For all the lauded entertainment of the Festival Season, which stuffs the city full like a plump Terducken (that’s turkey, stuffed with duck and chicken for those unfamiliar), it’s also a time when every restaurant makes a grab for attention, attempting to turn the swell of foot traffic into the sort of Summer romance that only Grease once delivered.
But much like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, inevitably people end up going their familiar haunts or paying $15 for food-stall fare that promises the world and a set of steak knives, yet delivers what is ultimately glorified fast food. There’s voodoo magic at play when you can convince yourself that a $5 bucket of chips is a good investment.
Then the Glam crew got thinking – what would an Adelaide Fringe of food look like? What venues would we pick? What would be on the menu? What is the food equivalent of a Dave Hughes comedy show and would anyone actually want to put that in their mouth?
So, one of our writer’s decided to sort the bland from the mouth-watering and has given you reference points to find your way around a line up of food that deserve to accompany the wonders of the Adelaide Fringe. We expect you’ll find this list so satisfying, you’ll see it as an official part of the Fringe program next year.
Near The Garden
Africola – Open 6pm til Late (Tue – Sat)
4 East Terrace // 8223 3885
Africola’s whole roasted cow’s head ($70 for two people) has the same sort of shock value I got last year when Dave Callan’s left testicle popped out of his leotard as he danced around a metre from my face to Sia’s Chandelier. The three dishes it becomes – chargrilled cheeks, roast tongue and a delicate curry of palate, under cheek and brain is without question one of the most incredible dishes available in this city. If there were a book entitled ‘100 Meals To Try Before You Die’, this would be a top ten feature. The remainder of their menu is protein heavy, with the same multicultural melting pot of influence that South Africa itself is famous for. Oh sorry, you thought this dining guide was going to tell you where to get a nice Bolognese? Moving on…
Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar – Open 5.30pm til 11pm (Mon – Sat)
94 Frome Street // 8224 0004
Fresh handmade gnocchi and egg pasta alongside silky polenta provide the cornerstone of one of Adelaide’s finest Italian eateries. I would swim in their squid ink cavatelli (pasta shaped to resemble miniature hot dog buns), with calamari, lemon, vongole and prawn bisque until I drowned of exhaustion and carbs. What a way to go.
Golden Boy – Open to 10.30pm (Tue – Sat)
309 North Terrace // 8227 0799
At Golden Boy, if you say ‘Tuk Tuk’ to their wait staff, they’ll take over ordering for you. Start to loosen your belt buckles and bra straps from then on, because the Jellyfish with Pulled Pork, Salmon Belly Curry and ‘Crying Tiger’ Chargrilled Sirlion with Jim Jeow (a sauce made of digestive juices) are as seductive as Ryan Gosling with his shirt off, kissing his own reflection.
Little Miss Dive Shop & Crab Shack – Open 4pm til late (Wed – Sat)
74 Frome Street // 8232 6900
Right now, Adelaide seems to love burgers much in the same way my friend’s 2 year old likes to drink from the dog bowl – without guilt and with complete unbridled joy for the flavour. Specialty burgers are everywhere, and the Little Miss Dive Shop & Crab Shack serves a Panko Crumbed Mushroom and Chilli Slaw number that belongs in and around your sense organs (that’s not gross, Google that phrase and get your mind out of the gutter).
STREET ADL – Open 7 Days, 11am to 1am
285 Rundle Street // 8227 0344
If this was Jeopardy, the Black Face Suffolk Lamb smoked over Eucalyptus at STREET ADL would be the answer to the question “What is the equivalent of three-quarters of an orgasm?” Head Chef Jock Zonfrillo has teased a new project called Restaurant Blackwood (read more here) recently, but this venue remains a showcase of his, je ne sais quoi.
Near The Royal Croquet Club
Coal Cellar & Grill – Open 7 Days, dinner from 6pm.
