At first, long-time mates Jack Nelligan, James McIntyre and Dan Morton just wanted a tiny coffee shed and some lawn. But when they found out the drab concrete park across from University of South Australia was owned by SA Power Networks and not the council – which might have cramped their style – they acquired the lease and dreamed bigger.
Now, the corner block holds a lush garden filled out with lemon and avocado trees. At the rear, there’s a well-appointed shipping-container-turned-cafe, with herbs planted on the roof. It makes for an almost comical contrast with the humming electrical substation next door, and indeed this is one of the most relaxing spots in town. When the weather’s fine, it's hard to beat a brunch cocktail, local beer or wine on the deck, or at one of the garden tables.
Head chef Renee Lind serves a hearty menu that’s primed for an early start or a long lunch. If you’re here for the former, highlights include a smoothie bowl filled with fresh, seasonal fruit; or something plucked from the daily pastry selection (everything’s baked in-house) to go with coffee by local roastery, 1645.
Later, it might be a chicken-and-lemongrass shoyu bowl with udon noodles, larb, green chilli, spring onion, crispy shallots, basil and sesame. Or a nourishing bowl with ocean trout, basmati rice, sauerkraut, soy mushrooms, cucumber, avocado, sesame, coriander and nori tahini. Pair with a drop from the tidy selection of local wines and you’re all set.