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Published August 16th 2016
A 100% vegan food cafe with a community vibe
This café and coffee shop is in the centre of Port Adelaide's commercial precinct on St Vincent Street west. The name is an apt one, as the interior is really like a shack with mix matched furniture and a floor layout with the kitchen in the middle of the room. In a shack by the river or the beach, you would not have your finest things. You would have any old furniture, such as a shabby old sofa and Gran's old piano. And this place has them all. There is even Gran's succulents in terracotta pots dotted around the room which look like they are direct from someones back porch.There is nothing pretentious about this café.
The shack on the inside. Image by Out and About.
Step inside and you could pretend you are many miles away at a country beach or hiding from the world by a river somewhere. This place seems to suit my character. I feel comfortable here, yet as I sit surmising the place, I am tempted to go tidy things up. I want to move the boxes of drinks stacked on the floor right near the counter where people are wanting to order. And what creative covering could I make for that ugly sofa? And why is the rug not sitting under the coffee table properly? I feel like a judge on House Rules. This place would not be everyone's cup of tea. I go here for a lesson in mindfulness and trust that everything is OK just the way it is. Yes, this place is sure different to city cafes where they serve you without looking into your eyes.
The book for customers to doddle in. Image by Out and About.
They are a little different down here at the Port. Here are the bohemians, the artists and the old salties who have always lived close to the sea and the river and would never live anywhere else. Combined with the many office workers and the council right across the road makes for an eclectic mix, called community. And this is where the community hang out.
Arty type people have found a haven at this cafe and drift in and out discussing where their artworks are to be hung. There is always some sort of exhibition here, as the owner obviously supports local art.
This café has character and soul, and the patrons are characters just like Port Adelaide itself. I could safely say it is in my top 5 of cafe venues in Adelaide, and for anyone who reads my reviews, you will know how picky I am. When I find a place I like that has something for this fussy gluten-free eater, I tend to stick with it.
Lentil burger sitting on a retro laminex table. Image by Out and About.
Enough of aesthetics and onto the discussion of food. When I first discovered this place, I was very hungry having walked all over the heritage town of Port Adelaide. I devoured the rice balls with a fresh small salad, washed down with an organic bottled juice. Quick and easy. This place is perfect for a quick lunch, on a busy outing to the Port. I have since returned many times and can recommend the lentil burger. The menu, I would describe as hippy food. It's fresh and crunchy and just enough without stuffing yourself. The menu is small, but adequate, and very fresh and healthy. People on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets will be happy with the menu. And those who are not, will be satisfied also. There is also dairy free smoothies and organic tea and coffee. Biodynamic cow's milk is used for the coffee but you can go vegan if you wish.
The doodlers seem to like their coffee.- or maybe the tea. Image from the doodle book on the piano at Red Lime Shack. Image by Out and About.
I am not much of a coffee drinker, so I asked a customer who had staked her solitary claim on the prime spot of sofa, next to a coffee table by the window. She replied, "excellent" and promptly buried her head back into her book. She was fully absorbed in an hour of "me" time. Her partner had gone off to wander and chat to other locals. That's the type of place Red Lime Shack is; unrushed, no stress and no worries. No-one cares how long you stay. The position of the kitchen is this heritage shop, means you can see what is going on. There is a hand held menu which I like, as I loathe standing at a counter trying to decide.
The lady on the sofa. And the rug that needs straightening. Image by Out and About.
This café has such a community-minded approach, they are a participant in the worldwide movement of suspended coffee . They wouldn't turn anyone away here, as many snobby cafes in big cities have been reported in the past. This is a good place to come in a group. There is a row of Grandma's kitchen tables down one wall which sit 4-6 at each. Like Goldilocks, I swap the chairs around and find one that is just right. A group of 8 can be seated with some quick table moves. I would like to see one large table here for groups. There is room. Oh, there I go playing designer critic again.
The Suspended Coffee tally board at Red Lime Shack. Image by Out and About.
There is also seating outside on the footpath under a wide verandah, where you can watch the cars whizz by as they head for the corner to the bridge to Birkenhead. Ahh yes, there are more coffee venues further up the road at Semaphore. Cafes that squeeze you in like sardines and where you cannot hear each other talk. Places where you are obliged to eat, drink then run. But here at Red Lime Shack you can recharge, relax and well simply hang out and reclaim some "me" time. Port Adelaide is a unique part of Adelaide. Every visitor should skip Glenelg and come here to where the city began. And after the museums and the walking, do stop by the shack and hang out with the locals.
Sit in or out at the Red Lime Shack Cafe at the Port. Image by Out and About.