Broadsheet’s new book, Travels, is filled with the kind of recommendations you get from a local who knows the destination better than anyone, from postcard-perfect beaches and stunning day hikes to inspiring galleries and charming country pubs. In that spirit, we’re asking some of our talented friends across the country for their must-sees, must-dos, and must-eats in their hometowns (adopted or otherwise).
Popular artist Billie Justice Thomson’s a true Adelaide local. She’s lived there since she was born, bar a six-year stint in Melbourne. It’s also home to her studio, where she explores nostalgia through imaginative paintings of food and drink (think Minties and Killer Pythons). Find her works in the form of playful magnets and stickers, or as commissions – including most recently creative wine labels for Worlds Apart Wine.
To celebrate the release of Travels, here are Thomson’s must-sees, must-dos, and must-eats in Adelaide.
Thomson starts her day with a coffee at Market Street, across from the Adelaide Central Market. This airy cafe has D’Angelo Coffee, with tightly stacked shelves of McClure’s Pickles, Vegemite, duck and beetroot pate, and other Aussie goodies.
Also around the corner on Gouger Street is popular yum cha spot Star House. Thomson heads here for a late brekkie, and always grabs the bean curd skin rolls and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf when the trolley comes around.
The aforementioned Central Market is a great spot for snacks – or alternatively, an opportunity to walk off yum cha. “It’s tricky not to eat again immediately, but you can definitely just look at stuff and enjoy the market for what it is,” says Thomson.
For a late lunch only 15 minutes from the market, Thomson likes bright diner Herringbone.
“You can kind of eat however you like there … small or big,” says Thomson. “And they sell really beautiful [mostly] South Australian wines.
Her go-to dish, which has just been put back on the menu, is baked Bass Strait scallops with ’nduja, a hollandaise-like soubise sauce and nori butter. And she usually pairs this with a glass of bubbles.
Finish your day at old-school southern Italian institution Amalfi. Get the Spinaci pizza – topped with spinach, sopressa and chilli – which Thomson compares to “Roman-style pizza. Not a skinny Neapolitan-style of pizza, but that really generous, full-flavoured style.” It’s a great spot for local or Italian wines, too.
For afternoon beers, knock back a Coopers Pale Ale at the treasured Exeter Hotel. Built in 1851, Thomson says, “This is a most welcoming and non-fancy pub… for everybody, young and old.”
If you’re feeling a glass of natural wine, check out Loc Bottle Bar. Hidden away in the East End, this bottle shop and bar always has a “different and interesting rotation of wines” says Thomson. Inside, find 150-odd bottles of low-intervention wines (take your pick straight off the shelf), booze-free bottles of Non, and an electric-blue communal bar.
And for late-night cocktails, try newcomer Smokelovers. This wine and cocktail bar specialises in smoky Margaritas made with top-quality mezcal (Billie’s normally a spicy Marg fan, but Smokelovers has almost swayed her to the smoky side).
A walk through the Botanic Gardens will take you diagonally through the city, where you’ll spot two beautiful old glasshouses filled with incredibly rare plants and huge lily pads, and a conservatory that Thomson dubs “the big glass pastie” (it really does resemble the shape of the classic British pastry).
There are so many galleries to check out in town, but with limited time you could just visit the North Terrace precinct. Here, find the Art Gallery of South Australia (a must), the South Australian Museum, and the State Library – all within 200 metres of each other.
If you’ve got a bit more time, there’s also private art museum, The David Roche Foundation House Museum in North Adelaide. Roche was a wealthy collector of ceramics, paintings, and artefacts, who passed away in 2013 and left his home to the state. There are only two tours a day, but it’s an incredible place to visit, “filled with the most mind-boggling collection of things,” says Thomson.
Down in East End, all of Thomson’s favourite shops are on Ebenezer Place. There’s beautiful fashion label Yudu (known for its South Australian-made leather bags and accessories), fashion shop Naomi Murrell, and “rockabilly shop” Midwest Trader for vintage cowboy get-ups direct from the US.
Travels, published by Plum, retails for $54.99. The book is available through all good bookstores or for pre-order now at shop.broadsheet.com.au for expected shipping on October 25 (subject to change).