SAD CAFÉ Shop 4, 4-10 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide, 8232 8539
Open Mon to Thurs, 8am to 4pm; Fri, 8am to 6.30pm; Sat, 9am to 4pm.
Sad Café is the result of a former hairdresser’s fascination for good food and coffee. Dom Ossa, an English expat with an influential German grandmother, opened a hairdressing salon called “Das” on Ebenezer Place in Adelaide’s East End with his partner Sally and fellow hairdresser Adam Hadley in 2009.
“Back then, there was nothing in the street apart from a couple of vintage shops,” he says. “Nano’s had only just opened and we were sick of Italian and French-style cafes. We thought why do we have to have themed cafes when we have our own style of culture in food? Why couldn’t we have a café that was Australian? So we let Steve Maras [Ebenezer Place property owner] know that if the shop next door comes up for rent we would take it.”
Two years later the shop came up and Sad Café opened. Dom left the others to manage the salon while he got Sad Café up and running. The name Sad is not ’70s slang for “good”, although it is really good. “It’s just the reverse of Das, German for ‘the’ and a connection to the salon next door – and we kind of like the irony.”
The menu offers sesame, poppy seed and blueberry bagels with a variety of fillings, and breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes including organic granola, banana hotcakes, curried “scrambly” eggs, cheese and mushroom quesadillas, and a chicken salad. “The menu is pretty classic but there’s always an Australian twist” says Ossa. “I have always written the menu and I’m pretty fanatical.”
The prices are exceptionally reasonable, you can spend 20 bucks and have a good lunch and a good coffee. This is achieved by keeping things local and simple. “Sad’s always been the testing ground for our coffee” says Ossa. Sad likes to experiment with small batch blends and new roasts and the customer feedback is more than positive.
Seating around 20 indoors and 12 outdoors it is a compact space that can be kind of intense with people eating, drinking, working on laptops and lining up for takeaways.
Asked about the possibility of moving to a larger space, Ossa says “We have really developed the whole DNA of the place in a healthy direction and there is always that concern that by moving to a larger space it would change the dynamic of Sad, some of the best stuff comes out a small kitchen and I kind of like that.”
Signature dish: Grilled Ocean Trout (pictured top; $13.50). Pan-seared to blacken the spiced skin and warm the orange hot-smoked flesh, this generous piece of Harris ocean trout was served with a soft-poached egg and a well-dressed and seasoned salad of cos lettuce, fennel slices, orange segments, and a sprinkling of chopped fennel leaves and toasted pine nuts. This is luxury, comfort, health, flavour and economy on a plate.
Other dishes: Mashed Peas & Grilled Mushrooms ($10.50; haloumi extra $3). Two pieces of toasted sourdough topped with mashed spiced green peas, pan-fried sliced Swiss brown mushrooms and haloumi cheese, roasted heirloom carrots and seeds.