Discussing addiction might be taboo for some, but I’m here to tell you about a few of mine. The first is homewares. My pantry contains more flatware than it does food. Known to throw the occasional dinner party, I consider carefully curated platters to be the most critical part of presenting food. Next, is an addiction shared with many for centuries: coffee.
My third addiction – probably more of an obsession – has been influenced by many trips to Japan. My menu selections are often guided by the simple but specific methods and ingredients used to create the fresh, wholesome, balanced dishes of Japanese cuisine.
Crack Kitchen is not your typical cafe. Located in a former bank building in the centre of Adelaide’s CBD, this gorgeous spot has been pleasing the masses for the past five years. The ever-evolving menu is heavily influenced by classic Japanese ingredients and flavours.
It’s immediately clear that the team at Crack take their craft seriously, but also like to have fun. Their branding, social media and streetfront signage use cheeky slogans and wordplay that might be considered inappropriate if they weren’t so cheeky and entertaining. Not many venues can promote dealing ‘Crack’, but here they manage to get away with it.
The first taste of Asia comes as a tropical smoothie, with a mix of pineapple, mango, pawpaw and passionfruit offering a fresh blend of flavours. The tartness of this is muted by the addition of coconut milk culminating in a nicely balanced level of tang.
And then two traditional Japanese dishes come together in a simple but delicious snack. Crispy panko-coated chicken is juicy and tender, cooked katsu style and wedged between two thick slices of fresh white bread. A house-made tonkatsu sauce offers a balanced, savoury and fruity flavour. On the other side of the chicken fillet is kewpie mayonnaise that holds together lightly pickled cabbage in a coleslaw of sorts that gives freshness to this otherwise rich sandwich. The surprising addition of shaved bonito flakes is what really sets this version apart from other katsu competitors – the dried salty fishy flakes provide seasoning, crunch and an explosion of flavour with each bite.
Next is another dish presented with Japanese flair. A miso paste spread across the base of the plate is topped with a toasted sourdough slice that is slathered in tasty creamed corn and piled high with nicely poached eggs and spears of asparagus that have barely touched the grill. Diced spring onion and shoots of dill add freshness and crunch to this bright and flavourful dish that has been seasoned with nori gomasio – a simple but delicious seasoning blend made using sesame and nori seaweed that provides a pleasant salty and umami balance.
While I’ve angled in on their Asian-fusion items, Crack’s menu also features more typical brunch and lunch dishes. Paying homage to the former use of the building, ‘The Vault’ is Crack’s version of the build-it-yourself bacon and sides breakfast. They also lean towards the Mediterranean with options such as Masala scrambled eggs with feta, grilled tomatoes and cumin-infused crackers. There’s also a wagyu beef burger or, for something sweet, a sourdough vanilla waffle with sorbet and chocolate drizzled with salted caramel.
For those on the go, the pastry cabinet is packed with sweet and savoury treats from Abbots & Kinney, with in-house coffee roasts to accompany.
A carefully curated short-but-sweet list of some of SA’s recognisable and approachable wines is propped up by a selection of unique brews thanks to their friends at Little Bang Brewery.
13 Franklin Street, Adelaide
(08) 8410 1407
Weekdays 7:30am – 3pm
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