A dose of primary school nostalgia is waiting at Bank Street’s newest lunch option, Recess. “My sister actually came up with the name,” says co-owner Shaun Campbell. “I was looking for something that was a little Australiana, a little bit tongue-in-cheek and a little bit nostalgic – sort of that tuckshop vibe.” The theme extends to the online menu, which has lines reminiscent of an exercise book, and there are plans for orders to come in school-style lunch bags with names written on them. Carlo Jensen from Peculiar Familia is behind the branding.

The hole-in-the-wall spot is a welcome addition to the street. Campbell and co-owner Simon Orders, the founders of Bank Street Social, set their sights on transforming the space – which formerly housed Yiros Kitchen – when they realised the area was lacking a nutritious lunch option. “There are lots of burgers and burritos, and that kind of food … we just thought we’d put the focus on something healthy and fresh,” says Campbell.

The tight menu – designed by former London-based chef Harry Wilson in collaboration with chef consultant Carlos Astudillo – is inspired by the robust, nourishing food of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sydney-turned-Brooklyn chef Hetty McKinnon. Salads are the centrepiece: there’s a Thai larb; orecchiette with greens, provolone and chilli oil; and blackened cauliflower with pomegranate and baba ganoush. An egg-and-bhaji brekkie naan has proven popular already, and there’s also haloumi and pumpkin hummus on focaccia. All of the breads are baked in-house. Fresh juices and coffee (Soho’s Dark Horse blend) round out the menu.

The space is small but thoughtfully designed. The Sans-Arc Studio interior has a mid-century feel; it’s equal parts warm and airy with plenty of white tiles, wood panelling, vintage-style lights and indoor plants. A custom-built La Marzocco espresso machine has pride of place on the front counter.

Everything is served to-go at Recess – though there are a few stools for a pit stop – but you won’t find any takeaway plastics. The team has a keen interest in sustainability: the coffee cups and salad bowls are fully compostable, and all other packaging items are recyclable. HuskeeCups – reusable cups made from the husks of coffee beans – are available over the counter.

Recess
21 Bank Street, Adelaide
Hours:
Mon to Fri 7.30am–3.30pm

recess.express