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Gingers Coffee Studio – Goodwood, SA

109a Goodwood Road, Goodwood, SA, 5034

Gingers Coffee Studio, will be for the inner Southern Suburbs set a welcome addition to the specialty coffee scene. When I heard about this place (which had only opening a week or so early), my brother from another mother and I set off – early on a Wednesday – for breakfast and coffee.  Both of us felt comfortable upon entering Gingers as it is a throw back to the 1970s – the era which birthed us both – but also, layered upon the comfort was the familiar, as the menu was also reminiscent of Ginger’s mother – The Pantry on Edgmont – a place which we have enjoyed through a number of staff changes.

A noticeable difference between The Pantry and Gingers is in their choice of coffee – with Gingers embracing The Coffee Barun, while (on my last visit at least) The Pantry used DeGroots. For me, however, Gingers lacked something – whereas The Pantry had – and to all reports still does –  a ‘wow’ factor – both of us left Gingers saying how nice it was – but not much more.  It is though, only very early days and with a linage of such quality, there is no way that Gingers will not be a success.

The questions that remains are – where will the  next incarnation of the Pantry be located, and will it be a tribute to 1980s glam rock?

Read the rest of this entry

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Paddy’s Lantern – Adelaide, SA

219 Gilbert Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000

In a quarter of the Adelaide City that many people may have never ventured through, sits this fresh new expression of the burgeoning South Australian speciality coffee scene. Opening in the first week of October 2011 Paddy’s Lantern is, according to owner, chef and barista Sam Carey – what he thinks would have happened if “Bar 9 and Coffee Branch had a baby”[1] and it finds itself nestled amongst a fairly standard Adelaideian mid 1980s row of shops – a child’s stone throw from the Dukes of Brunswick Hotel – however, make sure you are looking for it – blink and you’ll miss it.

Walking in – you just know this place is serious about the coffee – as the menu board is 90% about the beverage and 10% food – yet the food is superb!  Serving single origin 5 Senses coffee, blended on site, through a gorgeous looking Synesso machine,  a Sam made ristretto is heaven in a cup [see below.]  The interior is minimalist – having stripped back what was once perhaps a computer shop, it is now part single story – part spacious warehouse – yet will probably only seat perhaps 20 people, and is my no means clinical.  If you are cyclist, you are catered for – with three bike racks adorning the walls just inside the front door.  Together with my brother from another mother, friend and colleague we consumed three ristrettos, three lattes, and 2 Barossa Ham & French gruyere on Mylor Bakery Sourdough – in our 90 minutes of bliss, with occasional dedicated attention from Sam – who understands that customer service produces loyalty.   Parking is potentially a problem – but if you can find one nearby, they are free for 2 hours – just be persistent and the rewards of Paddy’s Lantern can be yours.   Read the rest of this entry

the pantry on egmont – Hawthorn, SA

2 Egmont Terrace, Hawthorn, SA, 5062

The Pantry On Egmont confirms what many of us coffee addicts have long suspected – that Adelaide has finally arrived on not just the national, but on the international coffee stage – because there are Baristas out there who are not just interested in their or their employers bottom line – but are passionate about the coffee they make, and want – above all else – for the coffee to be a joyful experience for the consumer – and Stef – from the Pantry is one of those guys!  (see also Daniel at Coffee By The Beans, The Coffee Barun and so I am lead to believe but have not yet tried – Espresso Royale @ Magill, and Taylor’s Blend @ Stonyfell)

Nestled comfortably between upper class old suburbia and the Belair railway line in the ever so leafy and green Hawthorn – the Pantry On Egmont – is a place that in truth, I really do not want to  review  – because it may mean that the secret becomes too common knowledge and it ruins my future experiences.  I just loved the place!  Comfortable – like sitting in your Nanna’s kitchen – complete with the old school kitchen tables and mis-matched chairs – The Pantry pulls off, what the Tango Turtle over reaches – trendy – arty – yet comfortable, welcoming and with top notch customer service.  Their food is also excellent – during my brief stay, I enjoyed (on the house) a biscuit made by the mother of one of the owners, the just prepared filling of the Rabbit Pot Pie which was the Chef’s special for Lunch with some hot turkish bread – which was do delicious, that I couldn’t help having the actual pie for Lunch (which I paid for – along with my three lattes and a ristretto) – ahh the joys of Ministry, peer to peer mentoring and student preacher mentoring at BCSA!!  Now to the review:

