Remember the ill-fated gum tree at Burnside Village? The team at Bloom, a new eatery and function space from the Peter Rabbit crew which opened today in Thebarton, hopes the tree they’ve brought inside won’t meet the same fate.
“Well, touch wood, [ours has] only been here for about a week,” says co-owner Jack Nelligan, who runs Bloom along with James McIntyre, Jackson Bennett and James Lambert. “Let’s hope it survives. It’s nowhere near as big.”
As for touching wood – there’s a lot of it around. The Sans-Arc Studio fit-out (complete with signature arches) is full of natural colour tones and textures: think timbers, stucco walls, stone floors and leather seats. It’s clear the space was designed with the local landscape in mind. The ceiling has been painted a eucalyptus-like shade of green, and the back of the building – which was once a tram barn – opens to a pavilion with views of the River Torrens and surrounding gum trees. The outdoor function space has already been booked for a few weddings.
Last time Broadsheet checked in on the project – located right next to West End Brewery – the team had just stripped the venue and were gunning for an April opening. Then Covid-19 arrived and the build was delayed. “So, we struggled to finish the venue in time,” says Nelligan. “But we’re opening in spring, so it’s probably for the best.” When we revisit, on a sunny afternoon before opening day, the team are doing final menu tests and putting finishing touches on the venue.
Nelligan and co. have secured a site in Woodville four kilometres away for an urban garden to be used exclusively for Bloom’s produce. They’re already growing plenty of fruits, vegetables and herbs for use at the cafe. “It’s really cool. It’s four old houses that are basically abandoned and run-down, and we’ve been able to join all the blocks together,” says Nelligan. “We’ve built raised garden beds, and it’s got some cool old fig trees and peppercorn trees.”
For Nelligan and the team, sourcing food locally is as much about self-sufficiency as it is sustainability. “We all grew up on farms regionally, so I guess that’s always been part of our lives – being able to produce our own food,” he says. “When I was younger, having massive veggie patches on a farm was a part of life. You couldn’t just go to the supermarket and buy what you needed, you really had to be able to support yourself.”
The all-day menu draws from a wide range of influences, from Japanese (a chicken-and-miso ramen with house-made wholemeal noodles, spicy beef mince, poached – rather than boiled – egg, corn, spring onion, daikon kimchi, nori and black garlic oil) to Thai (charcoal chicken with basmati, yellow curry yoghurt and garden herbs) to Italian (house-made pasta with slow-braised beef-cheek).
A large, dome-shaped hearth isn’t just for show. The menu’s been designed with fire in mind: there’s woodfired halloumi with pine nuts, honey, sumac and thyme; fire-roasted strawberries with a macadamia and dark chocolate granola, house-made almond milk and sweet almond meal; and wood-roasted pumpkin with spelt, shiitake, almond ricotta, radish salsa verde and smoked almond.
Even the drinks will get a lick of fire: think wood-roasted banana or grilled peaches and cream smoothies, smoked-plum gin sours and smoked mulberry with Japanese liquor.
The menu, says Nelligan, is perfect for large groups to come together and share. “Grab a whole heap of dishes – mains and sides – and chuck them in the middle and share.”
Bloom, like Peter Rabbit, will source their coffee from 1645 Coffee Roasters. For a daytime venue, there’s also a fairly extensive wine list (from Alpha Box & Dice to Shaw & Smith), as well as beer and cideHours: