The Flinders Street Project is the brain child of Stewart Wesson, the former chef at Public CBD on Franklin Street. After serving his time at Public CBD and doing a research trip through Denmark, Stewart has branched out on his own at 276 Flinders Street with an upmarket, trendy and bustling café serving many traditional dishes with unique ingredients and serving plates.
Hidden beneath a block of apartments, we called in there recently for breakfast, and must say that we were very immediately impressed with the service. We had barely got ourselves seated when we were delivered a bottle of water, glasses, a menu and a request whether we would like any coffee to start with. Of course, was the immediate answer, and the orders went in, without the need to write down our requests.
Having had some bad experiences with the memory of waiting staff in the past in other establishments, I was a little sceptical as to what I may receive – but credit where it is due, the orders came out exactly as we had requested. Great coffee outlets are the exception in Adelaide, but the warmth, smell and taste of our coffees convinced us that we had found another one to add to the list of regulars.
The breakfast dishes then arrived. By all accounts, the Maple French Toast with whipped mascarpone, almonds and preserved cherries won the award for most satisfying dish of the day. The smooth syrup coupled with the cherries and mascarpone provided a sweet breakfast delicacy that was hard to consume in one sitting, but left one wanting more.
By contrast the Butter Croissant filled with prosciutto and swiss cheese was a simple variant on the traditional serve of ham and cheese. All ingredients were considered as fresh, with both the prosciutto and swiss cheese melting in the mouth in between conversations and sips of coffee. The serving plate of a block of wood was also slightly unique in Adelaide, but becoming more common fare in the gourmet or trendier cafes.
For sheer volume, the two eggs on sourdough with thick cut masterstock bacon took the prize. The bacon, at almost a centimetre was probably ten times the normal thickness, yet it fell away in the mouth as it was gradually eaten. The poached eggs were hidden under a mound of greens (and some purples), and gently oozed their yolk as each was pierced.
For me, eating my breakfast out of a jar was always going to be a novelty. I had seen jars arrive as a piece of crockery over the last year or two, and that had me amused from a distance. Now was a chance to satisfy my internal arguments about whether the food retains the same quality irrespective of the serving plate. The Bircher Muesli with raspberry, apples, seeds and nuts easily exceeded the quality test and satisfied my hunger. However I must say that my internal jury is still debating the merit of serving in a jar – the full jar meant that I didn't have an easy opportunity to "mix" the different ingredients, but rather I had to work through the serving jar from top to bottom.
One of the striking features about the café is the lack of wall space to hang any art pieces. So rather than not have any at all, Megan Roodenrys came to the rescue with an acoustically baffling ceiling installation known as Ten Thousand Spoons. Now I confess that I didn't count the actual number of wooden spoons, but by the looks of the ceiling, ten thousand wasn't going to be too far wrong. The ceiling was certainly very unique, and added enormously to the ambience of this up and coming café.
Ten Thousand Spoons by Megan Roodenrys - Steve Hudson
In addition to the normal breakfast and lunches, the Flinders Street Project is also open for the occasional Saturday Night Food Project Nights, which is code for a degustation dinner prepared by the Head Chef (Stewart) and delivered in combination with the Sommelier, Chris Sarandis. These popular nights are held at infrequent intervals and sell out very quickly as it is not often that you can get up close and personal with two of the best in the hospitality sector in Adelaide.
The Flinders Street Project is open from 7am-4pm on Monday to Thursday, 7am until late on Fridays, and 8am to 3pm on weekends. For further details on food specials and updates of special events refer to their website or to their facebook page.