I don’t travel interstate often, so I was quite excited when I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Adelaide for a friend’s wedding (which in itself was exciting enough), to also check out the Adelaide food scene which I had heard so much about over the years. And although we really only have one full day to explore the city (i.e. three meals worth) we made sure we made the most of it!
Due to lack of money and leave, we’d packed in a tight schedule, catching the first (6:50am!) flight in the morning and arriving in Adelaide when it was still breakfast time. With stomachs grumbling and eyes struggling to stay open, we were overdue for a coffee and a bite and wasted no time in finding anywhere in particular to eat and headed across the road to the closest cafe Google Maps could find us.
And this was how we ended up in Fairweather, a small cafe hidden in the back graffiti lined alleyways of Adelaide’s CBD. Its location and minimalistic interior has a very Melbourne-esque feel, but its menu is somewhat less hipster and exactly what we’re looking for that morning.
Iced coffees are much more of a summer thing for me, but the idea of having a scoop of ice cream in my coffee was just too much to resist and I didn’t not regret my choice at all, despite leaving me chillier than I was already.
The menu is simple, and consists of your typical cafe favourites, including plenty of vegan and vegetarian friendly offerings. The shakshuka seems like the perfect option, the promise of warm hearty tomato and eggs more enticing than ever on this cold morning. Served in a cute pot alongside crusty, house made Turkish bread and cumin-spiced labneh, Fairweather’s version of this dish is a winner.
I”m not usually one to go for something as simple as mushrooms on toast, but their spruced up take on this dish is hard to say no to. The mushrooms, which are fresh and tasty enough to serve as a dish on its own, are served atop a thick slice of sourdough toast spread with very moreish tarragon butter. Topped with a perfectly poached egg and handful of snow pea sprouts, a drizzle of creme fraiche brings the elements together to make for a much more exciting dish than it may sound.
Babmi & Co
We’re extremely tempted to head back to Fairweather for breakfast the next morning, but our morning bike ride (on our free rental bikes) takes us to the other end of the Adelaide CBD, which to be fair is not all that far away but we thought we’d take the opportunity to try something different. We’re in a bit of a bacon and eggs sort of mood so we shy away from the many vegan/vegetarian cafes and end up at Bambi & Co.
I’m a sucker for all things matcha so I go for the matcha latte, which, interestingly enough is suggested to be served with coconut milk on the menu. Not a huge fan of coconut milk as a drink, I opt to have it with regular milk and find that it’s quite different in taste from the matcha lattes I get from Asian cafes, although still enjoyable.
Our bacon and eggs cravings are satisfied with our order of the big breakfast, complete with your usual suspects- tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and Turkish bread, made extra photogenic with a sprinkle of snow pea sprouts on a blue patterned plate. The only thing it’s missing is a bit of avocado, although that’s quickly forgotten when we dig in.
Zucchini and corn fritters serve as the base for a smoked salmon Benedict, an interesting combination which works a charm. I’m not usually much of a fan of Hollandaise sauce but this one is rich and creamy, and so moreish I find myself mopping up every last drop as it works well to bring together textures of the the soft poached eggs, the delicate fritters and the bursts of sweet juicy corn kernels.
The Original Pancake Kitchen
We hadn’t planned to make a dessert stop, however we couldn’t help but notice the the smell of pancakes and maple syrup lingering in the air as we were cycling and naturally drifted to where these pancakes were coming from. The Original Pancake Kitchen is pretty much the equivalent of Sydney’s Pancakes on the Rocks and Melbourne’s Pancake Parlour, and equally as popular, with a large group of tourists hanging outside as we entered.
The menu is not too different to Pancakes on the Rocks, the main difference is in the pricing which is considerably cheaper than Sydney, with most options setting you back only around the $12-13 mark. Whilst we would have loved to try the breakfast option which looked incredibly satisfying, we were limited on stomach space so we settled for a dessert option with the Jubilee pancakes instead.
With two chocolate pancakes, strawberries and vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce, it’s the perfect size for sharing. The pancakes are thick, yet light enough to have substance, and the balance of the strawberries and chocolate sauce was perfect, so it wasn’t too rich. It certainly didn’t need it, but we couldn’t help but to pour a little of the maple syrup onto the pancakes to try (they sell bottles of it too!) and were surprised that it actually worked quite well with the strawberry chocolate combo.
We find ourselves strolling around Chinatown for dinner, and feeling like Japanese but unfortunately the first restaurant we picked had been completely booked out til late (because it was Saturday night) and so we found Gyoza Gyoza, a cute little Japanese Izakaya style bar. And even better, after flicking through the menu, we realised that everything was priced at $6.80!
