In the almost decade Exchange has operated, the longest stretch it’s been closed is three weeks (for its last expansion in 2016). That is, until the Vardon Avenue coffee spot shut up shop in April for a significant reno and extension. After nine weeks off the floor, owner Tom Roden is itching to get back to work.
“As a team we’re so antsy to get going. We’re champing at the proverbial bit,” he tells Broadsheet when we stop by a few days out from opening. “Our neighbours are predominantly night-time traders and we usually bring the life here during the day. So it’s been an odd, quiet vibe on the street while we’ve been closed and we can’t wait to get back to it.”
The beloved coffee shop reopened on Tuesday after expanding into the site next door – which was recently vacated by Vardon Avenue icon Frank’s Gents Hairdresser – and the street is humming again. When Broadsheet’s photographer stops by, Roden is greeting each customer at the door, welcoming back the community he’s helped to build since Exchange opened in 2013.
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The extension effectively stretches out the previous layout over another site. But the interior has also freshened up, with a lighter, brighter new look by Hosking Interior Design.
“We wanted a total aesthetic lift,” says Roden. “I grew tired of the old interior, which was predominantly dark – blacks and charcoals, dark-stained timber, dark tiles. The old space was pretty poorly lit as well, despite the abundance of windows … so my brief to the designers was to bring light back into the space – neutral palette, light timbers … and I think they’ve nailed it.”
Among the changes is a “larger and much more capable” curved counter for coffee and drinks service, plastered with white mosaic tiles from Spain, as well as a bigger and better kitchen that’s paved the way for 12 new menu items alongside staples like the Wallace sandwich.
For breakfast, there’s a chive waffle with beetroot-cured salmon, poached eggs and whipped ricotta; baked eggs with red lentil dal, tomato salsa, mint yoghurt and pappadums; and hotcakes with southern fried chicken, greens and jalapeno hollandaise. Or, for a sweeter start, ricotta doughnuts with saffron-poached pears, whipped vanilla yoghurt and honey syrup.
Lunch includes fresh tagliatelle with green prawns, cherry tomato and fermented chilli butter; lamb shoulder with za'atar, freekeh and sumac labneh; and a new rotating sandwich option – what Roden calls “the Wallace’s foil” – starting with a focaccia filled with mortadella, stracciatella, green olive tapenade, tomato and basil. Plus, a menu of sides and extras to really pad out your meal.
As for the coffee, there’s the same espresso and batch-brew options regulars return for day after day, except the long-loved Aeropress has been swapped out for a new filter device – Tricolate – which is said to achieve a higher extraction and results in a greater balance, sweetness and clarity. “It produces a beautiful result,” says Roden.
12-18 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide
0415 966 225
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm