Review: Indulge in a visual and culinary feast on an Adelaide food and street art walking tour
Street art may be the bugbear of many a local authority, but Adelaide has embraced it in an effort to revitalise the city’s no-go zones. That’s brought with it an explosion of hip street food outlets. Experience the best of the art and eats on this amazing walking tour. Review: Adam Ford
Adelaide Food and Street Art Walking Tour with Feast on Foot
Enjoy a delicious mix of culinary delights and visit eclectic street art-scapes on this fabulous small group walking tour of Adelaide’s CBD. Taste a diverse range of sweet and savoury bites, and enjoy your guide’s commentary on the street art that adorns walls across the inner city. Duration: 3.5 hours (approx.)
It’s difficult to decide what should get top billing on Feast on Foot’s Adelaide food and street art walking tour — the food or the art.
Both are extraordinary, and often the food is almost as visually stunning as the street art — not to mention how good it tastes. As clichéd as it sounds, this experience — which sees guests traversing the backstreets and byways of the South Australian capital with a local guide — is a feast for all five senses.
Like so many great ideas, this Adelaide food and street art walking tour evolved out of personal passion. As a renowned foodie and lover of street art, owner Caitlin Hillson was forever recommending new eateries or arty nooks to family and friends to check out. Husband Terry finally suggested that Caitlin start a tour showing guests to the city her latest culinary and street art finds, and she hasn’t looked back. With a maximum of 12 guests, Feast on the Street is generally booked out every week.
There are two options for ‘feasters’ — the tour only option where you buy your own food along the way, or the all-inclusive option where Caitlin organises all the food tastings for you. My advice: go the all-inclusive. It’s excellent value.
So what can you expect on this Adelaide food and street art walking tour? Well, first to the city’s flourishing street art scene, which falls largely under the protective wing of a local government department know as Splash Adelaide, which has been charged with the task of bringing the city’s streets and laneways to life. And it’s doing a damn fine job it has to be said. Street artists have been commissioned across the city to breathe new life into some pretty dodgy streetscapes.
However, 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 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. 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 actual culinary component of these Adelaide food tours and it’s a good variety of styles. Whether by design or 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 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 greets you with a tantalising aroma of spices, followed by delicate flavours to enjoy. We’re off to a good start.
On to Steven ter Horst Chocolatier on Rundle, 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. 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 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, these Adelaide food and street art tours are a merry dance to the unique beat of the city’s 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 editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, parts of South America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the Tour the World travel TV series on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hoi An.