A few weeks ago whilst back in Adelaide recuperating from wisdom tooth surgery, I was lucky enough to catch up with the Marketing Team from Rundle Street East (the East End precinct of Rundle Street that stretches from Frome Street to East Terrace). Proclaimed to be “Adelaide’s finest fashion, dining and lifestyle experience” and the place to “be and be seen” I wanted to get the low down on all the best eateries, bars and of course shopping, considering it has only really kicked off in the last year.
Now, the Melbourne-esque laneways off the back of Rundle Street are home to the coolest of cafes, restaurants and wine bars. Rundle Street itself has also seen an inject of newcomers with some of the best in coffee, desserts, and international cuisines as well as alfresco dining and of course serious fashion, accessories and home wares. So, guided by their lovely Marketing Team I went on a little tour and shopping expedition, which has resulted is my destination guide to Rundle Street East covering all of my must trys!
Food & Drink
We started at Penny University on Union Lane – a super cute, tiny hole in the wall with a very “New Yorker” style vibe – where hearts have been stolen their all day breakfast menu (Croissant French Toast? Um YES!) and seriously impressive lunch menu considering the small kitchen (the P.U. Burger of pulled pork with corella pear, cabbage and fennel slaw and ponzu miso dressing anyone?). But it’s their glass cabinet display of uber fresh and interesting salad combinations, wraps and rolls, hearty soups and sweet treats of slices and pastries that have people coming back for more.
I arrived at lunchtime to catch up with the Rundle Street East Marketing Exec. and part time fashion blogger Caity J and immediately felt swept up by the character of the place, with creatives tapping at their laptops, sitting perched on stools at a big long communal hard wood table. Caity J had already ordered her Quinoa and Roast Vegetable Salad and Shaved Broccoli and Chilli Salad, which looked delicious, so I swiftly followed her recommendation and settled on the 3 Bean Smash Salad with fetta, slivered almonds and lemon mustard dressing and a Mexican Wrap with spicy chicken meatball, avocado, cos lettuce and tomato on super soft tortilla. The 3 Bean Smash was the perfect combo of soft peas, broadbeans and edamame, crunchy almond and creamy fetta all mixed in a light coating of tangy lemon mustard dressing. The wrap was equally delicious – the meatballs were seriously tasty and the fresh salad balanced the spice perfectly. After we polished off our wonderful lunches it was time to hit Ebenezer Place for a tour of whats what.
Starting at the western end of Ebenezer Place you have Burger Theory, which serves up among the BEST in Adelaide burgers. It used to just be “Pearl the food truck” handing out brioche filled deliciousness to the growing queues but with skyrocketing popularity it has decided to set up permanent residence on Union Street. They also have a monthly rotating burger flavour – get there this month for their Dry (cured) July Burger of dried cured brisket with bay leaves, coriander seeds, black pepper and brown sugar, Vale Drk spicy mustard, horseradish mayo and tangy cabbage.
SAD Café and DAS Hair
Next up you have the seriously alternative-cool SAD Café adjoined to hair salon, barber and boutique DAS Hair (see what they did there??). The salon, which came first is seriously funky and laid back and described as a “no bullshit hairdressing salon” (I stocked up on my beloved EVO Haze Powder that I find a tad difficult to come by in Brisbane), which was followed by their aptly named acronym cafe.
Boho styled and designed to compliment the neighbouring salon you can get the chop and have brunch after AND purchase their interesting and eclectic array of interior decorating items and knick knacks. WIN! Their menu looked delicious and with a promise to deliver food “As fresh as possible, as local as possible and as simple as possible” it’s a destination that can’t be missed. Opt for their Homemade baked beans, free-range eggs and melted cheese on sourdough or the hearty Cinnamon and wattle seed porridge with berries.
Kutchi Deli Parwana
Across the cobblestone from DAS and SAD you have vibrantly coloured Kutchi Deli Parwana (of the incredibly popular Parwana on Henley Beach road) serving up out-of-this-world Afghan street food. Hungry hoards of city workers descend for their dumplings, curries and bolani’s, which are traditional pan-fried turn overs. Warming, filling and ridiculously delicious this place is newly opened and a MUST try.
