Mesa Lunga

Mesa Lunga Chandelier
photo of Mesa Lunga’s chandelier by Theen Moy

date of visit: Wednesday 22 May 2013

It’s been just over a year since my last visit to Mesa Lunga and I actually had no intention of writing about this visit (so no photos), but, in retrospect, I also think it’s fair to update my opinion.

I popped into Mesa Lunga before the Loft launch party. My friend suggested it because it was somewhere she wanted to try and, fortuitously, it was right next door to Loft. I kept my mouth shut about my last visit and arrived with not only an open mind but a determination to avoid churros at all costs!

Being super early on a weekday, we had no problems being seated in the restaurant without a reservation. We started with glasses of The Lane Pinot Gris while making our decision about what, and how much, to order.

We decided to order a few small plates, as well as a carciofi pizza (I really love artichokes). I still think it’s weird for a venue which styles itself as Spanish/tapas to serve pizza, but the pizza was actually pretty good, with a crispy base and enough topping but not so much that everything sagged.

We also ordered the prawns with garlic, chilli and sherry vinegar, the pork belly with quince aioli and the patatas bravas. We might have ordered a bit too much …

For me, the pork belly with the quince aioli was easily the stand out dish. The crackling was really crackly and the quince aioli was amazing. I would have been quite happy to have some crusty bread and that by itself. It was a lovely combination of sharp and garlicky with a texture that was somewhere between thick mayonnaise and a sauce. The sharpness worked really well with the pork and made me wonder why we don’t see pork and quince as a more common combination.

The prawns, and in particular their sauce, got a big thumbs up from my friend and we both liked the patatas bravas, although the chilli heat of the tomato sauce seemed a little inconsistent. The potatoes themselves were super crispy and the aioli was suitably garlicky.

The bill came to $84 which, while we had ample to eat, I felt was a bit on the pricey side. As with my last visit, I also felt service was a bit uneven. It’s definitely something that needs tightening up, especially around the end of the meal. I think it’s reasonable to assume that people who are dining early (and who are all dressed up!) are probably on their way out to something else, so being sharp with both bringing the bill AND collecting it, is important.

The visit definitely improved my opinion of Mesa Lunga, but it’s still not somewhere I’d be suggesting as a destination venue.

Mesa Lunga on Urbanspoon

Coopers Sparkling Ale Takes Out Trophy

Coopers Sparkling Ale
photo by Bernt Rostad (flickr)

The Australian International Beer Awards took place in Melbourne last week and our own Coopers Sparkling Ale, which has been in production almost continuously since the 1860s, took out the trophy for Best Australian Style Pale Ale.

The beer also won a gold medal in the draught beer section and a silver medal for packaging.

The awards had almost 1500 entries, from 277 exhibitors and almost half were from overseas.

No excuse for buying imports now!

Loft Oyster and Wine Bar

date of visit:  Wednesday 22 May 2013

disclaimer: I was a guest at the Loft launch party.

how every good party should wrap up …

With licensing laws changing to accommodate small bars and an increasing number of wine bars, I think it’s obvious to all that Adelaide’s bar scene is undergoing a subtle change. While there may be some very real concerns about whether or not Adelaide can sustain all these venues, the people behind Loft Oyster and Wine Bar* certainly think it can.

Loft is a massive, first floor bar at the Morphett Street end of Gouger Street. It actually opened about a month ago and a friend hosted  his farewell drinks there a couple of weeks back. I was unable to head out that night but fortunately, karma looked on me kindly and an invitation to the official launch party landed in my inbox.

Once the issue of what to wear had been solved (and yes, if you’re heading somewhere straight from work this does represent a dilemma!), and we’d eaten some dinner, it was time for my friend and me to head to Loft.

The red carpet was out for the VIPs and we headed upstairs to be greeted with glasses of Louis Roederer Champagne. One of my biggest pet peeves of all time is people referring to random sparkling wine as Champagne. In Adelaide, of all places, we should know better. I’ve been to weddings in very flash hotels here where guests are offered “Champagne” only for it to be Australian sparkling wine (and not even locally produced). So I was thrilled that the invitation delivered on its promise, because a wine bar that messed that up would really suffer in the credibility stakes!

The bar runs along one side and the room is broken up at the far end by a circular curtain. The street facing side of the room has a balcony which was all opened up. This was fantastic because even though it was a relatively cool night, it helped keep the interior area cool and comfortable. The downside was, of course, that people were smoking on the balcony, and every now and then you’d get a breeze of slightly less than fresh air. I’m not sure how you’d fix that but maybe something the Loft management can consider is designating part of the balcony a smoking area and keeping the doors and windows there closed.

Being a launch party, I’m not in a position to comment on the usual beverage selection (or prices) but I was really impressed with a large counter which played host to an interesting and broad selection of white wines.  Someone with more than a passing interest in wine put it together:  there aren’t many venues where you can find Ducks in a Row Fiano side by side with Greywacke Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc and a Chablis … (name dropping over, I promise!).

Untitledunfortunately not my bar at home …

I didn’t try any of the canapés (yes, perhaps I ate too much at dinner) but my friend, purely in the interests of research and the integrity of this review, tried an oyster which received a thumbs up.

Loft was formally launched by Ben Tolstoshev of The Lane, with a very short and sweet speech that allowed everyone to get back to the serious socialising!


Loft is open Wednesday – Sunday and for wine drinkers I’d say it’s a must visit venue. For everyone else, I’d head along and check it out because you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.  I know I’ll be heading back to take a serious look at those white wines …

* Loft’s website is under development:  currently it’s just a landing page.

Loft Oyster and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon