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South Bank heats up with the arrival of Calida, a new Argentinian-inspired steakhouse from Alemré Hospitality Group

On Wednesday June 19, the crew at Alemré Hospitality Group lit the coals at its brand-new concept – an Argentinian-inspired restaurant harnessing the power of fire. At Calida, guests can sit down to plates of hand-sealed empanadas, spicy chorizo, grilled octopus and succulent steaks, best enjoyed with a glass of malbec, spicy margaritas or a Fernet con coca.
Jun 21, 2024, updated Jun 21, 2024

South Bank is a bit of a melting pot of cuisines, from Spanish-inspired tapas spots and flavour-packed Mexican cantinas to heart-warming Italian restaurants. We’ve got Alemré Hospitality Group to thank for helping create a good portion of that culinary diversity. On Wednesday June 19, the crew officially added Argentinian-style fare to its South Bank holdings, opening a fiery new 180-seat steakhouse Calida on the corner of Grey Street and Ernest Street.

An up-market yet approachable dining destination, Calida is fusing flavour and flair, taking elements of Argentina’s fire-licked gastronomy and applying it to an Australian setting. Calida’s fit-out (executed by UNITA and CollectiveUs) utilises an earthy palette of stonework and raw brick to create a moody foundation for the restaurant’s aesthetic, which is contoured by soft furnishings, ambient lighting, liberal use of Argentinian textiles and a ficus tree integrated into the booth seating. The restaurant’s 210-sqm footprint offers a variety of dining settings, including two alfresco zones, communal dining tables, a drinks ledge for casual snacking and a semi-private space illuminated by vivid neon.

All of this serves to set the stage for Calida’s offering, which has been designed by Alemré’s executive group chef Adam Starr. Immersing himself in Argentina’s culinary traditions, Adam’s menu seeks to deliver an authentic evocation of the country’s rich heritage, tinged with some inventive contemporary flair. As one assumes at a steakhouse, meat is a core focus of Calida’s offering. Protein is treated with an appropriate level of reverence, with Calida’s own custom Parilla grill giving the various meaty morsels (including cuts of grain-fed beef sourced from respected producer S. Kidman & Co) a drool-worthy char. The grill section gives carnivores the chance to sink incisors into succulent sirloins, eye fillets and rumps – all served with Calida’s house-made chimichurri sauce and Australian red gum-smoked salt.

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Steaks aren’t the only items to grace the grill. Seafood lovers can savour grilled octopus with potato salad and tomato salsa, grilled barramundi with sauteed white beans, pork chop on the bone with roasted carrot puree and pearl barley, and chargrilled semi-curado pork sausage. In addition to smaller plates of fried cauliflower with smoked hot sauce, fresh salmon ceviche, flash-fried baby calamari and marinated lamb-rump skewers, Calida’s kitchen is also dispensing two kinds of empanadas – flaky hand-sealed pastry pockets filled with crushed beef, smoked paprika and red peppers, and fresh ricotta, mozzarella, corn, spinach and chilli.

Calida’s beverage menu is led by a selection of Latin-inspired signature cocktails and a clutch of classic concoctions. Leading the pack is Calida’s Fernet con coca (an Argentinian staple that blends Fernet Branca and Coke), the ¡Viva la Argentina! (a punchy mix of gin, blue curaçao and citrus), Margarita de Roca (a spicy number boasting Teremana Blanco tequila, dragonfruit and jalapeño) and the Mermalada (blending Bulleit
bourbon and marmalade). Calida’s wine list features a sturdy selection of Argentinian and European vino, while the beer selection features a mix of mainstream and craft brews, plus Quilmes – the national beer of Argentina.

Calida is now open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours, contact details and menu info.

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