Panama is a serious restaurant disguised in party clothes; a third-floor loft cloaking its pretensions with the frippery of faux plants, gold decal and bright wallpaper. But once you've oohed and ahhhed over the vast warehouse space with stunning arched windows looking over Smith Street and beyond, the worldly influenced menu reveals its surprises.
A two-speed approach tacks from jazzed-up drinking food (chicken liver parfait with port jelly, blackberry and waffle; or Grilled saganaki with honey, oregano, pistachio and raisin) to dishes with upwardly mobile aspirations, such as Prawn and fish raviolo, with pomelo, salmon roe and butter sauce; or, the Beetroot tart with caramelised onion, goat’s curd and horseradish.
Group executive chef Ayhan Erkoc, whose hatted restaurant Celsius is still missed by Adelaide, teams perfectly grilled Snapper with daikon, tarragon and anchovy; and Corn-fed chicken is paired with orange, fennel, lentils and carrot.
A stand-out dessert of Vanilla custard mille feuille with caramel and sourdough ice cream is the perfect way to conclude a wonderful evening.
It's smart stuff when paired with knowledgeable wait staff, and the amazing panoramic views that frame the venue through several prominent arch windows.
Panama is the perfect venue that blends the old with the new. Mid-week, the mood lighting sets the scene for a quiet, romantic date-night; and on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s more of a lively atmosphere, well suited to larger tables and group dining where you can make best use of the bar serving drinks until 1am.