From breakfast pizza to house-made crumpets and lobster Benedict on brioche, the revitalised Atlas Continental is the Central Market breakfast and brunch stop of choice for visitors returning in droves to the CBD.
New chef Missy Belmont has created the menu, inspired by food-truck-style eateries, for customers to grab-and-go as they walk the market. Belmont was previously the chef at Market neighbour The Big Table for 14 years.
Earlier this year, when she heard Atlas Continental owner Marty Marinelli was planning a renovation, the opportunity to create the menu and operate the new pizza oven lured her across the lane.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Atlas underwent a complete renovation – the stall’s first upgrade in 25 years. The timing was a fluke, as the long-planned project began within a fortnight of restrictions coming into effect.
With the shopfront now back open, the kitchen’s hero item is the new wood oven located at the front of the prominent stall, where visitors can watch the chefs in action.
“We’ve got such a good position in the market, so why not make the most of it?” Belmont says. “I enjoy being able to cook while facing out to this corner — there’s a theatre to it with people watching what we’re doing.”
Atlas Continental was established by Tony Marinelli in 1979 and is today owned and operated by son Marty, whose brother Marco runs The Mushroom Man just a few stalls down.
Marco supplies Atlas with boxes of mushrooms — including oyster, shiitake, and swiss — which end up on the Fungi Fun pizza. There’s also a house-made ragu that makes use of five types of mushrooms.
“The brothers are such iconic traders, so it’s great that our mushroom ragu and mushroom pizza are already going so well. They’re a product of the brotherhood,” Belmont says.
In its first Saturday trading, Atlas did 45 breakfasts, including about a dozen breakfast pizzas. The pizzas are topped with Italian sausage, bacon, egg, cheese and herbs. Other brekkie options include house-made crumpets, an omelet cone, baked breakfast potatoes and Dutch pancakes.
Once breakfast service is over, the pizza oven churns out its lunch dishes, including seven different pizza options, as well as soup, baked spuds, baguettes and brioche buns. Atlas also continues to offer a deli section of continental and gourmet foods, including freshly baked bread, cheese, sweet treats and coffee.
A coconut yoghurt panna cotta offers a vegan take on the classic yoghurt and muesli breakfast.
“I’m really proud of that,” Belmont says. “It comes with a tahini toasted muesli, so it’s quite a healthy option that’s also really delicious and different. We’ll keep that seasonal with some berries, or at the moment we’ve got some Moscato-poached pears.”
With two children of her own, Belmont has created some special kids’ dishes, which she trialled at home during the coronavirus shutdown.
“The home-made crumpets have also been super popular. We’re doing them with some fantastic Beerenberg jams. When I was trialling the menu at home, I was making them every day because I love crumpets!”
Marinelli says he had been planning the fit-out for more than a year, with an ongoing hunt to find the perfect pizza oven to fit the tight space of the market stall. A new walk-in fridge and freezer have been installed upstairs, replacing a ground-level cool room that took up valuable real estate.
“These shops are difficult to renovate because they’re so small; every centimetre’s valuable real estate,” says Marinelli.
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