Current Issue #487

Restaurant Review:
Comida at Roxie's

Comida at Roxie's
Sia Duff

The super-chilled vibe and green oasis of Roxie’s Garden Bar & Eatery is the best antidote for anyone suffering the back-to-work blues.

The combo of casual Spanish influenced eats by Comida, cold beer, boutique wines and a jungly beer garden setting really does help recapture that holiday mood.

This east end site has a lot of history. Roxie’s has been a permanent venue since 2017 and follows on from a series of successful pop-ups such as Little Miss Mexico, Little Miss Miami, Little Miss Dive Shop and Crab Shack, and Superfish.

It’s nestled between Chateau Apollo and the Crown and Anchor (aka Cranker) with its Midnight Spaghetti restaurant upstairs. This whole “block” is under the guidance of a seasoned hospo crew including creative director Jordan Jeavons and manager Chad Leverington. Tom Skipper owns all three.

The kitchens at Roxie’s (and Chateau Apollo) are run by Comida Catering Co’s Brad and Fiona Sappenberghs, well known for their Spanish café in the Central Market. The market stall closed last year and Brad is now concentrating on Roxie’s and a new venue at Hahndorf. More on that soon.

Comida at Roxie's
Sia Duff
Roxie’s beer garden

We limped into Roxie’s at the end of a typical Adelaide summer scorcher, hoping to get a table (you can only book for groups of six or more). We were early to arrive and scored a timber booth, complete with cooling water mists, and watched the place get progressively busier.

This is arguably the best beer garden in the CBD with lush greenery absolutely everywhere and plenty of booths, benches and communal tables. We quickly relaxed into the surf café/beach shack/rustic courtyard surrounds with DJ Cazeaux O.S.LO. playing hip hop and funk tunes. Just when it’s starting to feel like we’re the oldest ones here by at least a couple of decades, I look more closely and see a broad mix of people across all age groups. A woman walks in the door with a little kid in tow and two sausage dogs.

A bunch of 30-something guys next to us in rolled-up shirtsleeves and loosened ties share pints and lament being back at work. A gaggle of millennial women behind us were getting right into their margaritas and margheritas alongside some, ahem, much older folks.

Overall, you’ll find a fairly young crowd but if you’re over 40, 50 or even 60, fear not, you won’t hear “OK boomer” uttered here.

Comida at Roxie's
Sia Duff
Comida at Roxie’s

We get our priorities right and kick off with drinks including a ‘fiesta de flores’ gin cocktail from a list of seven creations and a Young Henry’s Natural Lager, one of 12 tap beers.

Comida’s evening menu (from 4pm) is a concise selection of tapas, raciones and pizzas. I was looking forward to Brad’s paella but, sadly, it’s not part of the usual menu (only for functions). Hopefully it will make guest appearances over summer.

Four tapas options ($10–$16) include garbanzo ( chickpea) fritters topped with a Catalan-inspired rich, nutty, fruity and earthy-flavoured romesco tomato-based sauce and finely grated manchego cheese.

We loved the classic patatas bravas: lightly fried golden potato pieces (not deep-fried into oblivion) with a bold, smoky, sweet tomato jam, creamy garlic aioli and herbs.

Roxie’s has a well-curated wine list with a dominant SA streak and just a few imported drops. Plenty by the glass ($7– $11) and bottles from $36. We gave a big thumbs up to a Spider Bill chardonnay made by Tarrant Hansen with fruit from Piccadilly in the Adelaide Hills.

Raciones in Spain are ordered when you’re wanting a little more than tapas. Comida’s raciones ($14–18) have an Aussie spin with Spanish nuances such as crumbed pork sirloin served with cos lettuce heart, quince and pickled pepper. Escalavida (roasted capsicum, eggplant, basil and shallots) makes a great side dish with other shared plates.

A plate of meaty chicken ribs, crispy on the outside and tender inside, share the plate with fresh slaw, caperberries and a peppy chipotle mayo.

Comida at Roxie's
Sia Duff
Comida at Roxie's
Sia Duff

Comida has a wood-fired oven which was built by famed pizza master Russell Jeavons (also the father of Jordan from Roxie’s).

What this means is the pizza is very,  very good! Choose from half a dozen types of textbook perfect flatbread, including the cordero with a charred, puffed crust topped with pulled lamb, spiced yoghurt, caramelised onion and pistachios.

Dulce? We declined, but churros (Spanish doughnuts) would undoubtedly hit the sweet spot. Comida’s Spanish-accented food is tasty, fun, ideal for sharing and a great fit for Roxie’s, where the good times will flow this summer. If you’re keen to taste more of Comida’s Spanish food, head to Hahndorf where Brad and Fiona Sappenberghs have opened a new restaurant in the main street.They’re serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with small and large plates, paella and pizza and more.

Comida at Roxie’s Garden Bar & Eatery
188 Grenfell Street, Adelaide
08 7123 6343

Kylie Fleming

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