From tiny cafe and florist combos, to the (late but welcome) rise of Japanese cuisine, to the continuation of Adelaide’s pizza predilection, we’ve seen some exciting additions to the food and drink scene this year. Here are our favourites.
This tiny cafe, providore and flower shop sits in a heritage-listed, 1930s building on the corner of Moseley and College streets in Glenelg. Dark woods and rich blues reflect the charm of the past, as does the store's community-minded approach. The shelves are lined with local small-batch products such as rillettes and paté from The Little Acre, long-ferment sourdough from Hearth Bakery, hand-crafted ceramics by Sit Still Lauren and potted plants by Emma Sadie Thompson.
The menu focuses on all-day breakfast dishes and stacked, open rugbrød (Danish rye bread) sandwiches. There are also seasonal salads and soups to eat in-store or to take with you. Two small tables provide seating outside where you can enjoy a full-bodied espresso made with D’Angelo beans or an organic blend from Monday’s.
Fleur and Brew
Gilbert Street’s new cafe-florist is the first venture from sisters-in-law Vanessa Bartholomaeus and Svetlana Grebenshikoff. But they went in guns blazing. The pair designed everything themselves, from graphics and signage, to the farmhouse-style interior fit-out.
The tiny shop stocks mostly Australian natives. There are bunches of proteas, banksias and wattle alongside potted fiddle-leaf figs and succulents. All flowers are sourced in South Australia. Coffee is from Grange-based Sugar Browning, with raw cakes from Just Rawsome and pastries from local producers.
Fine & Fettle
Following whispers of a new Eastern suburbs venture, Sam Worrall-Thompson (Jack Ruby) opened a charcoal-fired cafe in Stepney. The menu is split into two sections – breakfast and salad bowls, which are made to order with seafood and meat (such as bug tails and beef short ribs) grilled over Japanese charcoal. There’s also a “baby bar” section of purees and kid-friendly snacks.
Coffee comes courtesy of Thebarton-based up-and-comer Presstwood, alongside health-conscious juices and smoothies. Interior designer Georgie Shepherd (Fred Eatery, Hither & Yon, St Louis House of Fine Ice Cream and Dessert) has kept things slick and clean, with timber-clad feature walls and overhanging greenery.
Burger joint Boneshaker sits on a 2500-square-metre former hardware store site on Marion Road. It’s inside the new Pumpt complex – an indoor BMX, mountain bike, scooter and skate park – and, appropriately, named after the first pedal-powered bicycle. Chef and co-owner Billy Petropoulos spent seven years working in kitchens overseas – in part with Australian chef Bill Granger – and more recently worked at Karma and Crow.
The menu features American classics such as burgers, hotdogs and Philly cheesesteak alongside fish tacos, burritos and quesadillas – all made with locally sourced produce. As for the drinks, there’s organic sodas from Karma Cola, kombucha, cold-pressed juices and D’Angelo Coffee. Repurposed furniture and native plants make up the industrial fit-out, and there’s a gutted yellow school bus to dine in.
As the name suggests, Tom Roden’s (Exchange Specialty Coffee) newest restaurant and bar is inspired by the Iberian Peninsula. But rather than serve traditional Spanish food we’ve come to know, Iberia offers a modern take on the cuisine (with Portuguese influences too).
Chef Andrew Douglas’s (MoVida, Eau De Vie) menu is broken down into four sections: preserved meat, fish and vegetables; single items; larger plates, and dessert. Most of the dishes are made with ingredients from Roden’s and Douglas’s organic kitchen garden, or local growers. The drinks list balances imported Spanish wines with low-intervention local wines. There is also an inspired cocktail selection. But the focus here is on sherry and vermouth, no longer considered contents of grandma’s liquor cabinet.
When Bin Shen flew to Osaka to learn under ramen master Rikisai Miyajima, it was a dream come true. The culmination of this training is Tuno Izakaya, which opened earlier this year in North Adelaide. At Tuno Izakaya, Shen hand-makes his own noodles each morning. While the ever-popular shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce) and tonkotsu (pork) broths can be found at the restaurant, lesser-known dishes have their moments, too. Other menu highlights include yakitori (charcoal-grilled skewers), dry noodles with an avocado and mushroom dipping sauce, and cold soup noodles.
The drink offerings include Japanese junmai saké (rice wine), umeshu (fruit liquor) and shōchū (distilled wine), plus a small selection of local wines and beer. The space is filled with personal decorative touches, such as the traditional Japanese tableware Shen brought back from Japan and colourful artwork by Jessy Ni, the wife of Shen’s business partner, Hao Su.
Etica: Pizza al Taglio
Origin and animal welfare has always informed Federico and Melissa Pisanelli’s Italian restaurant Etica. For their second venture, they want you to face these things head on – and they’re not playing around. At Etica: Pizza al Taglio, an eight-year-old Friesian x Hereford dairy cow hangs, suspended from the ceiling, by her hind legs. It was specially commissioned from Melbourne Museum taxidermist Dean Smith. The venue has been designed to emulate a slaughterhouse with glass walls, emphasising transparency.
The menu focuses on thick-crust, slow-baked pizza served by the slice. You choose the size, and it’s priced according to weight. There’s also “pizza panini” for on-the-go lunches; pastries from Abbots & Kinney (made specially for Etica using ethical ingredients); and D’Angelo Coffee. A tight beer and wine list is made up of local and Italian small-batch producers.