Latte Quality – Lattastic!! – I know I said I would never make this declaration without a few visits – but just as I mentioned in my review of Coffee By The Beans [click above] and in fairness to me (a) this is my blog, so it is my opinion we are going with; (b) I live in Goolwa, they are in Hawthorn – how often am I going to get the chance; (c) I did have a Ristretto and three lattes and (d) again, this is my blog.  Today we were drinking a Single Origin Honduras – which as a ristretto was super sweet with hints of melon and cinnamon, and as a latte was just gorgeous!! Read the rest of this entry

Appleseed Café – Strathalbyn, SA

30 High Street, Strathalbyn, SA, 5255

Strathalbyn is one of those idyllic little Adelaide Hills/Fleurieu Peninsula towns that residents of the flats (aka Adelaide) flock to on weekends, and eastern state tourists come to visit to see what air looks like when it does not contain so much smog.  Or at least, they come to the High Street of Strathalbyn, because that is where the antique shops and the quaint cafés are located – you head too far east and you get to the zinc mine.

Located on the Adelaide side of the High Street is the Appleseed Café – which I discovered was even there, after my first subscription edition of Beanhunter magazine arrived yesterday and it said this place was a place who stocked the magazine (after five newsagents looking at me dumbfounded when I asked about it – “what scene Magazine?”) – looks more like it should be in Hyde Park or North Adelaide then in Strath.  Looking classy, yet comfortable both inside and out, the Appleseed Café is known locally for its concern for those who have food issues – allergies, intolerances and other conditions which are more frequent that other cafes realise – and so has a dedicated and supportive clientele, as indicated on their facebook page.

Latte Quality – Good – as with many take away coffees the barista over compensated with the temperature, which (a) made the cup difficult to hold in one hand, with my toddler holding my other hand, and (b) even after allowing driving time to the playground, it still burnt my tongue. And I ordered a large, but rather than keeping pour to milk ratio equal, this was just a very milky latte.

Cost – $5.20 for a large take away which is expensive.

Coffee SupplierVeneziano Caffe

Fair Trade – Probably not – at least there was no mention in store, but Veneziano do do a “Pure™ ‘Fairtrade Organic”

Customer Service –  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;

Special Notes – Plenty of food options for those needing gluten free, vegan, organic etc.  Kid friendly with a children’s menu.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – Absolutely – I was there at around 1pm and while there were customers in the various rooms, it was by no means packed. There was also some outside seating available.  There is also a beautiful Uniting Church only a short stroll away should you need some spiritual guidance.

bb’s café – Mount Barker, SA

Shop S6 Mt Barker Central, McLaren Street, MOUNT BARKER, SA, 5251

While the serious lack of forward planning, and infrastructure development by the local council and state government has done untold damage to Mount Barker as a town (almost a city) – with the narrow streets with more cars then they ever thought they could carry, which make Springvale Road in Melbourne look like an 8 laned super highway, and the empty shops with their newspaper or black plastic window dressings which make it look like an apocalyptic  modern wasteland – the extra people have developed within it a strong coffee culture.  As you will have noticed, that over the last few weeks almost all the reviews have been on places in and around the Mount – this being largely due to my wife having to regularly visit, and then take up temporary residence in the maternity wing of the local hospital with welcoming our second son to the world – and it continues today.

bb’s café is located in the humorously titled ‘Mount Barker Central’ – in the old section, near the Telstra shop and soon to be near some brand new empty shop fronts which are almost finished in what used to the carpark.  I had never seen this place before, nor had I ever heard of the bb’s café franchise (an Australian Company – same one that owns Brumby’s, Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie). The place was clean and tidy, although quite empty – but the staff were very friendly, and my nearly three year old son was taken by the aquarium in the corner.  They also do a ‘shout a friend’ deal, which is basically a buy one get one free thing – on the day I was there it was muffins.

