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Published September 22nd 2012
Hola to Adelaide's first pintxos bar
After a satisfying treat at Chocolate Taperia, it seemed highly appropriate to adjourn to Udaberri. Yes, it is a night of Spanish delights. Udaberri has been hot on the lips of many since opening in June this year.
Venture off the main drag of Hindley Street and head down cobbled Leigh Street. Just a skip away from the colorful characters and late night soirees of Hindley is charming Leigh Street, softly reminiscense of Europe.
It is here on Leigh Street that you will find Udaberri. Located diagonally opposite from Casababla, it is the less flamboyant version of its Spanish cousin. A short lineup had us inside Udaberri within fifteen minutes.
Upon entering the bar, what struck most was the bar's bare minimalistic design. Utility style pendant lights and cool bulbs hanging from cord pendants cast a dim glow to set the mood for the night. Reclaimed wooden ceiling beams gives the bar an undeniable rustic charm. Exposed beams opens up the bar in what would otherwise be considered claustrophobic. An upcycled wine bottle wall kept part of the kitchen hidden from view. A wooden shelf housing assortment of liquors is arranged against the exposed red brick wall on the other side. As you walk down the length of the bar, a list of imported beers is barely discernible on the chalkboard plaster that makes up the opposite side of this wall. The place reminds me of a barn, but a chic one at that.
The bar itself takes centre stage in the narrow space. Mingle around the centre bar long enough to discover arm rubbing action happening with adjacent drinkers. There is more space in the loft upstairs which can be accessed by a short flight of stairs at the back of the bar. Near the bottom of the stairs is an area for the DJ to spin his groovy house beats. I was lucky to find a vacant seat next to a shared table at the front of the house.
There is a different mix here at Udaberri. On the ground level tonight there appears to be many people in their the thirties. Some after-work drinkers still lingered. Younger adults can be found in the loft upstairs. Two maroon Chesterfield sofas and a few tables with surrounding stools dominate the loft and makes for a more relaxed area to unwind.
Obtaining a menu was the hardest part. There were a couple of menus lying on the bar bench. However, getting through the people took some careful navigating. After much thought, the decision to order some pintxos to accompany our drinks came down to Patatas Bravas, Oven-Baked Chorizos with Apple Cider Glaze, and Jamon Iberico de Cebo. These Basque style bar snacks would usually be complimentary at bars in Spain but tonight saw us part with $30 for these fine morsels.
Sadly soon after placing our orders, we were informed that our food order could not be fulfilled. We were 10 minutes too late. The kitchen closed at 11pm. We would have to try on another occasion. Next time, we might even shout out for some Spanish and French cheeses. Manchego, Ossau Iraty, Saint Sauveur, Queso Mezcla Curado were some on the list. A Spanish wine to match would round it off well. Udaberri has a solid wine list with a large selection of Iberian wines and a handful of European drops predominantly from France. There is also a small mix of Australian and New Zealand wines available.
A friend who was intolerant of alcohol put in a request for a mocktail. Mocktails do not feature on the menu but the bartender was more than happy to accommodate her wishes and the best part of it - it was on the house.
There were around ten cocktails on the list, each around the 18 dollar mark. I watched the bartender work her magic on my Pineapple and Almond Martini & Hemingway Daiquiri. Both aperitifs were refreshing and a great way to end the night.
Udaberri - You are certainly a welcome addition to Adelaide's small bar scene. With such a fantastic vibe, I will definitely be returning again soon. For a social gathering, it is the hot place to be right now. If seeking a more substantial meal nearby before drinks, Cos or Rigoni's Bistro would be my choice. Both establishments offer excellent quality food priced at the higher end. It will be exciting to see if Udaberi is the beginning of many more intimate bars to come.
Cost:Moderate - You can spend as little as you like or totally blow the budget. A top drop as little as $7 a glass to $350 for a bottle of Pol Roger Winston Churchill 1999 Champagne. Bar snacks from $2.50-$23.00
I have been meaning to get to this place but still haven't managed it... sadly, I think the days of free food in Spain are gone unless you're drinking in the older parts of Madrid where you're paying so much for your drinks that you're really paying for your snacks too... maybe not the case in the smaller places but in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian most bars were all charging for their tapas/pintxos when I was there last year... (mainly I just wasn't in the know about where to go) but they were mainly cheap...
I think I would cry if I thought I was going to get some patatas bravas only to be told their kitchen was closed... how ever did you cope?
This place is definitely interesting - it's got a great vibe, a chilled atmosphere, and lovely, friendly people who work there! It's definitely going to become one of my regular hangout spots this summer! :)