From sleek, pint-sized coffee shops and left-of-centre brunches, to ambitious, award-winning additions to the city’s Asian foodscape and a wine-centric basement beneath Rundle Street, we’ve seen a clutch of impressive openings this year. Here are our favourites.
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; chef Rady built the menu; and photographer Sia uses the co-working space out the back. Monday’s-roasted coffee passes through a whirring La Marzocco machine. The kitchen turns out a simple menu: vegan and breakfast bagels, a pulled-pork baguette, a cheese-and-kimchi toastie and seasonal soups.
Coffee is at the heart of Henley Beach’s Acacia: the ultra-sleek Sans-Arc Studio design was literally built around a La Marzocco ModBar espresso machine – the first in South Australia. Kangarilla roaster Dawn Patrol Coffee provides the beans. The menu ties together South American and Mediterranean influences; Colombian-born co-owner Juan Londono creates flavour profiles indicative of coastal botanicals, citrus, coriander and paprika. Breakfast includes patatas bravas with black beans and chorizo; and a breakfast bun with poached egg, crispy bacon and crumbed fried tomato. Lunch and (Friday and Saturday night) dinner are suitably seafood-heavy, given the cafe’s location.
On a strip better known for its snack bars and roast-chicken and kebab shops, this fresh-faced Findon cafe (in a former sushi shop) stands out. New Zealand-born owners Sam Ferguson and Nadia Carrington – who moved to Adelaide via Melbourne – have 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. 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.
You’ll be struck by the timeworn charm of this pan-Asian, hawker-inspired food hall before you even take your seat. It opened on Prospect Road on the cusp of 2018, encompassing the next-door Southeast Asian-inspired Sunny’s Shop, which services the daytime crowd. Rosemont Hall opens its doors at 5pm. The dinner menu is half Southeast Asian (from Sunny’s) and half “freshened-up” Cantonese (from stall Mr Chan) that’s nostalgic of your suburban Chinese takeaway. If that’s not enough to tempt you here’s three more words: cheeseburger spring rolls. Produce is handpicked daily, allowing for regular off-menu specials.
Earlier this month celebrated chef Tom Tilbury relocated his formerly Robe-based fine diner Gather Food and Wine to idyllic McLaren Vale winery Coriole. It’s a homecoming for Tilbury, who grew up in the southern wine region. In place of the tasting menu presented in Robe, Gather at Coriole’s direction is more towards grazing-style share plates. Leaning on the winery’s kitchen garden, Tilbury’s serving hyperlocal, season-driven dishes such as wood-grilled squid with cauliflower, ice plant, karkalla and lardo; beef cheek with blackened pumpkin, pumpkin-seed paste and cracker in beef jus; and ricotta gnocchi with Adelaide Hills mushrooms, mallow and parmesan.
From the minds behind Gin Long Canteen, Concubine, and MYTH, Bai Long Store is an ambitious modern-Asian restaurant with some design cred. Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes are served from morning to night. The dinner menu is split in two: vegetarian and not. Order the eggplant with Guinness batter and Sichuan caramel, times two. There are six teas sourced exclusively by Master Foo (a traditional Taiwanese tea master). The “store” sells Bai Long-branded tea, dry noodles, granola and more.
Japan’s love affair with batter-coated, deep-fried vegetables and seafood birthed tempura-ya – restaurants that specialise in tempura. Akimitsu is one of the country’s best-known chains and last month its first Australian outpost landed on Hindley Street. What makes Akimitsu special is its Japanese-imported sauces, and tempura flour, says owner of the Adelaide outpost Desmond Wong. “It’s a secret recipe and crispier than others.” Choose from tempura or tendon (tempura served on a bed of rice). There are also a few noodle dishes, rice bowls, yakitori and karaage. Umeshu (plum wine) and a range of sakes are on offer, too.
This bright and breezy Melt outpost – the brand’s third – has been making waves at Henley Beach since it threw open its doors over summer. It’s the quintessential beachfront venue, with a Studio –Gram fit-out that brings the outdoors inside. An extensive menu of tried-and-tested Melt classics (pizza and small plates) is supplemented by a breakfast offering (on weekends) and a handful of new seafood options. A takeaway window pumps out pizza, coffee and Sicilian gelato to-go.
Underneath Melt, SeaSalt is a nod to the retro fish and chippers of the ’70s. But that’s underselling it. Here, your classic fish’n’chips is Asahi-tempura-battered Coorong mulloway with crunchy house-made Daisy potato chips, skin on. A strong Japanese influence ensures seafood is clean and punchy. You’ll also find blue-swimmer-crab spring rolls; fish fingers with cured egg and soy; savoury doughnuts and cocktails. Your local fish-and-chip shop, this is not.
“Wine bar” often equals “pretence”. Not here. Booze distributor Mark Reginato and winemaker Louis Schofield bring a collective 20 years in hospitality to this neon-pink-lit heritage Rundle Street basement. It’s the ultimate wine cellar. Reginato wagers their dirt-cheap $8-a-glass cleanskins are “better than almost any other house wines in the country”. There are 20 wines by the glass, more than 200 listed local and international drops (they’re not limiting themselves to “SA-only”) and a good haul of fortifieds. The bar menu doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it punches well above its weight. Try the burrata.
In March the seven-month-old Etica: Pizza al Taglio was flipped on its head to become Bar Etica – a sophisticated spuntino (or “snack”) bar serving smart, modern-Italian plates ... and pizza. Pizza al Taglio served cut-to-order, Roman-style pies that were priced by weight. Now, they’re made to order. The evolving menu might feature burrata with persimmon and lime; whitebait with wasabi and saltbush; or Smoky Bay oysters with wakame and lemon. Larger plates include ossobuco with mashed potato and cannelloni with pork cheek and red wine. The bar abides by the same philosophies sister site Etica has built its name on: animal welfare and ethically-sourced ingredients. Try both in one night: the "A1 Dinner" begins with snacks at Bar Etica before a walk to Etica for the main event.
This isn’t a new opening, we know. But Burger Theory’s complete menu overhaul warrants a mention. Making the switch to roo-based patties slightly upset the applecart, but the result – a more sustainable burger that relies less on farmed beef – is ultimately a good one. The new “smashed” patty is served well done; caramelisation trumps juiciness. And it tastes damn good.