FIRST LOOK: Ocean Bar & Kitchen brings coastal dining vibes to Henley Square

Re-posted from Glam Adelaide 21/12/2023: 

The much-anticipated opening of the new Ocean Bar & Kitchen at the Henley Surf Life Saving Club is finally here and this new collab project from celebrity chef Adam Swanson and Josh Harkin is set to be the go-to destination for delicious beachside dining this summer season.

Officially opening today following their soft launch last night, Ocean Bar & Kitchen, located at the well-known Henley Beach Surf Life Saving Club, is redefining the foodie experience for locals and all who flock to this popular beachside suburb—complete with the freshest seafood, delicious cocktails, and the finest ocean views in SA.

Adam, owner of Lockley’s chicken shop Cheeky Chook, and Josh, the owner and operator of the popular Marion Bay Hotel on Yorke Peninsula, are excited about the opening of Ocean Bar & Kitchen and to be providing something new to the local westside community and beach-loving South Aussies.

‘Let’s face it—the Henley Surf Life Saving Club really is the best location and has the best views in Adelaide’, says Adam. ‘The surf club is an amazing community and organisation, and they reached out to both myself and Josh, being professionals in the game, and we wanna make sure we do it right.’

Using all South Australian produce, including meat, fruit and, of course, the freshest of seafood, the food is influenced by Adam’s Italian heritage, with seafood as a focus, and will also include pub classics, ensuring there is really something for everyone.

‘We want the menu at Ocean Bar & Kitchen to be something people feel comfortable with’, says Adam. ‘When people read the menu, they should get it—there shouldn’t be anything there that people are like “what is that?”—it’s uncomplicated, quality food to be enjoyed.’

With seafood being the hero of the restaurant, it’s no surprise that there are some pretty impressive seafood offerings, all made with the freshest of local seafood.

‘All of the seafood we use is either local from SA or from Australia—nothing has been imported’, says Adam. ‘We have a two-tiered seafood platter featuring fresh oysters, local SA prawns, lobsters and a variety of grilled and baked seafood’, says Adam. ‘I wanted to create a seafood platter that has no battered seafood at all! Imagine that with a bottle of champagne and the sun setting—what else do you need?’

Just like a typical Italian meal, the menu starts with antipasto before going into mains and desserts. To start, there are menu items like the Ocean Prawn Roll, featuring hand-chopped cooked prawn in a brioche roll with the restaurant’s housemade Thousand Island dressing and topped with salmon roe. There’s also the popular polenta chips, salt and pepper squid

There are five kinds of pasta on the menu, including a Spaghetti Mare featuring fresh mussels, prawns, calamari and fish, Casarecce Bolognese with pork and fennel sausage, and the Mezze Maniche Grancho with large rigatoni pasta and fresh blue swimmer crab meat from WA.

The restaurant’s vibe is all about sharing and creating that connection through food, but if guests want to enjoy their own steak or their own plate of pasta, that is, of course, an option too.

‘Whilst there are mains that are very Italian-influenced, we still have all those staples that people go into a surf club for’, says Adam. ‘We have fish and chips with local King George whiting that’s either been grilled or crumbed, the Ocean Double Cheeseburger featuring double cheese and double Angus beef patties with pickles and our own burger sauce, or the popular chicken or eggplant parmigiana, which can also just be a chicken schniti if diners want.’

This family-friendly restaurant also has a special kids menu with a selection of pastas, schnitzel and fish and chips, along with a few deliciously sweet dessert offerings including tiramisu, an Aperol trifle, and a selection of gelato.

The newly revamped venue has a very Tuscany-style coastal feel to it with the colour tones and palette of the restaurant. ‘We have a completely new bar with pillars and a new terrazzo top—it’s very chilled, relaxed vibes, and the space features cool colour tones of sea blues and hillside pistachio greens throughout’, says Adam.

And, with a capacity of 250 people, the restaurant accepts both bookings and walk-ins.

‘Whilst we encourage people to book, we also have a designated bar area to the left with high tables for walk-ins, where people can sit and enjoy a drink whilst waiting for a table, or are welcome to enjoy a meal in that area too.’

‘The balcony holds up to 80 people and will often have a DJ adding to the beachside vibes, so it’s perfect for any event, and our functions menu will feature a variety of canapes ideal for this type of setting’, says Adam. ‘You can’t beat a beachside wedding!’

Opening seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Adam is looking forward to welcoming people into the restaurant and being that ‘place to go’ where guests can feel relaxed and know they’ll have a quality dining experience at any time.

‘Whilst we have a gap between our lunch and dinner service, we still wanted to provide something for those who may be running a bit late for lunch or want a quick afternoon catch-up with friends over a beer or champagne’, says Adam. ‘From 3-5 pm, we have a snack menu that’s perfect for sharing and even has the cold tier of our seafood platter available for those who want to indulge in some fresh afternoon seafood.’

With the holiday season approaching, Ocean Bar & Kitchen will be open on Christmas Eve for lunch only and then will reopen on Boxing Day from 3 pm for normal seven-day trade. And, if you wanna bring in the new year at this new beachside hotspot, the restaurant is also offering a special New Year’s Eve seven-course set menu for $160 per person, which includes a canape and spritz, prosecco or beer on arrival.

Beachgoers and passionate foodies have much to look forward to this summer season with the arrival of Ocean Bar and Restaurant. As a local himself, Adam is most excited about providing another premium food option down at Henley Beach.

‘We welcome everyone down to what we consider the best location in Adelaide—tourists, locals, whoever; you don’t need to be a member of the Surf Life Saving Club to enjoy Ocean’, says Adam. ‘We’re proud to have created a space with really relaxed, chilled vibes and with simple and tasty foods featuring the best seasonal and local ingredients for everyone to enjoy.’

What: Ocean Bar & Kitchen.
Where: 246 Esplanade, Henley Beach, SA, 5022.
When: Open 7 days.
Lunch: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, Dinner: 5:30 pm – late, Snack menu: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.