– by Tiarne Cook
As people seek respite from the busy Adelaide CBD, many, in their haste, unknowingly pass by a hidden haven of flavour. Its style is as beautifully simple as the little a-frame sign, waiting patiently on its doorstep, asking locals for their homegrown fruit and vegetables.
This sign belongs to Minestra, or more accurately, Sandy Cenin, the brains behind the refurbished little corner store that boasts hearty breakfasts, wholesome lunches and an array of delicate homemade sweet treats, all complemented by some seriously punchy coffee.
Minestra, however, is not your average Saturday morning post-workout destination; there is no Synesso, no almond milk on the menu and no lackluster gluten-free goop. Just real food, served simply. Sandy takes inspiration from his Southern Italian heritage – Calabria to be exact – hoping to create a sense of community through food, merely asking locals to share their homegrown goods and in return he provides simple, tasty dishes, prepared with passion and love.
The menu is constantly changing, scrawled across black boards on the right-hand wall. The space is light, airy and fresh, fitted with vintage light-shades. It’s the right amount of greenery and a large communal table.
After deciphering the menu, with the help of knowledgeable floor-staff, I opt for a serve of grilled quail with pickled cumquats and a rustic cannellini bean salad ($21), and a serve of the fennel braised pork belly with risotto povero (baked rice, spinach and onion, $20).
Each portion is generous, subtly flavored and utterly delicious – tangy citrus tones balanced with deep aniseed sweetness. The simplicity of the dishes allows the fresh, local ingredients to shine, each morsel recognizable on your palate.
As I sip at the last of my long black, Sandy scuttles over for a chat, clearing away the empty plates – an obvious sign that the meal has been enjoyed. My mind wanders to the sweets selection; homemade lemon curd tart, salted caramel pecan brownies, Tarta Santiago (almond cake) and what looks like freshly-baked jam scrolls topped with thick icing. They really are a must!
Minestra, with its refreshing dedication to quality ingredients and unwavering vision, offers customers something so rarely found – the chance to be apart of a community, to delight in a little Calabrian culture.
ADDRESS: 123 Churchill Road, Prospect, Adelaide
HOURS: Wednesday-Sunday 7.30am-4pm