Billy Petropoulos has a few plates spinning. The Adelaide chef and culinary consultant has opened more than 40 restaurants around the world. In 2019 his Marleston burger joint Boneshaker expanded into China. That year, he also launched an entirely new restaurant – Billy’s Table – in the former Croydon Social site.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Petropoulos, who was founding chef at enduring neighbourhood favourite Queen Street Cafe a few doors down.
When Croydon Social and Red Door Bakery closed suddenly in 2018, they left a significant hole on the strip, which has long struggled through infrastructure upgrades.
A piece of the former’s previous life remains. A hulking Corten steel woodfired oven inherited from the old owners is put to work, nicely charring and crisping up wild-rice-stuffed red capsicums and green beans, and caramelising wedges of pumpkin and sweet potato.
There are pizzas – Neapolitan-style with DOP San Marzano tomatoes and fior di latte cheese on 48-hour fermented dough – too. But Petropoulos wants to let the produce shine.
The evolving menu’s not bound by any one cuisine. Instead it’s informed by Petropoulos’s years working abroad. There’s pizza and focaccia, Middle Eastern spices, and roasted root vegetables you’d find on nanna’s table. But it doesn’t feel confused. It’s simple, wholesome home-style cooking that draws from flavours of the world.
And like when visiting friends and family, the food is all laid out on the table; walk in from 11am to find a colourful banquet of just-cooked meats, vegetables, grains and pulses, all served “ambient” (room temperature) or thrown back in the wood oven for a final crisping.