Like so many great ideas, Feast on Foot in Adelaide was born purely out of personal passion. As a renowned local foodie and lover of street art, owner Caitlin Hillson was forever recommending new eateries or arty nooks to family and friends to check out.
Then, husband Terry suggested that Caitlin start a tour showing guests to the city her latest culinary and street art finds. The Feast on the Street tour was born, and Caitlin hasn’t looked back. With a maximum of 12 guests, the tour is generally booked out every week (and Feast on Dumplings has recently been launched).
So what can you expect from this experience? Firstly to Adelaide’s flourishing street art scene, which falls largely under the protective wing of a local government department know as Splash Adelaide (http://splashadelaide.com.au) that has been charged with the task of bringing the city’s streets and laneways to life.
Street artists have been commissioned across the city to breathe new life into some pretty dodgy streetscapes. But don’t for one moment think this patronage makes the art any less edgy – or vulnerable. Street art is inherently fragile. Across the city (and this tour goes for three hours so you do cover quite a bit of ground) we get to enjoy an amazing array of artistic labours of love that in a sense have no future.
Government department or no government department, street art must survive on its own merits in a harsh and unrelenting environment. Vandals, weather, pollution and late night revelers all take their toll. And official efforts to try and protect street art can often be disastrous.
Like Melbourne City Council’s attempt in 2008 to preserve Bansky’s priceless Little Diver by covering it with a Perspex cover. Vandals poured silver paint down behind the cover and defaced the work. These works can literally be here one day and gone the next. But as Caitlin points out, that’s one of the most exciting elements of street art. Something new is always just around the corner.
On to the food component of this tour and it’s an eclectic mix of styles. Whether by design or quite by accident, most of the eats we try could loosely be classified as street food (well, you could certainly munch on it with one hand while on the move if you wanted to).
We kick things off at Munooshi Cafe (http://www.munooshicafe.com) in the East End for a taste of the Middle East. The munooshi is a style of Arabic pizza – thin dough topped with a savoury mix of ingredients (such as minced lamb and spices), folded in half and toasted. This family-run affair offers a welcoming aroma of spices to greet you and delicate flavours to enjoy. We’re off to a good start.
On to Steven ter Horst Chocolatier on Rundle http://www.steventerhorst.com.au), which is a real treat. These guys use the finest Belgium chocolate infused with a variety of local ingredients to create some sensational sweet delights. Expect the unexpected here.
Next stop the Michiru Sushi Bar in Regent Arcade. Fabulous. Lots of colour, fresh and flavoursome, and the sushi chefs are right there hard at work loading up the non-stop sushi train. All-inclusive feasters can take their pick of three plates. We’re now feeling very full, but it’s far from over.
We pass the much-loved Rundle Mall pigs (inspired by Florence’s Il Porcellino) enroute to Sit Lo Vietnamese cafe in Bank Street off Hindley (http://sitlo.com.au) . With an emphasis on fresh and fast Vietnamese with no MSG, the delicate baos or steamed buns with Barossa Valley pork belly are sensational.
With a detour through the revitalised Topham Mall, we end up at Adelaide’s buzzing Central Market. I’m expecting our fifth and final stop to be here, but no, we continue on through the bustling market to Gouger Street and the deliciously pink BTS Café (http://www.btscafe.com.au) for a final sweet treat of coffee and cupcake. The rich Belgian chocolate option known as ‘Mr Big’ is one of the cafe’s most popular mainstays, and who am I to argue.
‘It's a really exciting time to be in Adelaide’, says Caitlin. ‘We've always had excellent wine but now we're shaking off the boring reputation and really surging forward with an open-minded feeling of community, good times, food and fun’. Again, I can’t argue with that.
All in all, Feast on Foot is a merry dance to the unique beat of Adelaide’s city streets – full of surprises from start to finish. As is usually the case with these things, you just need to know where to look.
Adam Ford is a travel presenter, writer, blogger, commentator and editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide – www.thebigbus.com.au
Adam travelled as a guest of Feast on Foot. For more details and bookings visit www.feastonfoot.com.
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