He's judged South Australia's top 100 wines and now Banjo Harris Plane reveals where he loves to eat, drink, relax and play.
BY BANJO HARRIS PLANE
I grew up in Adelaide - went to school there, first job, first girlfriend, all the usual stuff. It will always be home, even though I don’t live there anymore. It’s where I’m from, and I say that with pride.
Bigger isn’t always better, and a sense of belonging and welcome always comes over me when I return. Here's some of my favourite places in Adelaide. Sure, a few of them revolve around eating and drinking, but I can think of worse ways to pass the time.
Adelaide fine dining went through a rough patch about five years ago – but those days are gone. From the quintessentially Australian Orana, to the South African-influenced madcap wonder that is Africola, to the genteel and refined Magill Estate, Adelaide has destination restaurants that draw in Sydneysiders and Melbournians alike.
These are wonderful places, but there’s just as much joy to be had for a fraction of the cost. Don’t miss both Asian Gourmet and Malacca Corner in the Central Market for excellent laksa and popiah. Either location of Parwana (city or Torrensville) offers probably the best Afghan food you’ve ever eaten. Etica does superb pizza, Press does excellent wine-friendly food and Ying Chow is the go-to late night Chinese spot in the city.
Ebenezer Place and Vardon Lane is one of the best and most eclectic strips in the city. You can get a haircut, a beer, cowboy boots, ugg boots, a new bike and the latest creations from Australia’s leading designers. My pick however is down the East Terrace end, where staple wine-store East End Cellars has expanded to offer one of the city's best wine bars, Mothervine. A great selection of local and international beverages, with stellar service to back it up.
Mothervine, in Adelaide's East End, is one of the city's new wine bars.
Adelaide is blessed to have a real, traditional public house of the calibre of The Wheatsheaf Hotel. They serve the greatest selection of beer in the state, possibly Australia. Live music happens more than once a week, and there’s not a pokie machine to be seen. You’re as likely to see families as you are a bunch of lads knocking back a few. This is my kind of meeting place.
The Jam Factory is an amazing not-for-profit organization, based on Morphett Street, that has been in operation for over 40 years. Incorporating a retail showroom, glass blowing facilities and numerous studios that cover ceramics, metalwork and furniture design among other disciplines. Unwaveringly devoted to the education and promotion of Australian designers and craftspeople, it’s a great place to visit, learn and shop.
The Museum of Economic Botany is an amazing space I only recently discovered, but can’t stop talking about it. Nestled deep in the Botanic Gardens in the city centre, this museum was opened in 1881 and has operated continuously since then. It’s a paean to plants, both past and present. Unique in the world, some of the permanent exhibits are captivating, educational and beautiful – a rare trio. Difficult to describe the inspiration of this place – just go there.
Adelaide’s recent spate of small bar and restaurant openings coincided with the redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval, and the relocation of all AFL matches to there. The centralisation of these events has re-energised the city centre, which now bustles on weekends. The Oval itself is as glorious as ever, the refurbishment sensitive to the Hill and its iconic scoreboard. A fitting new home for the mighty Port Adelaide Football Club!
A day at the beach
I was lucky enough to grow up on Tennyson beach. You’d go down there on any given Sunday in the height of summer, look both ways down the unending ribbon of sand, and more than likely see about 20 other people, tops. Try finding a spot at Bondi or Brighton at a similar time of year. I’ve been saying it for a while, and getting looks of pity or derision in return, but Adelaide has the best beaches of any city in Australia.
* Banjo Harris Plane is co-founder of Real Wines and was also the chief judge and creative director of Hot 100 Wines South Australia 2015.