Greenhill Road is a strange place for a cafe – especially one that’s mostly courtyard. With so few intersections nearby, the traffic flashes past, creating a persistent roar.
Still, it’s hard to doubt Josh Baker’s instincts. He’s the man behind Coffee Branch, Larry & Ladd (both since sold) and Pink Moon Saloon. He also brought Clever Little Tailor to Peel Street when the strip had nothing else going for it.
Whistle & Flute gives him that same feeling of potential. “I want to see this place full with different types of businesses – retail and hospitality, not just commercial,” he says.
Three others are making the same bet: Edinburgh Hotel and Cellars’ Jamie Botten; accountant and childhood friend Lee Kelly; and chef Stewart Wesson (ex-Flinders Street Project).
The trio enlisted the design talents of Sans-Arc Studio’s Matiya Marovich (Pink Moon Saloon, Gondola Gondola, NOLA, BRKLYN) to create the venue’s alfresco setting with a mix of suspended timber beams and lots of naked concrete.
On paper, Wesson’s menu isn’t thrilling. But if you ever ate at Flinders Street Project, you’ll know he has a knack for over-delivering. Even the avocado on toast is jazzed up with radicchio, charred Turkish bread and dukkah.
Elsewhere there’s maple-roasted granola with lemon curd and mascarpone; peanut-butter parfait; ricotta and herb gnocchi; and a steak sandwich.
“We could have created another Coffee Branch where it was just a grab-and-go scenario,” Baker says. “But when we realised what the footprint was – 120 square metres – we thought, ‘Why don’t we put a full kitchen in there? Why don’t we go for a licence? Let’s see what we can make it.’”
Said licence allows Whistle & Flute to transition to a small bar at night, without having to serve food. The menu cheekily offers a range of “depressants”, including Deliquente vermentino; Ochota Barrels pinot noir; and bottles of Pirate Life pale ale. “Stimulants” include Five Senses coffee and juices by Besa.
Whether you’re in the mood for uppers or downers, the front courtyard will likely lift your spirits. Ferns and other greenery spill from every surface that’s not a table or chair, and upbeat hip-hop almost drowns out those passing cars.
Whistle & Flute
136 Greenhill Road, Unley
Mon to Fri 7am–9pm
Sat & Sun 8am–11pm