Two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When we aren't tucking into our latest delicious find, we're photographing and designing our hearts out.
Published January 30th 2015
The coolest place to sip martinis while playing Super Mario
Austin & Austin is a chilled cafe/lounge/bar situated on the corner of… you guessed it: Austin Street and Austin Street in the CBD. It's Adelaide's best new spot to chill with friends for an awesome night of classic consoles and board games while treating yourself to delicious comfort food and super cool cocktails.
A call out to all the old school gamers in Adelaide. Whether you're a true Sega Mega Drive or Super Nintendo fan at heart you'll find the war has really only just begun. Venture into Austin & Austin, choose your side and battle your friends over a selection of classic games from these rival consoles.
As the name suggests, it is right on the corner of Austin St which you can access from both North Tce and Pulteney St.
Tucked away from the main drags of North Terrace and Pulteney Street, it's actually quite a convenient location for students and other foot traffic cutting across to Rundle Mall. For this reason it's now open for the morning coffee run serving up hot brews of 5 Senses coffee, something that was not initially on the cards for owners George and Simon.
We dropped in for a visit on a Wednesday night and the place filled up quickly, with lots of small groups drinking wine, playing a few rounds of Uno or hitting up the old school console games upstairs. The upstairs area can fit up to 40 people at a time and can be booked for private functions. This can include a full table service if required. Toilet facilities are available upstairs for extra convenience.
Upstairs is relaxed and the Sega and Nintendo systems are ready to go.
It wouldn't be a proper gaming night without Mario Kart or Mortal Kombat now would it? Well then GET OVER HERE! What are you waiting for?
Which game will you choose? Mortal Kombat or Aladdin?
For the true arcade aficionados there is also a classic arcade machine featuring all time favourites such as frogger. There are bound to be some line ups for this little beauty. Have you got what it takes to win?
Why not share a cocktail over a game of Frogger?
The guys at Austin & Austin seriously know their board games and have all the greats stacked up just waiting for you to play. There's your quick and simple games like Connect 4 all the way through to your head-scratchers like Trivial Pursuit. You can't go wrong with Uno and we saw at least six sets on the go. Battleships is always popular, and we also saw Cluedo, Pictionary, Boggle, Yahtzee, Snakes & Ladders, and even Jenga for those that like to make a bit of noise.
But of course the most coveted in the entire collection is Cards Against Humanity (and they even have a copy of the US version). It's so popular that more sets of the Australian version were acquired so that everyone can get in a round or two.
The card and boardgame selections are endless.
Those wanting to chill out and use their own laptop, phone or tablet are welcome. Charging stations with USB ports are built in to the lounge bases for you to top up the juice. Free Wi-Fi is available, just buy a drink or a toastie and ask at the bar.
Kids are welcome up until about 10pm but must be supervised by a willing and able adult. After 10pm it's all for the adults so the party can really get started.
Head up to the bar and ask for the cocktail menu, you won't be disappointed.
The first thing you'll notice when walking inside is the bright and colourful bar facade – once Prince Alfred College's basketball court now turned into Austin & Austin's feature design element. Rescued from Rural Salvage the colourful lines of the court now grace not just the bar but the stools and lounges throughout.
Austin & Austin opened its doors in December 2014, starting out mainly as a Friday & Saturday night operation. It's become so popular that they are now open every day except Sunday. A two and a half month build time saw George and Simon working 80-90 hour weeks, stripping out the interior of the previous shop and decking it out in funky bespoke décor while maintaining their previous jobs at the Semaphore Palais.
Comfy booths are available for bookings or get in early to nab one quick.
Stunning murals painted by local artists grace the walls on both the ground floor and upstairs. Our personal favourite was the floor to ceiling Tetris game completed by one of the friendly (and talented) bar staff. We were assured that what initially looks like a poorly played game of Tetris took far longer than you might realise to get just right. This is complemented by the stylised Reservoir Dogs and classic characters from Pulp Fiction among others. Upstairs, a wall length 'Before I Die..' chalk board displays the community bucket list of Austin & Austin's patrons.
