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Lunch review: Fair Espresso Central Market


Amid the vigorous debate over Adelaide food trucks, Fair Espresso shows how a mobile operation can successfully make the transition to a bricks and mortar business.

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Matt and Rose Lazarus, of James Place cafe Fair Espresso, have just opened a second and three-times-larger Fair Espresso Café at the Victoria Square entrance of the Adelaide Central Market, activating an area previously used mainly by smokers and the occasional busker.

“We wanted to bring our own laneway vibe to the area, like we have in James Place,” says Matt. “We thought that entrance to the market lacked a bit of pizzazz previously.”


Fair Espresso Central Market is located at the entrance to the Central Market Arcade. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

In his former role with Coffex Coffee, Matt Lazarus learnt the ins and outs of the coffee business, from importing beans to retail service.

“I found out that there can be exploitation in overseas markets and when I started Fair Espresso I was confident we would succeed but didn’t want our success to be made off the back of other people’s exploitation.”

Fair Espresso cafes now stock only beans sourced from organic and Fairtrade sellers, and in 2013 the James Place cafe was named Fairtrade Café of the Year.

It started as a single mobile coffee cart in 2009, then quickly grew to three. After winning the contract to serve coffee at the Royal Adelaide Show, the Lazaruses  knew there was demand for their product and presentation.


Fair Espresso Central Market interior. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Fair Espresso now draws clients from the nearby Hilton Adelaide (including the occasional celebrity guest) and the law courts, as well as visiting tourists and market goers keen to get caffeinated before their shopping trips.

Its all-day breakfast and lunch menu is affordably priced and the portion sizes are generous. With a much larger kitchen than the James Place outlet, the Central Market cafe is able to provide a variety of cooked options.


Zucchini and haloumi fritters. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Favourite dish: Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters ($15.50). Buckwheat zucchini fritters with herbs and spices, topped with grilled haloumi, avocado, rocket and “Rosies Relish” (vegetarian and gluten-free). The fritters are a bit spicy, which contrasts nicely with the smooth texture of the avocado and melted haloumi. This is a really good-value and healthy lunch option; the relish is fresh and sweet, and it comes on the side so you can add it as you go.


New York Reuben Sandwich. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Other lunch options: Fair Espresso serves a range of toasted sandwiches from the simple but good-quality Classic Toasty with B-d Farm biodynamic and organic cheese, tomato and smoked ham on organic sourdough ($7.50) to the slightly naughty New York Rueben with pastrami beef, sauerkraut, organic cheese, dill pickle and aioli ($9.50).


Fresh cold-pressed juices. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Something sweet / to drink: Fair Espresso also offers specialty coffees, including cold drip; a range of smoothies ($9.50) with the option to add a superfood shot of chia, spirulina, goji or maca ($1 extra each); and five types of organic cold-press juice ($8.50 each), with ginger a key ingredient in most.

Fair Espresso Central Market
1a Central Market Arcade, Adelaide, 8231 4186
Open Monday to Saturday, 7.30am to 3pm (Fridays 7.30am to 5pm)


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