Where Italy and California meet, Chicco Palms arrived in Adelaide’s western suburbs at the start of the year. The team (who between them run CBD favourites Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, Borsa Pasta Cucina and Chicken and Pig), serves up “Italo-American” classics such as spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, antipasto, mac‘n’cheese, and panini.
MASH Design’s James Brown has remodelled the former fish-and-chip shop into a cool and kitsch suburban restaurant. Vintage photographs hang inside and checkerboard linoleum covers the floor and walls.
There isn’t much restaurateur Simon Kardachi hasn’t done; from burgers and hot dogs, to fine dining and (almost) everything in-between. In May he added Asian cuisine to his repertoire. The ninth instalment in the Kardachi series was spurred on by Adelaide-born chef Adam Liston (The Melting Pot, Magill Estate) who, after a decade working in Melbourne and China, reached out to his former boss. He floated the idea of a next-level option for Asian barbeque.
The $200,000 open kitchen was designed from scratch to allow for a fire-powered menu that draws predominantly on Japanese and Korean influences. There’s a wood oven, hydraulic grill, rotisserie and customised yakitori grill. The kitchen offers all-day service, and there’s a contemporary take on yum cha on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The drinks list is curated by Oliver Margan (Maybe Mae) and Josh Picken (Orana, Magill Estate).
Smallfry Seafood is the local fish-and-chip shop you loved as a kid, scrubbed up a bit. The CBD newcomer feels more like a yakitori bar than a corner takeaway, and it’s serving fresh, simple seafood. A Japanese influence guides the menu and design. There’s Asahi on tap and bottles of mirin, soy and Kewpie mayonnaise behind the bar. A noren (a traditional Japanese door curtain) displays the kenji letters for “seafood”.
The menu is familiar, but owners Jack Lim and Nick Wang have added their own twists and tweaks – such as the karaage chicken burger with pickled-ginger coleslaw; Long Island chowder; NYC Lobster with herb butter; sashimi; and battered or grilled fish served with chips or rice. Sans-Arc’s Matiya Marović has toned down the familiar blue and stainless steel combination of suburban fish-and-chip shops, introducing timber cladding and oyster-shell tiles for a sense of the contemporary. The booth and central tables are fashioned from cool grey-blue cement, speckled with glass fragments.
Hardys Verandah Restaurant
Queensland-born chef Wayne Brown has cooked in Michelin- and triple-hatted kitchens throughout Australia, Europe and Japan, but this year he became an official SA local. He heads up the kitchen at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, which officially opened in February at Mount Lofty House.
Brown’s four- and seven-course omakase (Japanese meaning “leave it to you”) menus are the products of extensive experience in venues such as Quay, Tetsuya’s and Sake in Sydney, and Stokehouse and Urbane in Brisbane. Dishes are cooked on a custom-built charcoal pit fired by bamboo coals, in the style of traditional Japanese barbeque.
The William Bligh
Jarrod Hales adds new rums to his collection as he stumbles across them. The first-time bar owner has 33 different selections – and counting. His recently opened bar on Vardon Avenue is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to William Bligh, a naval officer-come-governor who tried to stop the rum trade in the early-1800s.
Beyond traditional rum-based cocktails, there’s “spiked tea” (rum with lemon-infused gin, lemon myrtle and honeyed-apricot and smoked-hickory bitters) and mulled hot-buttered rum for winter. Of course, there’s also a compact wine list, the bulk of which comes from McLaren Vale winemaker Graham Stevens. Grazing platters come packed with cold cuts, cheese and fruit. But toasties take the lead: there’s an English, Cuban, Mediterranean and vegetarian option, served with dipping sauce and a handful of crisps.
After relocating Rhino Room to Pirie Street earlier this year, Mick Krieg relaunched his two other ventures, Urban Cow Studio and The Howling Owl, in Vaughan Place.
The two-storey venue’s capacity is double that of its Frome Street premises. All 80-plus varieties of gin from the old site have carried over to the new, and the bar is set up for drinks at night and coffee during the day. The menu has also expanded, thanks to a larger, better-equipped kitchen. Urban Cow Studio once again occupies a tenancy next door, with an open archway allowing customers to move freely between the two spaces.
Brendan and Laura Carter, the husband and wife duo behind Unico Zelo, Harvest and Applewood Distillery, got a whole lot busier this year. While managing three labels and the 2017 harvest, they opened their doors to the public, converting a former 1920s cold store into a cellar door and bar. It’s known as Ochre Nation, and acts as a collective home to all their brands.
Visits won’t be the typical cellar-door experience; bookings are essential and guests can expect a guided tour of the winery and facilities. Choose between flights of Unico Zelo wines or Applewood spirits – or knock back a cocktail. For now, food is limited to bar snacks, but the kitchen will soon expand to include platters with a focus on local and native ingredients.
Alex Kleut’s newest venture blends party vibes with fuss-free Mexican food in a small-bar setting. Kleut worked in the same space when it was Sangria Bar. More recently, it was an extension of Mexican Society of Chinatown. It took a four-week refurb but they’ve nailed the disco brief. There’s a brass-topped bar, giant disco ball, neons and a projector beaming movies such as Saturday Night Fever onto the wall. A DJ plays on Friday and Saturday nights.
While Disco Mexico shares a kitchen with Mexican Society, and you’re encouraged to go-between for drinks, their menu stands alone. Mexican-born chef Alejandro Huerta (ex Lucky Lupitas) doles out tacos and volcane ((a fried tortilla, similar to a tostada) stuffed and stacked with crunchy fried chicken, grilled lobster and tempura-battered snow peas. Mexican beers lead the charge and boutique wines come (almost exclusively) from South Australian up-and-comers.