Restaurant Review: Beach Bum

O’Connell Street’s latest on–trend Walter Ventura eatery is made for summer with its cool vibe and casual, simple and delicious Hawaiian–Japanese food.

Motivated by the unique fusion of Hawaiian and Japanese food and the sunny beaches of Honolulu, the new Beach Bum Hawaiian Kiosk sits behind an unassuming shop front on O’Connell Street in North Adelaide. This is more than just a kiosk, however, as this is a contemporary eatery that has been given the full treatment like sister venues Tony Tomatoes, Gin Long Canteen and Cliché, which are dotted along the same street.

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A brightly painted structure, resembling two side-by-side Kombi vans, functions as the servery, takeaway counter and bar – where they serve shaved-iced cocktails as the signature drink, along with a respectable list of wines and ales from Australia, the U.S. and, of course, Japan. Tables resemble pallet furniture, and wall murals, slatted timber features and tropical plants complete the modern shanty look.

We’re seated in a thoroughfare between the main dining space and the back courtyard, perched on bench seating that offers a voyeuristic view into the compact kitchen space. Chefs work quickly and precisely, flitting between the preparation of burgers and sashimi with ease. I’ve seen this type of operation before, in Japan, where efficiency, concentration and consistency are key.

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Dishes land quickly on the table. Lightly caramelised scallops are served on open wontons with black beans, cucumber, avocado and thinly shredded lettuce. Pops of ginger complement a strong coriander flavour balanced with a splash of lime juice, and the wonton adds crunch to complete a textural mouthful with a zingy edge.

Resort salmon ceviche is balanced with the right amount of acid, mixed into a tiny salad of avocado, corn and fresh basil. Slivers of grapefruit and turmeric lime dressing combine to provide a citrus punch. Huli huli chicken skewers are coated in a sticky, spicy marinade and have spent the perfect amount of time on an open grill, tender inside with charred edges and sprinkled with lightly toasted sesame seeds. It’s clear from our starters that this kitchen understands flavour and balance, while making each dish as pretty as a picture – Hello Instagram.

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Poké is an example of the new fusion th at is becoming an adopted trend around the world. Poké is the Hawaiian verb “to slice or cut” – easily explaining how this ubiquitous dish is prepared. Beach Bum serves theirs with a range of raw fish options that all include rice, edamame beans, green onion, avocado, seaweed salad and banana peppers. The salmon poké has added pineapple that offers sweetness to the otherwise savoury flavours. Completing the dish is a clean dressing of apple soy sauce, a sprinkling of perilla furikake seasoning for added spice and a generous handful of nori seaweed shards providing a suitable alternative to salt.

Coffee beef salad is next, with sliced scotch fillet splayed out across a fairly simple salad of cos lettuce, fresh chunks of tomato, paw paw and mint coated in a black bean dressing. The beef is slightly overcooked though nicely seasoned with a coffee rub that offers something a little different in the flavour of the steak but doesn’t work so well as a salad.

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Alongside, a dish of sliced chicken is beautifully poached in a coconut lime sauce that also acts as a dressing for the light salad of green leaves and tomato with scattered green chilli and orange giving the dish a nice balance of spice and sweetness. It’s another simple dish, though this is part of the appeal of the menu here – nothing is overthought.

With a cool fitout and delicious food, it’s the quick, casual service and an efficient engine room that keeps this Kombi moving. And when you’re done enjoying dinner, kick back, relax and enjoy your time at the beach – icy cocktail in hand, bum planted firmly in the sand.

Beach Bum
47 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide
Lunch: Tuesdays to Fridays, 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner: Tuesdays to Sundays, 5.30pm to late
8361 8714
beachbum.net.au

Photography: Jonathan van der Knaap

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