Whilst this kinky European-inspired wine bar did not originate out of the 1800′s (contrary to what its name may imply), the Apothecary 1878 has undisputedly stood the test of time, drawing a legion of faithful patrons to its shadowed corners since its opening in the year 2002.
The restaurant is the namesake of the 133-year old pharmacy cabinets that line the darkened walls of the Apothecary’s front bar. These aged, mahogany cabinets bear and boast rows of decorative antique wine bottles with many dating back to yonkers of an age. The setting bursts with character, quirky without being too kitsch; chandeliers drooping lazily overhead whilst bums rest on velvet sofas and dark Thonet chairs.
Wander along the narrow stairs tucked away from the main bar area, and you’ll discover nooks and crannies for various activities of wining, dining, and celebrating. The uppermost chamber is a private function room, bold red walls and gold ornaments reminiscent of an old-Victorian cigar room, whilst the lowest level features a dining space for more intimate soirées.
The main draw of the venue is its wine selection, and with a list showcasing pages upon pages of local and international fare, the Apothecary’s wine offering is sure to please both “New” and “Old World” drinkers.
The food – quintessentially Adelaide (or so this writer labels it). Uncomplicated. Satisfying. Not too stuck up its arse to the point of pretension, yet managing to stave off the usual humdrum of standard-fare. Diners can have a pick of ‘starters’ or ‘shared’ dishes to nibble alongside their wines. We commenced our feasting with apple cured salmon served with crisp fennel sheafs and parmesan (excellent with a dry white), and baked chevre with eggplant and almond sauce, which was meltingly warm with the toasted almonds giving a rich nutty kick (those who dislike goat’s cheese however, might wrinkle their noses). The pork and veal meatballs cooked in a heavy tomato was, whilst tasty, not altogether ground-breaking.
On the flip side, our table demolished every speck of the potted prawn with caper berries and toast, the sweet pureed flesh driving one diner to wipe out the inner crevices of the pot with her pinkie (classy..). Relishing in sheer umami-ness was the brined and chargrilled chicken thighs, smoky from its joust with flames and served atop smooth, garlicky skordalia. Two lip-smacking thumbs up.
Mains of roasted eye fillet with bordelaise sauce was cooked to a rare-ish rosy pink (as desired) and pleasing in all its meaty glory. Its side of blue cheese spinach gratin however, almost overshone it – its musky heartiness promising a joy to those fond of the curd. The crepe-like cannelloni of chicken liver and rabbit was indeed – very “livery” with a sustained meaty creaminess that though I believe a few may question, was something I personally enjoyed.
The Wine Breakdown – The 2010 Tscharke ‘Girl Talk” Savagnin from the Barossa carried like blooms on mineral rock, a clean, dry palate of apple and citrus, which worked excellently with most entrees. Red was a 2007 Antinori ‘Peppoli” Sangiovese Merlot Syrah from Tuscany, full of ripe cassis and spice, a paradox of complexity and easy drinkability – a reasonable pairing to our various mains.
Service is efficient and fair. Things do however, get fairly hectic over the weekends, so I’d suggest a weekday drop in. Also, on the side note: The Apothecary dishes up tapas/supper for those seeking a late night snack or a beverage to wine down the day (pun intended).
A rose amongst the thorns of Hindley, this is one place to take out-of-towners to. Eat, drink and be merry.
(08) 8212 9099
118 Hindley St