Riddle me this: let’s say you’ve just moved to Adelaide from Collingwood or Redfern, and you’re wondering where to rent. You’re a muso with a bike, a cat, a suede jacket and a vinyl habit. So where’s your ‘hood? Answer: Thebarton.
Your new universe revolves around the intersection of George and Albert Streets: everything you need is right here. There’s the best live-music pub in Adelaide, The Wheatsheaf, on one corner; Salvi’s vintage guitar shop on another (check out that Jimi Hendrix mural!); and a bohemian little cafe called The Deli just down the street.
Littered with mismatched Laminex tables and local art, everything inside this bricky single-fronter is vintage, funky and a little bit scruffy (including the clientele: literati, vegetarians, burlesquers, pony-tailed ‘90s grungers and rockabilly rebels). Creaking floorboards are patched with panels of tin; there’s a turntable and a pile of vinyl in the corner; an acoustic guitar hangs on the wall, which is painted a soothing black. The time of day seems almost immaterial in this den.
We kick things off with a double-shot flat white: nutty, hot, strong and prompt. The rest of our meal arrives more slowly, but when it does we’re impressed: the all-day Deli Breakfast is HUGE, including an eyebrow-raising spicy Italian sausage, creamy mushrooms, free-range eggs, and a garlic-infused pile of spinach. The banana-and-yogurt smoothie zings across the palate. The pancake pile is interleaved with blueberries and doused in litres of maple syrup, with a fast-melting dollop of vanilla ice-cream defying gravity on top. This is all restorative: quality, quantity and worth the wait.
Out the back is a sandy courtyard – a sequestered spot to catch a few winter rays and share Tapas-style plates (any five for $45; try the fried chorizo with rosemary potatoes). The vibe is more ‘hacienda’ in summer: maybe it’s the ancient grape vine, sheltering you from the SA sun while you sip one of Adelaide’s better sangrias.
Tunes on the sound system trip easily from jazz to old blues to ambient, and there’s usually live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Pizzas, cocktails and a 100% Australian wine list round out the deal.
Glad you moved to Thebarton? We thought so.