Do you realise the number of wine bars in Adelaide has been boomed over the past several years? All these new bars popped up and some old ones left the scene. This is business. I have been to several quite unique types of bars but also wondered if there would be a bar providing a family feeling, good quality wine and fantastic food and most importantly an enjoyable experience. Recently, I found one – Cantina Sociale!
Cantina Sociale opened its door 5 years ago and has since been a quite popular after-work destination on on this Sturt Street corner. The industrial decor of this small bar is also quite attractive.
When we were there on a Wednesday night, the bar was filled with people. It made me wonder, how come this place was so special that many people wanted to gather here? I found out myself – boutique, wine, food and people.
Cantina Sociale serves some of the rarest wines in the state and some of them were just made or blended for the venue. The owner had a real interest in wine and tasted a large variety of wines before selecting the ones for the wine bar. Here, you don’t see those big brand, but rather some of the finest tasting wines you would find in different regions. Best of all, prior to buying the wine, customers can try the wines they are interested in. The venue gives a generous amount (almost 1/6 of a glass).
Customers can buy wines by the glass or in 200 ml, 500ml and l L volume and they were served in an industrial-alike glassware. The price of the wines were far more reasonable than we normally had in other wine bars and yet the wines were much better. The wines are poured straight from the barrel or the large wine bottle. Some of the wines here are so rare that one can only taste them in this specific wine bar! Like the 2013 Grillo, there is only 1 barrel blended in South Australia and it is HERE!
During the dinner, Tina and I tasted several of their wines – fabulous and absolutely delicious! As you all know that I am interested in wine and food pairing so I decided to pair the dishes and wine at Cantina Sociale. I recommend you do the same as this was such a great experience, especially you can taste the wine first! Most importantly, the wines are in the barrel, not in a bag in the barrel and this means the wines will continue to age while in the barrel. Think about this – you are getting a different wine almost everyday. How fascinating 🙂 !
Truffle pop corn $5
Truffle pop corn?! If you love truffled stuff, this pop corn is a must try and I am sure you will love it. The buttery flavour of the how pop corn was mixed with good taste truffle and salt and on palate was great just by itself. The interesting bit of this dish was that it all ended up on the palate as a concentrated truffle jus, leaving a nice fragrance! I LOVE it 😀
Cantina Bar Plate $34
This platter was sooooooooooooooooo good! It has proscuitto, salami, local bread and bits and pieces of cheeses, pate and condiments. Most of the meat and pate were from Barossa Fine Foods which I am a long term fan of. The cured meat was fantastic and really gave a pleasant experience on the palate. There were slightly salty olives, preserved chillies and almonds. What I liked the most was in fact the chilli. They added extra saltiness yet spiciness to the table and complemented the meat quite well!
This platter is especially suitable if you wish to enjoy with a glass of wine! I accompanied the platter with the 2015 Shiraz by Jingo Willunga and it proved that this was great. I actually wanted a red that is not spicy and I was introduced this by the bartender. It was absolutely great! The wine exhibited cheese and bacon after-taste on the palate and its creaminess helped to refine this dish and promoted the flavours. Great choice!
Cuca Sardinias, dark rye, parsley, Spanish onion & capers $12
This is one of the bar’s small plate – to me it is a large plate. I must admit that the bar’s serve was quite generous both in wine and in dishes. This sardine dish was brilliant to start the night. On the first bite, I tasted the fish and thought it was pleasant – not too much fishy flavour but worked quite well with the capers, the onion and the bread. However, when we tried our accompanying Chardonnay, the experience went from good to great! This chardonnay is not okay at all although being aged in an oak barrel. The wine showed strong fruit flavours and lifted the flavours of the fish out. It was mind-blowing in my mouth! Especially with the saltiness of the fish fully out onto the palate, this dish was so flirting for me to go on with other dishes! My favourite dish of the night!
I asked if the bar’s food produce are local. The owner was very honest and said these sardines are from Spain from Central Market because that they felt there was not a satisfactory sardine on offer. I really liked their attitude towards their customers and this really put us to the front.
Now, the big plates are coming…
Pan-fried chorizo, pan-fried haloumi, rocket & truffle honey $13
This pan-fried chorizo was slightly salty but the honey sweetness neutralised this saltiness very well. The haloumi was creamy while the truffle honey not only added the sweetness but also the fragrance from the honey hive and the truffle. A true pleaser of the night which combined well with the 2013 Grillo which was slightly sweet and had a hint of fruitiness. Both of these flavours helped the dish to unite together as the bitterness from the rockets were also balanced well! Good job!
Baked Camembert, cooked to perfection, served with bread. crisp toasts & fruit chips, perfect for dunking, $19
If you have just started the drinking, this dish is great. If you are in the middle of your drinking, this dish is great. If you are at the end of your drinking cycle, this dish is great.
No matter which stage you are at your drinking cycle, this baked camembert is always a good dish to accompany most of the wines. The cheese was baked to perfection with a small amount of honey on the top to increase the sweetness. To serve, cut the cheese open and dip all the bread, crisp toasts and fruit chips into it. The inside cheese filling was so fine and silky and even makes me hungry now a week after the dinner. For this dish, we had to ask for extra bread because Tina and I did not want to leave a single drop of the cheese wasted. I paired the cheese with 2016 Pinot Grigio – the sweetness and the cheesy flavour worked just amazing and made us continue to dip and dip :D. Tina’s favourite of the night. Highly recommended!
The last dish was purely to satisfy my craving for meat – scotch fillet.
Scotch Fillet, medium rare with fennel and orange salad, $20
My good ol’ scotch fillet! Tender, moist and full of flavour. I added salt myself to add a bit more of saltiness but the dish on itself was already quite delicate. The orange improved the sweetness of the dish and enhanced the beef flavour. Adding on a matching wine I chose, this dish became second to none! It was the 2014 Shiraz Amarom Style which was very spicy and works perfect with this scotch fillet! A must try wine and a great dish!
Cantina Sociale tried to source local produce where possible. The owner is a food and wine fanatic too and selects his own wine from various SA wineries to be featured in his wine bar. I can definitely see his love to the industry and to his customers. The atmosphere at the wine bar was quite welcoming and family feeling and the owner went around the tables to carry out conversations with his customers. What a brilliant wine bar experience in the middle of the winter! To me, this is why Cantina Sociale stands out in the Adelaide food and wine scene. You got to try them out! Highly recommended!
PS: Adelaidefoodies.com is invited to dine as a guest of Cantina Sociale and AGFG but all opinions are genuine and are our own.
108 Sturt Street
Adelaide, SA 5000
P 08 8410 6246