I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/Down-to-Earth-Tours-1491827191071798/
Published May 6th 2017
Surprising Sturt Street
I find it interesting when you visit some of the lesser known streets in Adelaide's CBD and discover some gems, whether they be food and wine nooks, exotic businesses or historic reminders of our past.
One such street is Sturt Street, named after Captain Charles Sturt, the renowned navigator and explorer of Australia's river systems, which runs between West Terrace and King William Street in the south-west corner of the city.
During my sauntering along the street, I discovered 9 spots that attracted my attention amongst the many other finds, if you take the time to explore the area.
The thing that really surprised me about Sturt Street was the number of food and refreshment establishments along its length.
Ladle of Love, a cafe/deli have a slogan which states " Food made with Love" which refers to their premise of preparing fresh home-made food - "real food for real people".
Of recent times they have offered specials such as Roast Pork and Gravy on Brioche Sliders, Kransky Dogs, or home-made flat bread with Tandoori.
If you are into mouth-watering desserts, they also have a fantastic range to choose from, in all shapes and sizes, as well as fillings, such as Mars Bar Brownies, Lamingtons, home-made Viennese fingers and the list goes on. Not to mention the great coffee on offer.
Their prices are good also, for example, Chicken Schnitzel, Chips and Gravy for $9.90, a Steak Sandwich or Hamburger with Chips and a Soft Drink for $10.90 - excellent value!
Ladle of Love is open from Monday to Friday between 6.30 am and 3.30 pm. They are located at 207 Sturt Street.
The CBD is still extremely fortunate to have public schools available for their children to attend, considering that Sturt Street Community School at one stage in its history did close down for a while (from 1996 until 2003), re-opening after community outcry.
The school goes back a long way, first established in 1883 as one of the four city model schools in the CBD. The concept of model schools at that time stemmed from having inexperienced or newly appointed teachers to have somewhere to attend training for teaching.
The school was first known as the City Model School, opening with 821 students, and two years later in 1885 became known as Sturt Street Public School. Due to a declining city population during the 1930's, most of the CBD schools closed apart from Gilles Street Primary and this school.
The multicultural feel and make-up of the school started with post-war migration of the Greek community and later in the 1980's with those from the South-East Asian region.
It was due to declining enrolments that the school originally closed in 1996, however with relief the school was resurrected, re-opening in Term 1 during 2004. The original focus was on birth to Year 3, however, in subsequent years has extended right through to Year 7.
In the shadow of the Adelaide Mosque, on the corner of Little Gilbert Street and Sturt Street lies a shop decorated with all things Moroccan - you don't even feel you are in Adelaide but more like a bazaar in North Africa.
The shop sells anything from homewares, rugs, clothing, prints etc and was the site of an old drapers shop, with upper terrace style architecture. The beautiful Moroccan Pattina tiles are eye-catching and colourful and if you are looking for something unique for decorating your home, then you just may find it here.
They also specialise in Islamic clothing for younger University students as well as for others.
The shop is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm.
Just along Sturt Street nearby lies the old chemist shop, still adorned with the mortar and pestle symbol, which was once occupied by the renowned Mahomet Allum, an Afghan cameleer who came out to Australia originally to work in the outback as a camel driver, miner and trader.
Allum eventually moved down to Adelaide and set up his business as a herbalist in 1928 in Sturt Street. Many people during his time as a supplier of alternative medicine benefited from his home-made remedies, although there were some who defamed him by calling him a "quack" and a "faith-healer".
Allum did return to Afghanistan in 1953 but returned with his daughter after his wife sadly passed away from smallpox. Allum died in 1964.
Why have I chosen to write about a firm of monumental masons? No, I don't have a morbid fascination for headstones, however S D Tillett have been around for over 140 years, supplying not just fine masonry for headstones but also other memorials and South Australian landmarks.
John Tillett was the first family member to migrate to South Australia as a stonemason and his grandson, Stephen started up S D Tillett Memorials Pty Ltd in the mid-1900's.
The stone is all fine quality granite and marble, a lot of it Australian and some imported from Europe. The craftsmanship of a stone-mason is to be truly admired and revered.
Stephen's son, Christopher still continues to run the company on the very same site on the corner of Sturt Street and West Terrace, where his great-grandfather, John first set up business.
It will be interesting to see the continued success of the company in light of gradual changing views regarding death and burials by many people and questions over whether a permanent memorial will be a thing of the past.
Cantina Sociale is essentially and foremost a wine bar which also offers tapas plates to complement the many wines on offer. Their mantra is all about focussing what is in the glass rather than the specific producers, packaging or how many points the wine has been awarded.
Cantina Sociale source their wine from single barrels derived from tiny plots of vines located around South Australia.
