First published on 17 Nov 2011. Updated on 1 Feb 2013.
Lentil and Sweet Potato Pie ($5)
Most people don’t associate Sweden with vegetarian pastries, but they should. Stockholm is the holm of pirog, a puffy, super-tasty spinach pastry sensation. And while there’s nothing particularly Swedish about a curry-flavoured lentil and sweet potato pie, it’s this very pie, at the Swedish Tarts patisserie, which is the best meat-free pie in the whole of Adelaide. ‘House-made’ with golden, delicious pastry, a beautiful mash of lentils and sweet potato, a hint of cumin, cardamom and just the right amount of dried chilli. Wash it down with some glögg and finish it off with a kanelbulle (a cinnamon swirl), and then head out to Semaphore beach: one of the nicest beaches around. Swedish Tarts Patisserie,40 Semaphore Rd, Semaphore 5019.
Piroshki ($3.50; $1.50 at the end of the day)
The thing about the aforementioned pirog is that it’s a Swedish version of this, the grand Russian piroshki. Deep-fried pastry parcels, with a modestly sweet, tangy crust and the flavours bombs inside, the piroshki is the greatest vegetarian snack in the entire world. Here one can choose from spinach and cheese (great), potato and leak (excellent) or cabbage which, contrary to expectations, is an explosion of olive oil, spices and awesome. Taldy-Kurgan also serve borscht, and a range of meaty dishes for your carnivorous friends; and besides, the Adelaide Central Market is generally an unbeatable haven of food from Australia and beyond. Taldy-Kurgan (‘Eurasian Food’ stall) Shop 3, Adelaide Central Market, 45 Gouger Street, Adelaide 5000.
Mediterranean Half-Burger ($8.50)
We say the half-burger partly to remain under our $10 cap, and partly because it’s a term for those in the know: the half-burgers at Vegos, as this lunchtime staple is known to locals, are the thing to get. They’re basically the whole burger, with half the bread. Although difficult to navigate (we recommend the knife and fork, and keeping the toothpick in until at least halfway through), the half-burger is a triumph of urban dining. The Mediterranean option is the best - lettuce, sun-dried tomato, hommos and generous servings of olive tapenade confuse and delight the palette, while the house-made vegie pattie is an absolute knockout. A range of juices is also on offer to cool the tongue, and the décor, a mélange of knick-knacks and postcards (mostly) from Indonesia, is truly excellent. Vego and Loven’It, Level 1, 240 Rundle St, Adelaide 5000.
Vegetarian Bánh-Mì Vietamese Roll ($5.90)
Bánh Mì is a recent import to Adelaide’s thriving street cuisine, but it’s already punching well above its weight. Essentially the Vietnamese version of Subway, Banh Mi disarms its competitors through an astounding combination of tang and freshness. The buns, courtesy of a local bakery, are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside (choice of white or wholemeal); they are layered with house-made mayo (can be refused by vegans), filled with carrot, cucumber and sprouts, and then generously loaded with chilli and coriander. The result is the freshest, happiest tasting sandwich this side of the equator. It pains us that Moonta St Banh Mi does not have a tofu option; but in quality and service, the Bánh Mì here is the best. Bánh Mì, Moonta St, (Chinatown) Adelaide 5000.
Zatar Munooshi Plus Veg ($6)
Munooshi is Lebanese pizza, and although Lebanese pizza is (perhaps) not the pizza you know, it will be the pizza you love. Soft, thin flatbread-style crusts, loaded with olive oil, mixed with za’atar (a tangy mix oregano, thyme and sumac), and topped with onion, olives and tomato, folded in half and served piping hot. These pizzas have been found around Melbourne for years, and here in Adelaide they’ve been the hidden glory of our excellent suburban Lebanese bakeries. Munooshi Cafe brings them to the inner-city, along with a range of ‘real’ pizzas, served with coffee and delectable sweets like their Lebanese rice pudding ($4). Munooshi Café, 36 East Tce, Adelaide 5000