PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Stepping into the stately entrance off King William Street you realise immediately that you are somewhere special. Passing through the first of many magnificent archways – others form a perimeter of towering windows – you enter a soaring space. Impressive in size and design, this grand dame of a building was built in the early 1900s, formerly housing an Adelaide bank. After years of desertion, it was rescued and reawakened by someone with the vision to give Adelaide a restaurant like no other. Its style, loftiness and grandeur would make a New Yorker homesick – which is not surprisingly where Saldechin's dynamo mastermind Raul Barreto comes from. His venture's name is short for Salon de Chinoiserie.
Considering the building's heritage, it is a respectful residence for Barreto's homage to a 1920s Shanghai tearoom. Yum cha is served until 5.30pm and serves such exotic sounding teas as "dragon well green", "first enchantment", "eternal marigold" and "lily de osmanthe". Dinner plates bring ginger and onion salmon steak, Saldechin char siu and Peking duck. The Asian theme is nudged by Barreto's American roots with Delaware-style crab cakes, spicy Buffalo wings and hallelujah – a thumping, classic martini list. The six metre high marble walls and architecture featuring a Juliet balcony is the perfect setting for enjoying a be-olived tipple. You may even find your Romeo on Friday nights when the place is packed with lovers of live jazz.