In Broadsheet’s coverage of this year’s cafe openings, “avocado” wasn’t mentioned anywhere near as much as in previous years. And that’s a good thing. Operators are straying from the cookie-cutter-cafe formula.
In 2018 we gained a sustainably focused spot doing great things with kangaroo; a seaside cafe where South American and Mediterranean flavours collide; and a daytime diner that feels more like a winery. But that isn’t even the half of it.
What was previously market space at Plant 4, Bowden is now Jessie Spiby’s first bricks-and-mortar venture, My Grandma Ben. The sustainably focused cafe also centralises the former Masterchef contestant’s workshops, masterclasses and catering. Jodie Zerna (ex-New Local Eatery) heads the kitchen, turning out an ever-changing line-up of pies, cakes, toasties and larger dishes such as the signature roo bolognaise. Small share plates and a wine list curated by Yetti and the Kokonut winemaker Koen Janssens dominate after dark.
Clement Labaere (ex-Cliché) thinks a family business belongs in a market – alongside the fruiterers, smallgoods makers and dairy families. Good thing, too. He and his wife, Rosie, opened Maison Clement in Central Market Arcade in September. “The idea of this place is family cooking. I make croque monsieur like my grandma used to make it,” Labaere says. Dishes like this – plus raclette and baguettes – sit adjacent to breakfast staples including eggs and homemade granola on the tight menu. The real action happens at the display counter, where Labaere’s talent as a pastry chef is centre stage. Expect French gateaux, tarts and croissants.
When Whistle & Flute’s door first slid open in early 2016, the team “tried to create a cafe, a restaurant, a bar, a takeaway place – and that just doesn’t work,” says co-owner Josh Baker (Clever Little Tailor, Pink Moon Saloon, Port Admiral Hotel). Now, that “takeaway place” is all its own. The aptly named Just Down The Road is less than a minute’s walk from its sibling cafe. The sun-sprayed glasshouse on Greenhill Road is a “new-age deli” serving made-to-order sandwiches with big, punchy flavours, and portion sizes to match. Try the egg and mortadella with Swiss cheese and aioli, or a stack of Italian deli meats such as mortadella and salami with artichoke, olives, provolone and spicy tomato sugo.
Golden Gaytime fried ice-cream, lemon-meringue pie and a vegan chocolate forest. They’re the sorts of flavours you’ll find at dessert king Quang Nguyen’s newest venture – his first in the CBD. It follows Devour Cafe Patisserie (originally in Prospect before relocating to Richmond) and Third Time Lucky in Lockleys. Shibui plays the hits, offering a tight edit of Nguyen’s signature dishes, plus a B side – an unpredictable “mystery dish”. Pair them with a coffee from Canberra’s best roaster Ona, or a matcha latte.
Coffee is at the heart of Henley Beach’s Acacia: the ultra-sleek Sans-Arc Studio design was literally built around a La Marzocco Mod Bar espresso machine – the first in South Australia. Kangarilla roaster Dawn Patrol Coffee provides the beans. The menu weaves together South American and Mediterranean influences. Find patatas bravas with black beans and chorizo, and blue swimmer crab scramble with finger lime and bonito flakes for breakfast. Lunch and (Friday and Saturday night) dinner are suitably seafood-heavy. Think scallop ceviche, tuna carpaccio and grilled octopus.
This light and bright coffee shop on Gilles Street has an “everything-was-made-by-us vibe”, says owner Caitlin Duff. She and husband Nathaniel Morse lead the charge, but it’s a family affair. True to its name, Caitlin’s siblings are part of the furniture: fashion designer Anny runs the next-door retail shop Ensemble, and photographer Sia works out the back. Monday’s-roasted coffee courses through a whirring La Marzocco machine, and chef Aaron Caporn turns out a tight, simple selection of bagels, toasties and larger plant-based dishes.
On a strip better known for its snack bars and roast-chicken and kebab shops, this fresh-faced Findon cafe stands out. New Zealand-born owners Sam Ferguson and Nadia Carrington moved to Adelaide after a stint in Melbourne and brought a little minimalism to the neighbourhood. Go for the bagels (from The Beigelry) stuffed with barbeque bacon, house-made pastrami or Harris Smokehouse salmon from Hahndorf, plus an evolving line-up of larger dishes. Sourdough and some seriously good-looking pies are made in-house.
With an inimitable Victoria Parklands outlook, this southern-Italian daytime diner feels more like a winery than a cafe or restaurant. Pizza is the drawcard. But, “we’re not doing Napoletana-style like a lot of others,” says owner Massimo Piscioneri. His woodfired hybrid combines the Neapolitan and Roman styles – it’s ultra-thin, crisp and holds firm under the toppings. Save room for the panzerotto (a deep-fried calzone). It’s not all dough and deep-frying, though: Italian ingredients (such as pork-and-fennel sausage, cannellini beans and ricotta) reign supreme at breakfast time. Porchetta spit-fired over charcoal is a house specialty.
From the cement countertops – hand-poured by owner Kostas Trakas’s father and father-in-law – to the cakes his mum bakes, Caffiend’s CBD venue extends the Hills’ hospitality of its sister store. “We basically try and make our customers feel like they’re part of the family,” says Trakas. The menu assembles brunch classics (with “a touch of whimsy”) and pairs them with simpler grab-and-go options for time-poor city workers and students. You might find fried chicken with bacon and waffles, or almond pancakes with granola, honey joys and vanilla-bean ice-cream. Plus the requisite smashed avo on house-made sourdough.
Behind Sucre Patisserie’s humble shopfront on Magill Road is almost two decades of experience. Owner Keva Freeman’s nearly 20-year career has spanned much of Australia and Europe. Now, the Adelaide-born patissier has found a home – at home. Her in-and-out patisserie is reminiscent of those she visited while living in Paris. Eclairs are Freeman’s thing – she pumps traditional choux pastry with a kaleidoscope of sometimes less traditional fillings. There’s also award-wining baked lemon tarts, macarons, cakes and cookies. If it’s in the cabinet, it was baked that day.