Latte Quality – Passable – the foam was very chunky (large bubbles) and it tasted slightly burnt – but it was just drinkable.

Cost – $4.10 for a regular drink in, which is pretty expensive.

Coffee Supplier – bb’s coffee – they do their own.

Fair Trade – No indication in store – No indication on their website.

Customer Service –  – memorable – you talk about this place – this is how everyone should be, but few are.

Special Notes – I had a blueberry muffin (and got another one free) and it was very nice.  Their promotional material indicates that everything is baked fresh on the premises daily.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – Absolutely – other than us, there was only one other customer in the store – and there was plenty of seating – chairs and couches – and we were there close to 4pm, so this was the after school rush time….

Bamboo Talk Café – Mount Barker, SA

Shop 10/69 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

This great little asian inspired “tea cafe corner” is just what Mount Barker needed – being a town with a surplus of pub/bistro/pizza/modern Australia type food but little else.  With great service from Becky and Sharon, the Bamboo Talk Cafe is popular at lunch time with its Vegetarian/Vegan sushi, yum cha and other asian influenced delights – I can recommend the mix sushi platter and the chilli squid with stir fry veg.  They also have a coffee machine for afters…

Latte Quality – Good – the foam was full of bubbles, which indicated the milk wasn’t properly stretched – but the flavour was ok.

Cost – $3.20 – which is below average for the standard sized latte glass.

Coffee Supplier – Griffiths Coffee

Fair Trade – No.

Special Notes – Open until 3pm – so make sure you are their prompt for lunch, or early for their all day breakfast….

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Yes – for all of these.  There is limited seating indoor, but plenty of seating under the verandah.

Laratinga Café – Mount Barker, SA

Adelaide Hills Homemaker Centre, Shop K 6 Dutton Rd. Mt Barker SA 5251

This is a review which I could almost call ‘Sign’ – as in artist formerly known as Prince – because Laratinga, is the café formerly known as The Bean Bar (which after a cursory Internet search seems to have gone out of business everywhere….did anyone notice?  does anyone know why?).  Taking over the old Bean Bar premises – lock, stock and no smoking barrels – Laratinga just put their information over the old and kept on trading – so, like a couple of other cafes in the town – the Laratinga is bright orange (see also Our Little Café and Corso Café) but has the advantage of also being an internode internet hotspot – it has plenty of seating, and is blessed with like a 1000 car parks – just avoid trying to get in or out during the 3:15-3:45pm period – because the car park resembles the one at ‘The Dome’ (the venue formerly known as the Clipsal Powerhouse, and after that The Distinctive Home Dome….The Dome is the Home of the Brett Maher Court…if that helps) after the Sixers have lost another game.

Latte Quality – Excellent – great flavour, good foam percentage – pretty much as I remember the best of The Bean Bar.

Cost – average  – a regular Café Latte will set you back $3.50

Coffee Supplier – Aroma Fresh Coffee – just like the old Bean Bar

Fair Trade – no mention in store or on their website, so it would be safe to assume – No.

Customer Service –  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;

Special Notes – I also ordered a Raspberry Muffin – when when served was slightly heated and very nice!

Venue Suitable for:  Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study and Reflection – It used to be ok for all of these purposes, but if yesterdays traffic was anything to go on – perhaps not – I was in there in the late afternoon and the place was full (only one spare table) and while I was there enjoying my yummy Raspberry Muffin, there was a steady stream of customers coming and going.  Ye Olde Bean Bar used to do tables out the back near the bike path/creek – so if these return for warmer weather, that would make it more usable for pastoral matters.

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