233 Victoria Square (inside the Hilton Hotel) // 8237 0697
If getting a slab of protein and putting it on a grill was a simple recipe for success, then Bogan Masterchef would be a thing. Which it’s not, because combining meat and flames is best left to professionals. I know Coal suggest that their Caab Tomahawk Steak is for two people, but all I read into that is a challenge. Everything here is as meat should be.
Electra House – Open 11am to 1am (Mon – Sat)
135-139 King William Street // 7231 4055
Electra House are quite literally on the eve of launching a new restaurant, Level One (read more here). Chef Sato Kikuchi has teased a menu that incorporates European techniques with his Japanese heritage. Options are rumoured to include grilled flat iron (that’s steak), bone marrow and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) mustard. I’d have something smart to say here, but I’m angling for an invite, so… call me maybe?
George’s On Waymouth – Serving Dinner from 6-10pm (Tue-Sat)
20 Waymouth Street // 8211 6960
You know what, when you’ve already dropped money on show tickets, a baby sitter, parking and drinks, you begin to hear the voice of a soul sister from deep within your mind snapping her fingers and sassing “Uh-huh, you TREAT yo-self good now.” Lamb press, pancetta, mustard fruits, grilled apricot and onion textures is what you should order. You’re welcome.
Jack Ruby – Open til late (Mon – Sat)
89 King William Street // 8231 5795
American food is like a beautiful mathematical equation; fat + sugar + carbs + protein = delicious. There’s Popcorn Crocodile and a 12hr smoked Brisket on this menu, not to mention the meatballs. Paired with the likes of blue cheese and smoked corn puree, don’t try and do anything active for a few hours after visiting. Sitting in a seat and watching a show is exactly where you should be.
Near The Festival Centre (Because The Adelaide Festival is on too!)
2KW – Open 7 Days til late.
2 King William Street // 8212 5511
Even as a child, I would put everything in my mouth. But caperberries, well, they can taste like licking someone’s sweaty armpit. The ONLY circumstance I will ever eat caperberries is when they are used perfectly, like in 2KW’s Vitello Tonnato (veal, mojama, parmesan cream and those spiteful little berries). You too, will be converted.
Madame Hanoi – Open 7 Days until 12am.
Adelaide Casino, North Terrace // 8218 4244
There are two experiences to be had here. Sit beneath the beautiful Emma Hack mural with Bun Cha Ca (grilled rockling, galangal, turmeric, dill and peanuts) and let the balance of spice dance on your taste buds. Or, sit beneath the beautiful Emma Hack mural with a Croque Monsuier and emit the occasional victorious, deep guttural bellow because this ham and cheese sandwich will touch you in places no doctor has ever discovered on you before.
Shiki – Open 7 Days, Dinner from 6 til 11pm.
Intercontinental Hotel, North Terrace // 8238 2400
The New York Times said of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Few bands ask more of the body than this thunderous Montreal collective. Few bands weave their way into the sinew more.” Speaking of weaving their way into your sinew, or really your mouth, it would be wholly appropriate, prior to watching this show (which is actually visiting as part of the Adelaide Festival) to eat Unajyu (grilled freshwater eel) at Adelaide’s best Japanese restaurant just around the corner.
The Lion Hotel – Open 7 Days til midnight.
161 Melbourne Street, 8367 0222
We’ve extended our reach to these guys because they’re running a FREE bus service into the CBD during the Fringe season. Plus, have you actually eaten at their restaurant? Step to the side of their bar, and you’ll be presented with the likes of tender Murray Valley Pork Rack with Black Vinegar, Coconut Yoghurt, Sambal Belacan and Kimchi Cabbage. Plus, there’s a lot more parking out that way.
Much like the sort of live entertainment that satisfies during Festival season, eateries that deliver a mix of innovation, originality, experimentation and energy are deserving of the coveted five stars. And finally, for the record, you can find the food equivalent of a Dave Hughes comedy show on the shelves of your local On The Run. Don’t ask us to point it out to you.
Need help getting around to all the Festival goodness? Head here to see how Uber can help!