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Hot Plates: Iberia, Adelaide

Melon, peas, red grapes and ajoblanco

Melon, peas, red grapes and ajoblanco

Iberia's elegant, simple interior is an exercise in restraint - the focus lies squarely on the plate. It fits tightly but neatly into a skinny former shop in Rundle Street's busy boutique and bistro strip, with twin-level dining areas that open to the street, and a dark, alluring stone-walled basement bar. Chef Andrew Douglas (previously seen at Melbourne's Eau-de-Vie, Boilermaker House and MoVida) comes to Adelaide's East End to deliver clean, precise Spanish and Portuguese flavours - perfectly expressed in caldoso bursting with the earthy power and vibrancy of intricately cut, just-picked vegetables, plump chickpeas and a deep savoury broth. It helps that Douglas's family has its own Adelaide Hills farm to grow produce according to his requirements.

Fittingly enough, the kitchen does good things with seafood. Firm, fleshy perch fillet sings in the company of peas, almond and fennel. Preserved things - meats, fish and vegetables - are also a standout, from 36-month paleta jamón Ibérico and morcón to carrots pickled in honey and ras el hanout. Subtlety and simplicity pay off, as seen in an oily anchovy fillet on puffed lavosh and a flawless Portuguese custard tart. A carefully composed drinks list perfectly suits the menu, with as many Spanish wines as locals alongside sherry, vermouth, single-malt whisky and craft beer.

Iberia, 279 Rundle St, Adelaide, SA, 0402 811 403, iberiaadelaide.com.au

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