Each month, illustrator Leo Greenfield sketches and profiles an Adelaide character who makes this city tick. This month: Liam Horwood.
The iconic Amalfi Pizzeria Ristorante is crowded most evenings. And if you’re like me, you usually get dragged in without being wise enough to book ahead. Not to worry, if patient, a table will turn up, and while you wait you get to see how brilliantly the Amalfi staff manages the clientele of this Frome Street institution.
Anyone who’s worked in hospitality will know it’s a bit of a dance to move around those tables and customers, juggling plates, bottles and coffee cups. Liam Horwood, a waiter at Amalfi, does this dance very well. “I’m not a small man but I’ve got legs like a ballerina,” says Horwood, who admits shifts turn into a “jazzy blur” due to the pace.
Keen for a chat, the self-deprecating Horwood, like any great hospo worker, has a real skill for making you feel welcome, saying he is more “Fred Dagg [a John Clarke character] than fine dining”. Like all good characters, Horwood is up for a good “hand on hip” chin wag, but keeps professional. He recommends the spaghetti puttanesca or the scaloppine ai funghi if you head to Amalfi.
Horwood always has a good book on the go, and offers nice short reviews on them. He’s just picked up a copy of A Hundred Years of Solitude, but has shifted back to a Charlotte Brontë classic, Shirley, as the former was “a bit overwhelming”.
As a CBD resident, Horwood can be seen racing from Gilles Street to his other haunts, such as the Exeter Pub or Exchange Specialty Coffee on his gleaming red bike. For him, the proximity to work is appealing as well as the atmosphere around the East End of the city, especially that “big country town feel” or “the way Eucalyptus trees pop up next to old terrace houses that could be fresh out of Yorkshire”.
When it comes to fashion, big loud shirts seem to be his trademark. Horwood is not shy to describe them as blouses. He gets these from markets about town and notes Dame Edna Everage as one of his style advisors. Our meeting was on the same day Australia voted yes to marriage equality, so the usual city sites were met with flashes of bright rainbows and colourful outfits. Therefore, Horwood’s smart style didn’t seem a bit out of place, rather, it was emblematic of is his manner at the restaurant: elegant and welcoming.
Leo Greenfield is a freelance illustrator