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Exploring Adelaide - Gilbert Place

Home > Adelaide > Architecture | Free | Historic Houses
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published October 14th 2012
Take a stroll down memory lane
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The Pancake Kitchen in Gilbert Place


The Pancake Kitchen

Most people in Adelaide would only have heard of Gilbert Place through the well known Pancake Kitchen, which has been there since 1965.

For those who drive through Adelaide, much of the excitement and magic of Adelaide is invisible. But for pedestrians and cyclists (perhaps using the free bikes), a completely different perspective of the city becomes apparent as you meander through its smaller streets.

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Narrow Gilbert Place id Well Suited to Pedestrians and Cyclists


Perhaps one of the best places to experience this is in Gilbert Place, one of the older parts of the city which is quite accessible if you are walking and cycling. If you enter from Hindley Street opposite the old Miller Anderson Department Store the lane is quite narrow, passing between the curiously named "The Little Pub Just Off Hindley St" and the Paringa Motel.

As you pass the Pancake Kitchen, think of the many University students who congregated here in the 1970's, making the most of the affordable food and the motto "We never close". It was a very popular spot in those days, and I understand it was the first of many similar businesses in Australia.

Myladys Rest Centre

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Myladys Rest Centre 1953 (Courtesy State Library of SA B12699)


Adjacent to the Pancake kitchen now is Madame Josephines Hairdressers. In a previous incarnation after a failed attempt to raise 30,000 funds in 1950, it eventually opened as Mylady's Rest Centre in 1952.

Quelltaler House

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Quelltaler House Today


Just around the corner heading east is the ornate entrance to the rather mysterious Quelltaler House. I have been unable to find out much about its origins, other than it being designed by architect Albert Langhans as the premises for Buring and Sobel vignerons, probably in the 1920's.

There is also a reference to its use by The Stockowners Cooperative Shearing Company in 1947 complete with picture of a milking machine.

It is much easier to find out about people who dined at Quelltaler House over the years, One such account about "Music and a Brekker" in 1946 gives an interesting insight to the times.

There is another story of Premier Don Dunstan lunching with developer and arts supremo Len Amadio in 1970. The name of the restaurant is unfortunately not recorded.

Noted Adelaide wine writer Philip White recalls a dinner at Buring and Sobels Quelltaler House in his blog, after which he enjoyed a bottle of Grange while sitting with a friend in a gutter on King William Street.

In his thesis on City Planning, Michael Llewellyn-Smith recounts how power brokers in Adelaide City Council's City of Adelaide Development Committee would dine at Quelltaler House before adjourning to the Town Hall's Colonel Light Room for the formal meeting.

Arkaba Steak Cellar

Well known Adelaide personality Peter Goers recalls eating at the Arkaba Steak Cellar at Quelltaler House:
When I was 16 family friends took me to dinner at the Arkaba Steak Cellar. Discounting the odd visit to the Target Red Apple Restaurant, at Fulham Gardens, this was my first real and really posh restaurant. I was nervous but, alas, not nervous enough to keep my gob shut.

Another former customer recalls Now that place knew how to cook steak, open flame, superb meat and their sauces, especially bearnaise, were plain awesome.

The most recent use of this building was for the Penang Restaurant. Who knows how many more famous diners will feature in this building's future?

27-29 Gilbert Place

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Infinity Games, Once the Location of the Roma Cinema


Moving on a few steps south is the current premises of Infinity Games, a very popular site for young gamers in Adelaide. Many people hurry past this building with barely a glance, not noticing the period lights or the extremely unusual arch over the doors. It is worth reading the words of prominent heritage consultant Tim Simpson in an article for "Heritage Living":

No-one remembers now whose horses and carriages passed through the dignified sandstone gateway at 27-29 Gilber Place or who designed the elegant voussoired arch with its heavy entablature... A two storey stone stable building survives at the rear, now incorporated into later structures

Later it would become the Roma Cinema, eventually becoming associated with pornographic films and visions of the classic dirty old men in raincoats. A photograph of the building from that era can be seen here.

The present and future

Returning to the present day, a number of the building in the laneway are earmarked for demolition to make way for a 31 level office tower. Some buildings in neighbouring Peel Street are also at risk.

But that is the price of change, isn't it?

Walk or cycle past and enjoy the scene while you can.

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The Start of Our Gilbert Place Journey

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Where: Gilbert Place, Adelaide
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Your Comment
Jesus!
This is amazing work.
by Tema (score: 2|686) 1625 days ago
I used to teach dance at the first Adelaide Arthur Murray's studios when it first opened in a basement along the Currie St end of Gilbert Street in the 70s. Not sure what the basement is now!
by arrietty (score: 1|83) 1619 days ago
Can anyone tell me what the pancake kitchen was before the 1960s?
by malle (score: 0|8) 1370 days ago
I couldn't agree more about exploring places on foot. It is sometimes surprising what you discover. Gilbert Place has alot of character and I often take out of town visitors exploring these lanes, nooks and crannies. I love old style architecture.

I used to hang out alot at The Pancake Parlour in my uni days - but hey, it wasn't that long ago - definitely not in the 70s hahaha
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1589) 1625 days ago
Wonderful Dave!
by mehid (score: 2|131) 1013 days ago
Did I read this article right? Is Gilbert Place earmarked for demolition to make way for BlueBoard????
by helsr (score: 1|12) 904 days ago
There's a fantastic photo of Gilbert Place taken in 1938 in the State Library collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/state_library_south_australia/11722292666/
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|10018) 1178 days ago
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