We get straight into it, starting with an iced matcha. Unlike the matcha latte I had in the morning, this one is done Japanese style, made on soy milk and sweetened. The topping of matcha soft serve is super creamy and smooth, and reminds me of my favourite matcha soft serve from Chanoma in Sydney. It’s really more of a dessert than a drink, but I’m enjoying this too much to care- we’re off to a good start!
We couldn’t visit a Gyoza bar without ordering gyoza so we ordered two serves of the pork gyozas which also happened to be on special when we visited. Although a little dainty in size, they did not disappoint at all with their fresh and tender meat filling and crispy golden bottoms.
The Grilled Scallops offering here is covered in a creamy cheese sauce, and grilled in it’s shell to a light char, imparting a slight smokiness to the sweet taste of the scallop. A touch of tobiko (flying fish roe)adds saltiness and a bit of crunch to complete the dish. We were particularly impressed withthe freshness and the size, an absolute steal at this price point.
There’s not shortage of seafood options on the menu, and the oysters are also incredible value, with 3 in a serve. It comes with light ponzu sauce dressing, although I think I prefer it without as the saltiness of the ponzu is a little overpowering for me.
Although the value mostly lies in the seafood or the more substantial sized items on the menu, we can’t go past the Nasu Dengaku i.e. grilled eggplant, although this version is deep fried with a very light tempura like batter. The thick slab of eggplant, basted with caramelised miso paste is almost steak-like in appearance, although much easier to cut through, the eggplant being soft and creamy from having been cooked in oil.
It’s not everyday we see truffle on a Japanese food menu, so we try the Yakitori with truffle salt,two sticks of grilled chicken skewers. Being a salt based yakitori, it’s not covered in a sticky soy sauce, but it’s not dry either, the meat being deliciously tender. It’s seasoned well, with just enough salt to give it enough flavour, but sadly we couldn’t really taste the truffle.
There’s veggie options too, with two spreads full of salad options, as well as another two featuring cooked veggies with anything from tempura vegetables to a plate of fresh broccoli (I wouldn’t imagine that option to be too popular….). We weren’t disappointed by our choice of Salmon Tataki Salad, which came with a few slices of seared salmon on top a bed of mixed greens,although we thought it could have done with a bit some dressing, in addition to the squiggle of mayo on top.
The tuna tataki is where the disclaimer on the menu ‘picture used for reference only’ applies, as we were disappointed to find what we had expected to be thick, plump cubes of perfectly seared tuna pieces (as shown on the menu) turn out to quite different to what we had envisaged.
Our choice of carbs for the night was the Crabmeat slider, which seemed a little more exciting and better value than the rice option, for the same price. Served on a soft, lightly toasted brioche bun, the combination of sweet crabmeat, shallots and crunchy lettuce did not disappoint at all and we would have definitely ordered another serve if we weren’t as full as we already were!
I had no problem choosing dessert after spying the bright yellow sign for Dessert Story, an Asian dessert bar which I had discovered in Melbourne. Offering an extensive menu with Taiwanese and Hong Kong style desserts, it’s reminiscent of the many dessert stores I visit in Hong Kong, their bright yellow bowls not unlike those used in the Honeymoon Dessert chain.
Every dessert is available in a variety of flavours, the fruity options such as the shaved ice available in almost every fruit flavour you can think of. The mango shaved ice is a bit of sad, flat hill rather than the impressive mountainous mass that we had tried in their Melbourne chain but all is forgiven once we dig in, as the meltingly soft fluffy ice cream flakes immediately takes transports us back to Taiwan, the home of this delicious dessert.
Continuing with the mango theme, this Mango Pomelo Sago Dessert with matcha ice cream is more coconutty than mango making it more of a rich dessert, but the combination to the sweet and tangy is always a winner.
The eating really should have ended with dessert, but in our efforts to try as much food in the little time we had in Adelaide, we thought we’d try out Nordburger, a funky burger bar which seemed particularly out of place smack bam in the middle of Chinatown. From the menu of burgers, fried chicken, chips and even milkshakes, we tried the Nordburger- a simple hamburger consisting of the standard ground beef patty, pickles, tomato, and lettuce. It’s a delicious late night snack and we love that they’ve elected to put a complete lettuce leaf in, which acts well to prevent the juices from making the burger soggy.
We’re absolutely stuffed by this point so it was our last meal in Adelaide, but even as we walked back to our hotel, had to make a list of a number of places which we still wanted to try. We’ll most certainly be back again Adelaide!