2KW’s Summer Cocktail Launch

Montenegro Sour
Montenegro Sour

date: Sunday 11 December 2016

disclaimer: I was a guest at the launch.

I am not a big cocktail drinker (unless, by ‘cocktail’ you mean ‘gin and tonic’) so I was really pleased that my invitation to 2KW’s cocktail launch included a plus one. This means you get a slightly more balanced view of the cocktails that will be on offer over summer.

Of course, 2KW doesn’t need the drawcard of slick cocktails. I’m not sucking up to anyone here, but it has to be one of Adelaide’s go-to bars. If nothing else, the view is spectacular. Of course, the outdoor bar (as well as the indoor bar), the misters and its food (be warned though – the restaurant can be a bit noisy) make it an all-in-one package. You do have to be a bit mindful of the dress code though, and for some of us that makes it a bit more of a destination rather than somewhere you’d just randomly visit. I unwaveringly recommend it as somewhere to checkout to visitors. Those views …

trays of canapes

The summer cocktail launch was held on a warm afternoon – very conducive to a few cool beverages with friends. Four new cocktails were featured, along with some very tasty canapés and a summer special, the Vermouth Spritzer.

First up – the Montenegro Sour. Although I’m usually not fan of the herbal liqueurs (and indeed, orange) this was quite refreshing and I think would definitely appeal to anyone with a slight sweet tooth (or with a love of chocolate and orange). This was rated even more highly by my friend.

Pickled Pineapple Whisky Smash
Pickled Pineapple Whisky Smash

Next, the Pickled Pineapple Whisky Smash. When the two mixologists responsible for the new cocktails told us it was made with a smoked whisky this meant very little to me … until I tried the drink. Woah … this one was really smoky. Too smoky for both my friend and me – the pineapple was lost.

KI Buzz
KI Buzz

At this point, we split our tasting and I opted for the KI Buzz – gin, lemon and honey (Kangaroo Island produce, of course!). Easily my favourite cocktail of the four, you could definitely smell and taste the honey alongside the gin. It was quite sweet – and I personally would only manage one, but I can see this being a very popular cocktail.

My friend was on the Two Lifts – an homage to 2KW’s complicated access route – based around Aperol, Chartreuse and Vermouth. I’ll be honest – I thought this was … um … unpalatable but she really liked it.

A special mention goes to 2KW’s Vermouth Spritzer – the perfect antidote to a hot afternoon. It’s a simple mix of dark Spanish vermouth (Casa Mariol Vermut Negre) with soda water (and a slice of lime and some mint). This was absolutely delicious – very refreshing, balanced and eminently drinkable. I suspect (although you should confirm this) that it’s pretty low in alcohol, as the Vermouth comes in at just 15% abv. I liked this so much I tried to recreate it at home (with some dark Italian Vermouth) and failed miserably … I guess I’ll just have to keep trying!

Finally – if you are a bar lover, then you should be all over 2KW’s Sunday Sol sessions which launched the Sunday just gone. Pintxos, charcuterie, drinks, live music, DJs … and a focus on Vermouth (oh wait – that means it’s an opportunity to do Vermouth Spritzer research!). This coming Sunday is forecast to be 34 so there’s probably going to be no better place to hang out than 2KW’s bar …

2 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
8212 5511

The Reliance, Leeds

Black Pudding Salad at the Reliance
date of visit: Sunday 26 October 2014

In what feels like a lifetime ago, Andy and I lived in the beautiful city of Leeds. Since moving back to Australia we’ve managed to return to the UK on a semi-regular basis – helped in no small part by the excuse that is taking a small child to see its grandparents – and we have always made time to top in Leeds. This time around it felt like a flying visit, fewer than five days in a neat little flat in Burley. Of course, it wasn’t enough time to catch up with everyone and one old friend found his allocated slot wedged in between our checkout time and our drive across to Cumbria.

This meant brunch.

Brunch is meal we don’t enjoy often enough. The occasions when all three of us are up, awake and functioning in time for anything before lunch are few and far between – but on holiday things are always different and in this case we made it to the Reliance well ahead of 11am opening*. I’d called in advance to make a booking as the suggestion on the internet was that brunches can be a bit busy but on the morning we were there we would have snagged a table easily.

The Reliance is some kind of hybrid between bar, café and restaurant. Although it’s in a somewhat out of the way corner of town (parking on a Sunday is easy though!) this hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Leeds’ eaters and drinkers and The Reliance is fast becoming a stalwart on the scene. My old blog tells me that my own first forays there were back in 2006 – so an impressive effort for an independent bar.