Neighboring Kutchi Deli Parwana and named after the Tori Amos song is Hey Jupiter. Run by an adorable French couple this café immediately transports you to Paris with its oozing Euro-chic charm and old world interior styling.
With a wall of antique mirrors acting as the specials board and cosy dim lighting hanging from long industrial style glass baubles as well as an Edwardian pastries display cabinet and 70’s style floral wallpaper the venue itself is cute enough to eat!
But it’s the amazing “neighbourhood” style service, fresh juices (their apple, lime and mint was refreshing and delicious) and incredible Pork Belly sandwiches served on the softest of ciabatta baps that keep people coming back for more. Or, if you’re lucky the luscious and rich Berkshire pork jowl with mushroom duxelle, walnuts, frisee and mayo will be the special of the day…the intensely rich butteriness of the mushroom duxelle and juicy, melt-in-your-mouth pork flesh just oozes French indulgence and is balanced by the fresh frisee and crunchy walnuts. C’est magnifique!
East End Providore
Positioned on the end corner of Ebenezer Place, East End Providore is a Rundle Street East favourite. Not only does it serve gourmet produce in their deli style style café (think organic and locally sourced where possible) but their creamy lattes are poured to perfection using local Adelaide Italian style roasters Cirelli coffee. Oh and they’re served with sweet crunchy biscotti – perfect for dipping!
I couldn’t help myself and indulged in an amazing Clean Body Clear Mind “Choccie Milk without Moo” Almond Milk. Talk about a taste sensation! With all natural, organic ingredients of Almonds, Dates, Vanilla Bean, Himalayan Salt, Raw Cacao and Filtered Water this baby is dairy free, gluten free, lactose free and refined sugar free and just seriously WOW. I then undid any good by having this healthy treat by ordering in a house made Salted Caramel Brownie, which was topped with sticky, tacky caramel and huge chunks of rock salt. This bad boy certainly did justice to the classic combo and was a seriously good brownie with crunchy-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside richness.
Exchange Specialty Coffee
Last on the laneways tour was Exchange Specialty Coffee on Vardon Avenue, where I was informed the owner is a freak of nature (of the best possible kind) when it comes to his coffee knowledge. A perfect destination for a coffee snob such as myself! Serving Melbourne roasted Market Lane espresso as well as a regularly rotating bean, Aeropress filter coffee (and tea) this place will satisfy even the most discerning of coffee aficionados. I didn’t get a chance to sample their deliciousness but I certainly can’t wait for my next visit to try them out.
Steven ter Horst
After bidding farewell to Caity J and thanking her for my Ebenezer Place/Vardon Avenue tour, I continued to explore on my own. And boy did I hit the jackpot of discoveries. Steven ter Horst is a gem of a chocolatier and desserts bar positioned on Rundle Street itself and after only stumbling across it, I already know I will need to go back again…and again. Here you will find everything for either your quick chocolate fix, a special gift or for your post main meal dessert. Owned and run by Steven himself and partner and Pastry Chef, Chantelle Giardina my advice is to pretty much go for salted caramel anything (their salted caramel chocolates are to diiie for and they sell their salted caramel sauce by the jar…of which I recommend stocking up on several…) or opt for a picture perfect gâteau individuelle (I say that because the look exactly like the gorgeous petite cakes and pastries of Angelina’s in Paris). I can definitely recommend their Raspberry Blush, which was so fluffy and light it was like eating a raspberry flavoured cloud, filled with an intensely creamy, slightly coconut-y lychee centre sitting on a crisp, nutty sponge base. And if you’re there in winter their Hot Chilli Chocolate is sure to warm you with their slight punch of chilli mixed through decadent melted chocolaty goodness.
As an SA born brand, Cocolat has a few locations around the place but Rundle Street East has the allure for a post-meal dessert or post-shopping reward. With individual cakes, tarts, brownies and muffins, crepes, waffles, truffles and pralines as well as gelato and sorbet and hot chocolate there isn’t a thing these guys don’t do nor a thing you won’t want to try. Personal favourites include the Banana and Nutella Crepes (I indulged in these as a celebration after finishing my University studies) and their Dark Hot Chilli Chocolate that hits the back of the throat and is the perfect winter warming option.