Is this the worst (best) Tetris game art around?
What do you want to do before you die?
The whole place has a great ambience. Funky beats play throughout the week until Friday and Saturday night when the atmosphere is cranked up to full volume by live Adelaide DJs. These local guys and girls use all vinyl records for that unmistakable sound.
Austin spin up a storm - old school style.
A small kitchen at Austin & Austin provides truly comforting 'soul food' to kick along your gaming night, The menu features a range of mouth-watering munchies with Looney Toons inspired names that will have you instantly reminiscing about your childhood. We were lucky enough to try a few items from the menu.
First up was the 'Speedy Gonzales', which was a seriously great toastie. Word on the street is this stroke of brilliance was concocted by Simon. Picture this: nachos in a toastie with guacamole, fresh tomato, corn relish and jalapenos, served up crispy and delicious with the perfect amount of spice. Yum.
The Soul Food is extremely well priced.
Next up was the 'Granny', sounding more like your traditional toastie with delicious thick cut Gypsy leg ham, chunky tomato and melted cheese. This was anything but a plain old toastie and it's all in the preparation. The ham is sourced from the bone and cut in-house for that extra delicious flavour.
Just like Granny would make only even more delicious.
The toasties were served up with a side of quality potato chips - the packet kind, not the deep-fried kind - given that Austin & Austin's small kitchen area does not contain a chip fryer. This little piece of ingenuity may seem basic but it really added to the home-style comfort food and gaming atmosphere. Simple yes but they scored a thumbs up from us.
Both toasties were quickly polished off and then it was on to the feature dish of our little food extravaganza: the 'Porky Pig' pulled pork nachos. These were served up with all the goodness you'd expect from great nachos; melted cheese, house made salsa, creamy guacamole and sour cream, but the smoky intensity of the pulled pork really took it to a whole new level. We liked that the guacamole had a real splash of zesty citrus that gave this potentially heavy dish a light and fresh taste.
According to George the nachos have been a massive hit. On the first day of providing food they went through seven kilos of nachos chips alone.
The homely nachos and toasties pair perfectly with a good pack of Uno and a dry martini.
By this time we were feeling very satisfied but as they say: 'There's always room for dessert.' (This is basically our motto now…)
Bring on the DESSERT TOASTIES. We were in heaven to come across these little gems on the menu. It was a tough call so we left it up to the expert and were rewarded with the 'Jessica Rabbit': mixed berries and ricotta drizzled with white chocolate inside a crispy fried toastie. It's truly one saucy minx... err mix, served with icing-sugar dusted twizzlers for that extra hit. This sugar rush will surely get you through to the next level of your game of choice. There's another dessert toastie on the menu and we are already planning our next visit to try it. The 'Elmer Fudd' features nutella and marshmallows; honestly how could you resist? The thought alone is just a bit exciting.
If you're in the area around breakfast time make sure to ask for the breakfast toastie. This secret toastie features bacon eggs and tomato and is priced at $6.90 along with the other toasties, but it's not on the menu so you'll have to ask for it.
Do yourself a favour and try this magnificence. It is an amazing creation that can be replicated at home too.
Cocktails abound and the straight spirit mixes such as martinis and sazeracs are proving to be the most popular. A decent wine list featuring predominantly South Australian wines is also a welcome sight after a long day at work. Keep an eye out for the late night specials and midnight happy hour. An impressive display of spirits and wine surrounds the board game collection so make sure to check it out if you still can't decide.
So which console will win out for you and your crew at your next gaming night; Sega or SNES? What's your favourite old school game? Feel free to bring along your own cartridge to play, or even donate it to the cause at Austin & Austin for others to enjoy.
A proper SNES set up is nothing without Mario Kart
We give the guys at Austin & Austin 4.5/5 Wanders for bringing our childhoods back to life and creating a wicked atmosphere to chill with friends over great soul food and super cool cocktails.
Where 1 Wander isn't worth getting off the couch for and 5 Wanders should leave a trail of dust in your wake: it's that good.