A number of memories conjure up from childhood. Do you remember those times when you could walk to your local corner deli and grab your bare essentials and the weekend paper, all while having a conversation with the family who owned it? It was a time when life was a little bit more laidback and lazy on weekends, without the rush and hubbub while constantly being on the clock.
While delis have gradually dissolved from the suburban landscape around Australia, one such place has revived that family corner deli vibe while taking on a refreshed form. In the neighbourhood of Norwood on the perimeter of Adelaide's central business district is the 100% vegan locale The Lost Deli
The popular vegan café, accessible by bus and a short walk if travelling from the CBD, is also a cornerstone in Norwood's history. This organic vegan food-stop is owned by Marco Santos who, along with his mum Cristina and father Nelson, revived the 136-year-old general store back in in 2017. Now, The Lost Deli creates a delicious takeaway and dine-in menu to keep the locals nourished and full.
The Lost Deli retains a hold of its history by featuring an original delicatessen sign that hangs above the entryway. Patrons are drawn to the corner café by the sign as well as its logo painted on the sidewall. The interior is fresh and bright, illuminated by hints of green décor throughout the space. The narrow veranda houses intimate table settings for those who want to drink their brew in the mid-morning sunshine while admiring the lush plane trees lining Charles Street. The entire scene oozes relaxation and calm and the staff encourages its patrons to sit, sip and eat at their own leisure. If patrons do need to pack for the road, there are ample choices of takeaways to choose from.
Arriving to friendly faces and warm greetings are what brings the family feels to The Lost Deli and it's easy to strike up a conversation with the staff. It's one of The Lost Deli's natural strengths that remind patrons of community spirit and family hospitality. It's hard not to have a lengthy discussion around menu options, recommendations and favourites; trying to choose what to have is the only dilemma. Patrons are encouraged to order a coffee to help ease the procrastination. Again, there's no rush – brunch is served until 2.30pm and lunch overlaps it from 11.30am. Here at The Lost Deli, vegans (and non-vegans) who are coeliac are also catered for with a decent selection of tempting choices.
The Lost Deli's kitchen staff is more than obliging to make a stack of vegan gluten-free pancakes to please those with a sweet brunch tooth. There is a smidge of a longer wait though, but it doesn't matter; more time to sip a coffee and enjoy the green ambience surrounding the outdoor veranda. Once the pancakes arrived, they are generous in size, and gorgeously piled with segments of poached pears, lashings of plant-based yoghurt and maple syrup then topped by a scattering of candied nuts and a string of edible flowers.
For those patrons who are seeking a heartier choice, there's The Biggest Breakfast – a plate loaded with fluffy scrambled tofu, slices of toast, sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes, hash-browns, vegan sausage and fresh spinach. Once patrons devour this choice, they are set for the day without a need or want of food for the remainder of the day.
From the friendliness of its family-run ethic to its comforting and generous meals and exquisite coffee, there's no excuse to not try The Lost Deli. It's a heartfelt and tasty gem in Adelaide's suburbs, and in the city's thriving vegan food scene.