Dive into the city’s diverse menu of city eateries and you’ll quickly discover that heritage and food make a fine pairing in Adelaide. Here’s an entrée size sample of places to enjoy a meal that are rich in flavour and history.
131 – 133 King William St, Adelaide
Adelaide is home to an abundance of successful projects where heritage listed buildings have found new life and purpose via a different use, all without losing their historic character and significant fabric. Electra House is just one example.
Built in 1901 for the Citizens’ Life Assurance Co., this three-storey gem has a rich red granite façade featuring garlanded Corinthian columns and two stern-looking ‘giants’ beside its entry. It was the work of architect John Quinton Bruce, who also designed the North Adelaide mansion ‘Carclew’.
The building wasn’t known as Electra House until 1940 when its then owners, the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Co. Ltd, re-named it after the legendary Greek figure, Electra, ‘the bright one’. Unoccupied for some 20 years, Electra House reopened in 2015 following an extensive renovation and once again shines in the cityscape.
Offering indoor and outdoor drinks service at its Chamber and Garden Bars, lush booth-style lounging in the new Post Masters Quarters (PMQ), delicious Asian-inspired eats at its Level One Restaurant and a function space – there’s a new experience waiting at every visit.
The vibe is modern, but charm abounds in the 30 ft (six-metre) high ceilings, ornate wall panelling, tessellated tiles and timber balustrades. It also boasts the city’s first electric lift, installed in 1905, complete with hemp ropes.
118 Hindley St, Adelaide
Occupying a section of West’s Coffee Palace, an iconic West End State Heritage place, Apothecary is a chic wine bar and restaurant that’s been a haven for seekers of fine food and beverages since 2002.
Coffee Palaces started to spring up in Australia in the 1880s. They were basically hotels that didn’t serve alcohol and were grand, elaborately decorated buildings. This one started life as the Austral Stores, designed
by A.S. Conrad in 1903 in an Edwardian-style. Characterised by stuccoed decoration, brick, Marseilles tiles and twin three-storey towers, it first housed a Coffee Palace in 1909 (Grant’s), before becoming West’s Coffee Palace in 1919.
Complementing Apothecary’s heritage exterior and enticing European-inspired menu, is an elegant interior fit-out. Classic Thonet bentwood chairs pair with marble and brass dining tables from which you can gaze at the incredible 140-year-old mahogany pharmacy cabinets which inspired the venue’s name and grace the front bar.
With multiple dining spaces, including a mezzanine level and a rustic cellar you’ll share with some 1,200 bottles, Apothecary is where class meets comfort in the best possible way.
The Greek on Halifax
75 – 79 Halifax St, Adelaide
This much-loved family-run restaurant serves creative, contemporary Mediterranean cuisine.
Finding it is easy – just look for the 38m tall chimney that rises majestically from behind a pretty pocket of brolly-shaded street seating. The chimney and the former disinfector building in which The Greek sits, are the only surviving elements of the City of Adelaide’s once busy City Destructor Complex.
Completed in 1910, this Complex had many parts: a refuse Destructor that processed most of Adelaide’s rubbish, a tin bailing press, clinker paver mill,
brewery, flour mill and biscuit factory, mortar mill, boot and vinegar factories and a flag making plant.
The Destructor operated until the early 1950s. Steam from its furnaces was used to disinfect laundry, for a guinea (one pound and one shilling) per van load, including an electric iron pressing service. The site is The Greek’s home today.
Click here to discover a range of other places to wine and dine in the city, from rooftops to basements and everywhere in-between.