sweet tastes from the radish and fennel.
I like any kitchen that uses pipis because that's what we used to call cockles where I grew up. Again, it seems like a simple enough dish but the mussels, pipis, pearl peas and the garlic and chilli sauce all come together to sing a story of a highly experienced chef in the kitchen - one who makes magic by enhancing the original flavours of fresh local produce.
Following on from our little seafood soiree, we were served braised pork belly with savoy, witlof and apple with crispy potatoes, garlic and parsley as a side dish. The slices of pork belly are multi-layered morsels where the bulk of the fat has disappeared to produce a flavoursome combination of crunchy and tender layered pork. The crunchy cabbage, mild flavoured witlof, apple, and sweet dressing make this dish a dream to eat. The crispy potatoes add substance and are expertly done.
Braised pork belly, savoy, witlof & apple. Crispy potatoes as side dish
The must-try dessert at Fino Vino is the Crema Catalana. It's like Crème Brulee but with a lively citrus flavour. Once you've cracked the toffee top open and scoffed the lot, you might wish it came in a bigger bowl. Next time, I'm getting two so I don't have to share.
The drinks list at Fino Vino is huge. We started with cocktails and believe me – the Rocketman is just that! I like cocktails that push the boundaries. After asking about the Italian-influenced aperitif and liqueur ranges we opted for a few glasses of Beaujolais from the extensive wine list. There's plenty to choose from, including beers, ciders, and non-alcoholic drinks so there's sure to be something for every occasion and taste.
If finding out what a master chef can do with seasonal South Australian produce in 2021 is your kind of adventure then Fino Vino is an adventure that your heart and tastebuds will thank you for. Fino Vino is at 82 Flinders Street, Adelaide and opens from Tuesday to Friday from 11.30am till late and Monday to Saturday 5pm til late. You can view the menu and book online at their website www.finovino.net.au.