Having only opened its doors a few months ago, Restaurant Orana has already generated HUGE hype. With the menu led by Australian native flavours and ingredients like saltbush, bunya nut, myrtle, Lilly Pilly and Quandong you know it’s going to be interesting. With a set price for both food only and with matched wines it’s degustation style meaning you can settle in for what is guaranteed to be a serious food journey.
Alternatively, if you can’t get a booking or it’s a bit too exxy then head downstairs to Restaurant Orana’s casual-quirky-cool bar and eatery STREET ADL and order yourself a Pulled Kangaroo Sanga or Wood Fired Coorong Mullet with tartare.
Looking for more?
Rundle Street East also recommend Felici Espresso Bar for their coffee and middle eastern style menu, popular Eros Kafe for a different and Greek-style take on breakfast and neighbouring Eros Ouzeri for a business luncheon as well as Lemongrass Thai Bistro, Chopstix on Rundle and EST Pizzeria (a favourite for perfect wood fired pizzas) for dinner. For dessert they suggest the Chocolate Bean (a seriously decadent destination) and for drinks East End Cellars, Belgian Beer Café and The Stag Hotel are there to cater to all tastes whether you’re after fine South Australian wine, beer from around the world and deliciously dangerous cocktails.
Council of Objects
This is one of Rundle Street East’s recommedations for the best home wares and gifts. Council of Objects, managed and owned by Adelaide local Elise Short, started out as an online store and opened its retail space in 2011. A stunning sleek and minimal shopfront and interior with unique gifts of terrariums, books, ceramics, hand made cards and eclectic jewellery it’s like stepping into a magazine and is perfect for both browsing and picking up something bespoke.
Miss Gladys Sym Choon
Every time I find myself back in the Adelaide CBD I can’t go past popping into Miss Gladys Sym Choon to admire what is a Rundle Street icon (if not an Adelaide icon!) and home to the most incredible fashions and footwear. I couldn’t help but try on a breathtaking black feather jacket piece that shone emerald and violet in the right light. This store is a one-stop shop for a local designer piece, special occasion-ware or just to delight the eyes!
Street wear boutique Naked is guaranteed to have your next party frock or bargain find. Stocking local and international labels at affordable prices there is always something on sale and I couldn’t help picking up a gorgeous black Lioness top at a steal price of only $25! A cross between a winter style tee and sweater it has beautiful lace embroidered sleeves and is the perfect trans-seasonal piece for Brisbane’s cooler months.
If you’re a lover of Italian leather shoes then Cherri Bellini is the shop for you. With a whole wall dedicated to beautiful footwear and one for statement jewellery it can be a trap once you’re in the door. I certainly stocked up and purchased two pairs of stunning tussle earrings and two incredible statement necklaces (the black and steel grey one has already received compliments!).
Looking for more?
Either get your high street fashion fix at stores like Marcs, Metalicus, SABA and Dangerfield or if Aussie designer labels are your preference there’s Gorman, Sass & Bide, Alannah Hill (in all it’s powder pink plush glory) and Zimmerman. Sooki is also a great local boutique stocking all your Aussie labels and is sure to have that next outfit sitting pretty in their perfectly arranged store. For a beautiful piece of hipster jewellery, leather creation or a gift for a friend Bauhaus is a shop you could loose yourself in. BIMBO is equally as mesmerising and is an Aladdin’s cave of all-sorts where you’ll find interior lighting, novelty gifts, accessories and furnishings. For something more special, Studio Eco in Ebenezer Place is an incredible eco/ethical jewellery design workshop and seller of sustainably sourced products, hand made in Australia and is the place to pick up a gem of a find or have something bespoke made. Finally, you can’t go past Mimco!
The Final Tip
Lastly, I asked Rundle Street East the most important question for potential interstate visitors…when is the best time of year to come visit? “It has got to be around February and March during the Fringe Festival, the East End just comes alive!”.
Have you visited Adelaide recently? Did you head to Rundle Street East? I’d love to here your top tips!