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If you live in Adelaide's suburbs it's good to have a relaxed cafe where you can pop in for lunch when you just can't be bothered making it yourself. Somewhere that can titillate your taste buds with some tempting treats, where you can have a leisurely lunch or brunch without worrying that someone else will need your table.
Places like King William Road are well supplied with cafes like these, and also sections of Goodwood and Unley Road. Even Colonel Light Gardens south of Adelaide now boasts its Bond & Lane Canteen, but west of Goodwood Road the colonies of cafes cafes all but disappear - until recently.
As I was navigating the "S" bend at the Black Forest tram crossing I noticed new signs of life in a pair of shops that had been hibernating for some time. The bold logo of the Tram Stop 4 Cafe caught my eye and I resolved to take a closer look.
After lining up a lunch partner (with a pair of cute kids), we set foot in the cafe to a friendly welcome. There were already a couple of people eating in the dining area, and joint owner Lauren asked whether the children would like to play with her daughter in a playground out the back. We took a look at the cosy area under the back verandah, and all four of us were unanimous that it was the place to sit.
While the kids played shop in "Lily's Boulangerie" play store, we settled for a serve of the large Tapas plate of the day at $16. At this point one of the attractions of the Tram Stop 4 became clear - we ended up with a plate that didn't much resemble either menu option, but was a delicious mix of nibbles.
Our plate came with prosciutto and another imported cured ham (whose name I can't remember), manchego cheese, herb tomatoes, dukka dip and hummus, pickled gherkins, sliced pear, and fresh crusty bread.
While we chatted and slowly worked our way through the tapas, the kids played happily and were occasionally joined by another customer's child. It was a pleasantly lazy and relaxed lunch, and we were isolated from tram and traffic noise at the front of the shop.
The friendly owners were happy to leave us in peace unless we needed something, and I greatly enjoyed the meal and the environment. I was so caught up in relaxing that I didn't take much notice of the art works displayed inside, nor did I explore other menu choices much. It's the sort of place where the menu isn't really fixed - you tell the guys what you'd like, and they do their best to bring something that appeals to you.
I did notice that freshly made sandwiches are available, quiche, and a selection of cakes, muffins and tarts. The Tram Stop 4 Cafe also clearly prides itself on its range of fine coffees.
My lunch partner settled for a double shot flat white coffee to finish, and when I declined coffee I was brought a small sample shot of chai latte to try. I was very pleasantly surprised by the sweet spicy flavours, although I'm still not a converted coffee addict.
The total bill for us came to $18 - it was a wonderfully cheap and enjoyable way to catch up for lunch, without the parking hassles of a shopping centre. There is space to park at the front of the shop, but given the amount of traffic it's much better to park at the rear of the Cafe.
If you live south of Adelaide, drop by to take a look at the Tram Stop Cafe. Bring your appetite and a friend for lunch or brunch, and it will be the first of many visits. This homely little cafe is set to become rather busier!