Have you heard the wonderful news?!
Adelaide has just been named one of the Top Ten Cities in the world 2014 by global travel authority, Lonely Planet. Coming in at number nine, Adelaide is the only Australian city to win a spot, and with Paris ranked number one I am thrilled that my two favourite cities (and the places I most write about) are now on the list!
Read more about the Top Ten Cities here.
A decade ago, after returning from Paris to a rather buttoned-up Adelaide, my youngest daughter Annabelle remarked as we drove through the city streets one evening, ‘Where are all the people Mummy, has a bomb gone off?’ Since that time I have watched on with interest as Adelaide has slowly thrown off its conservative, old-school image and evolved into a vibrant city. The past two or three years in particular have seen a tide of creative energy sweep through the streets and the beginnings of a true transformation. Finally, the perception of Adelaide as the stuffy City of Churches is well and truly being shaken off.
Cyclists, along with a colourful fleet of food trucks have taken over city streets (read my blog about them here). Splash Adelaide, an initiative of the Adelaide City Council, is experimenting with all kinds of urban projects from pop-up food carts to outdoor entertainment in unused public spaces. Coffee has been elevated to an art form, a rash of inner city boutiques bars are emerging, and there is a healthy arts and sporting scene with events like the Fringe Festival, the Tour Down Under bike race and WOMADelaide music festival, adding energy, colour and excitement.
A sunny Mediterranean climate makes Adelaide an ideal place to enjoy the outdoors – perhaps surfing, relaxing on our beautiful beaches or cycling along Linear Park, but what I most love about Adelaide is the revolution in the food and wine scene that has been gathering momentum for some years. There’s an extraordinary array of top-notch local produce grown and crafted by a band of passionate producers, and a real push for sustainable, ethical and organic food. Vineyards run in every direction and menus are creative, original and contemporary. As well as an excellent selection of high-end restaurants, there is an explosion of fresh and quirky cafés and good casual eateries tumbling onto side streets, sprouting in the suburbs and opening down laneways.
My absolute new favourite is Peel St, an address that is easily accessible to visitors exploring the city on foot. The guys behind Goolwa’s casual waterside eatery, Aquacaf, have recently opened this cool restaurant, bien sûr, on Peel St, a laneway in the CBD.
It’s not easy to find really good, ultra-fresh food that is simply prepared and delicious, but you will find it at Peel St. The high quality, well sourced ingredients speak for themselves with pure, natural flavours shining through. I found the small menu with a mix of cuisines innovative and inspiring and on the day I visited a month or so ago, my generous serve of green mango fishcake salad with peanuts, pineapple and nam jim was ever so refreshing and addictive. It reminded me of the kind of food that Peel St’s award-winning Chef Jordan Theodoros cooks at Sticky Rice Cooking School in the Adelaide Hills where he teaches as a guest chef, offering his expertise and guidance in Asian cuisine.
The visually appealing mulloway fish pasty served on a board with iceberg, tartare and lemon was a hit with my fellow diners, as was the Cavolo Nero and meatball frittata.
Changing seasonal offerings are scribbled on the chalkboard. You might find a chargrilled spatchcock with kasundi, baby carrots, fetta and coriander; or roasted Jerusalem artichokes with pear, hazelnuts and blue cheese. The small wine list is well thought out and has interesting selections that range from Louis Jadot Beaujolais to Willunga 100 Cabernet Shiraz.
On Peel Street you will also find the new boutique bar, Clever Little Tailor, and chatting to the guys at the restaurant I am told that plans are underway for more, including Chihuahua, a Mexican tequilia bar. The vibrant pedestrian laneway, Leigh Street, is a stone’s throw away with a number of good eateries and drinking spots and excellent coffee at Coffee Branch (see my blog here). Plans are in the wings to connect Leigh Street and Peel Street with a pedestrian walkway, creating a bar and restaurant precinct. With the area being revamped and Adelaide exploding, who knows what might be next.