We settled down and the small child immediately asked “where’s my food?” (clearly the early morning Weetabix had worn off by this point). For him, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough and a babycino. For me, the warm salad of black pudding, bacon, potatoes and spinach, topped with a poached egg and for Andy a full English. My friend was waylaid by car troubles, but when he did arrive, he opted for a bacon bap.

20141026_112021 Like father, like son …

While waiting we listened to the chorus of “where’s my food?” while enjoying coffees and reading the newspaper. Sitting in pubs and reading papers (ones that have actual content) is definitely one of the things we both miss about England. The variety of quality newspapers available far tops anything that Mr Murdoch offers the Australian reader. The food arrived and we tucked in.

My salad was pretty good indeed – although not flawless. There was definitely an argument for some of the potatoes being slightly underdone and the salad was dressed a little unevenly, meaning that some mouthfuls were too heavy on the Balsamic vinegar (in general, I find this an overused ingredient). However, the combination of ingredients was spot on with a great mix of textures and flavours: the bursts of saltiness from the bacon, the smoothness of the egg, the slight spiciness of the black pudding. While not perfect, definitely something I’d order again.

The full English got a big tick (the mushrooms which were donated to me were good!) and while I didn’t get to try the scrambled eggs (ahem) the sourdough toast was delicious. The bacon bap also looked good (I’m not sure how you can go wrong sticking bacon in a bap … but I guess it’s always possible, and to be difficult my friend did specify that he wanted the bacon well done!).

I’m pretty sure that the small child would comment that the babycino was perhaps not up to standard – it was predominantly milk rather than froth, which did cause a raised eyebrow.

But while England as a whole may have a long way to go in the babycino stakes … anywhere that can dish up a solid breakfast with the Sunday papers deserves its loyal and enduring clientele. The Reliance remains somewhere that exemplifies many of the best things about the Leeds bar scene.

* during winter it looks like the kitchen is opening at noon and they head straight into lunch, rather than brunch

The Reliance (the-reliance.co.uk)
76-78 North Street
phone: 0113 295 6060

The Taxpayer Relaunches


The Godfather

Disclaimer: I was a guest at the relaunch party. Visit thetaxpayer.com.au for details of the drinks and food menus.

The Taxpayer has been nestled in Victoria Square for about a year now and its location makes it ideally positioned to take advantage of a very generous footpath dining (or drinking) area and views across the square. Just in time for summer it’s had a quick makeover and a revamp of its food and drink offerings and so, morphed itself into The Taxpayer Burger and Booze Bar.


It was quite appropriate that the re-launch party was held on a suitably summery evening and the Adelaide A listers* were out in force. And The Taxpayer stepped up to the mark, showcasing an impressive selection from its cocktail menu. The cocktails certainly excited some discussion and the stand out (both in terms of looks and the number of people going slightly mad for it) was definitely The Godfather.

We were also able to sample the new menu – including the Al Capone burger which is reputed to be Adelaide’s best (I really DON’T want to enter that kind of debate!). The burgers were good – although I do think that the Al Capone could be improved by using standard caramelised onions rather than a caramelised onion jam because for me it was a touch sweet. However, as far as I was concerned the stand out was the chips with parmesan and truffle oil. Too often chips and cheese is more ‘chips drowning in cheese’ whereas these chips (shoestring fries really) were topped with a judicious grating of cheese and had just the right hint of truffle from the oil. I know that truffle oil bashing can be a bit of a thing, but in this case it lent just the right amount of complementary earthiness to the potatoes.


Truffly chips and cheese 

Burger prices hover around $13 (chips not included) or you can opt for a tasting board of sliders (3 or 6) and there’s a selection of sides which fit in with the American burger theme. The cocktails are mostly $18 but there is also a selection of beers (both on top and bottled) and the short wine list is to be commended for its interesting local focus – particularly in that it includes an Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc (from Sidewood Estate) rather than one from across the ditch.

Based on the (re)launch The Taxpayer should do well, by providing something for everyone and combining it with a relaxed atmosphere. I will definitely return.

The Taxpayer
193 Victoria Square
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: (08) 8212 5661

The Taxpayer on Urbanspoon

* If you haven’t already, read through Matt Gilbertson’s guide to becoming an Adelaide A lister!