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
With dishes like the BOOM-BOOM! Hummus spiced ground lamb, and Padron peppers with almond aioli and katsuobushi, it’s hard to go past Africola’s varied and delicious menu! The remainder of their menu features the same multicultural melting pot of influence that Africa itself is famous for.
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.
BRKYLN – Open till late (Tue-Sat)
260a Rundle Street
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.
First at Hotel Richmond – Open to 9pm (Mon-Sun)
128 Rundle Mall // 8215 4444
Relax atop Rundle Mall and watch the colour pass you by. First is the Hotel Richmond’s restaurant, bar & lounge, with an a la carte menu featuring some of the best local and seasonal produce. It’s the kind of place you can settle in with a steak sandwich, or a chicken breast featuring mushrooms, white polenta and watercress. Take your pick.
Near Victoria Square
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 1KG 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
With food designed to be shared, Level One’s new menu has something for everyone. But the real focus is on dessert (at least in our office anyways) There’s a strawberry choux filled with vanilla cream patissiere surrounded by a chilled strawberry soup. A-maz-ing! A black sesame sponge with blood orange sorbet, miso cream and chocolate bark. Yummo! Or, for the whisky fans, whisked chestnut (shaped into noodles) with chocolate mousse, hazelnut and a Jameson whiskey sauce. De-lic-ious! We take it back – maybe not everything is for sharing.
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.
Mayfair Hotel – Open til late (Mon – Sun)
45 King William Street // 8210 8899
Not one but two options lie within the opulent doors of the Mayfair Hotel. Head down the sweeping ribbon staircase to the Mayflower Restaurant and Bar, where you’ll be treated to a la carte lunch and dinner to write home about. Classic dishes complemented by a dessert trolley presented to your table along with warm attentive service is the heart of this exciting new restaurant. Or, if you’re looking for a more casual drink and nibble, head up the elevator to level 13 and step into HENNESSY, the unique rooftop bar to enjoy some delicious cocktails and some tasty snacks.
Rigoni’s Bistro – Open 7 am to 9:30 pm (Mon-Fri) and 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Sat)
27 Leigh Street // 8231 5160
Rigoni’s Bistro has been a fixture of Leigh Street since 1979, and has consistently been putting out delicious Italian food and drink since then! Our dinner pick would have to be the Triangoli Di Barbabietole Con Formaggio Di Capra: beetroot & goats cheese ravioli with burnt butter, walnut, chives & lemon rocket pesto. But don’t let us tell you, head in and give some good Adelaide Italian food a go!
Near The Festival Centre/RCC
2KW – Open 7 Days til late.
2 King William Street // 8212 5511
The absolute in rooftop venues in Adelaide, 2KW has you covered for great food and serious booze. Settle in for a cocktail and a view in the outdoor bar areas, or one of the best meals Adelaide has to offer in the restaurant.
Madame Hanoi – Open 7 Days until 11pm.
Adelaide Casino, North Terrace // 8218 4166
There are two experiences to be had here. Sit beneath the beautiful Emma Hack mural with with some of Adelaide’s favourite bahn bao and escape to Vietnam for an hour before your show,
Neon Bar – Open to 11 pm (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sun) to 1 am (Fri, Sat)
Adelaide Riverbank, Under the footbridge by Festival Centre // 8216 8744
As one of the coolest pop-up bars on the Adelaide Riverbank overlooking the Adelaide Festival Centre and Adelaide Oval, Neon is the perfect place for an afternoon drink and a quick light feed. Hit up a charcuterie and a cheese platter with a vino, or a summer cocktail. Personally, we can’t go past their delectable range of summer cocktails, they’re as refreshing as they are delicious!
Sean’s Kitchen – Open 7 Days til midnight
Adelaide Casino, North Terrace // 8218 4244
It’s all about the chips at Sean’s… not really, but Sean Connolly does have a reputation to uphold, having won an award for the best chips. This New York Brasserie inspired restaurant is the perfect stopping place for a quality feed, and some of SA’s best produce.
Shiki – Open 7 Days, Dinner from 6 til 11pm.
Intercontinental Hotel, North Terrace // 8238 2400
Experience award winning authenitic Japanese cusine in the heart of Adelaide. Observe the skill and talent of Chef de Cuisine, Kenny Trinh, as he and his team create delicious and succulent dishes through their culinary mastery (and fire… there’s fire!).
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.