Examples of their Tapas menu includes Chicken Pate served with warm French Brioche for $10, Duck Rillettes served with a fresh baguette for $12, and Beef Brisket Baby Burger, which is slow cooked beef, cornichons, chipotle mayo and baby cos on a mini ciabatta roll for $8. There are also platters, nibbles and desserts available.
The Cantina is open from Wednesdays to Sundays, 4 pm until late. They also host special events with guest chefs throughout the year, details of which can be obtained from their websit www.cantinasociale.com.au
Cantina Sociale also host private functions catering up to 35 people. You can find them at 108 Sturt Street in the city.
The Vietnamese Laundry specialises in street food as well as being a bar, inspired by the back street bars of Vietnam and street food vendors.
All things of an authentic Vietnamese nature, the menu is varied and tempting, with some examples being Vietnamese Pork Meat Balls for $12, Spicy Chicken Wings for $10 or a chopping board to share for $35, comprising of pork ribs, prawns, steam bun and soft shell crabs with a salad.
For those of you who prefer a nourishing Banh Mi, there are several types on offer for around $6.50.
The Vietnamese Laundry is open from 10.30 am to 3 pm Monday to Thursday with Fridays also having extended hours from 5 pm until midnight and Saturdays 12 pm until 3 pm.
You will find Vietnamese Laundry at 152 Sturt Street.
East of Norman Kitchen & Bar offers the whole gamut of meals from breakfast, lunch as well as dinner. Starting with breakfast they offer an interesting selection of heart-starters including Roasted Sweet Corn Churros, Chili Jam and Poached Eggs for $12. In fact, most of their breakfast menu will set you back the same price, apart from an odd few enhancements, which add value to your final bill.
If you prefer lunch, you will not be disappointed by what is on offer including a Cioppino (Fish stew) prepared San Francisco style - a mixed seafood stew with crusty sourdough for $22. There are quite a few vegetarian options, as well as a Wagyu Cheeseburger with chips for $20.
For dinner, the menu has a lot of share plate and supper options as well as pizzas and some fine desserts, including an infused Creme Brulee with ice cream for $15. Main course prices vary between $12 and $22.
Opening times for East of Norman are 7.30 am until 4 pm Monday to Thursdays, 7.30 am until 11.45 pm on Fridays, and 8.00 am until 11/11.45 pm Saturdays and Sundays. They are located at 44 - 48 Sturt Street.
The Kings Head Hotel, on the corner of Sturt Street and King William Street, goes right back to 1848, however the current building on the site is from 1876. Local Glen Osmond stone was used when building and the original plan included 3 private residences with frontages to both Sturt Street and King William Street.
Being close to the law courts, there were reports that many years ago, during some important court cases, jurors were locked up overnight in the hotel.
Today the hotel is still thriving, albeit without locked up jurors, and offers some good solid pub fare.
If you are a fan of the good old Pie Floater, you will find them on offer here, however slightly fancier and much more expensive than the ones you used to buy at the traditional pie carts. These include a Murraylands Brisket braised with Mushroom, Caramelised Onion and Winter Veg floating in green pea soup and Beerenberg Chutney for $22.
The Kings Head also offers grazing plates for $25 and counter meals for $20, and desserts for $12. They also offer specials across different days of the week ranging from $10 to $20.
Although I have written about this cafe in another article about Whitmore Square, it is worth mentioning again as an important addition to the ambience and streetscape of Sturt Street.
Facing onto Whitmore Square, Cafe Troppo is all about sustainability, community and the environment, which reflects in how they source their produce, prepare their food and run their establishment.
The coffee, for example, is roasted up in Magill and the milk is local bio-dynamic milk from Paris Creek as well as organic Australian soy. The tea is hand blended in the Barossa Valley, which shows the business's strong support and belief in local business.
The menus are seasonal, with the current Autumn weekend menu offering breakfasts between $9 and $17. Cafe Troppo also have a mouth-watering lunch menu ranging from salads, pot-pies and pasties, pizzas to fresh or toasted sandwiches and wraps. Prices vary between $12 to $16.
Cafe Troppo is open 7.30 am until 4 pm Tuesday to Thursdays, 7.30 am until late on Fridays, 7.30 am until 6 pm on Saturdays and 7.30 am until 4 pm on Sundays.
Apart from the selection of varied eating establishments, Sturt Street will show you what life might have been like for the working class back in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century with its scattering of worker's cottages, row houses and a few terrace homes.
Another fine example of a little-known street of the CBD worth exploring and investigating.
I have a feeling that the Old Chemist Shop became the Blue Danube/Cafe Restaurant in the 1950's,run by a man by the name of Steiner who was Hungarian.It later became an Italian Restaurant called "Asio" and later became a Gypsy Restaurant where they held Tarot Readings.Back in the 1950's Sturt St. had a reputation as a "Red Light" district.Mahomet's cures..particularly for stomach ailments, was recognized by doctors and patients were referred to him.His burial attracted one of the largest crowds ever seen.