My Happy Place

It’s a worrying insight into the workings of my mind that I can stand smack bang in the middle of Adelaide’s finest shopping precinct and still be thinking about food. Even with my back against The Balls my mind is on my stomach. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, driven by hazy memories of Rundle Mall feasts past?

That stuff they sprinkled on the chips at Max’s in the basement of The Gallery. A pie and chips paired with a lime milkshake when Nana would take us to the Myer Cafeteria. An old flame who worked as a waitress at The Private Bin. Good thing then that my Rundle Mall grazing options are better now than they’ve ever been.

Let’s start with the place that has elevated in more ways than one expectations for gastronomic indulgence in the Rundle Mall precinct. 2KW is unlike anything Adelaide has seen before, a bold and ambitious pleasure palace perched atop the grand old bank building that stands guard on the corner of King William Street and North Terrace. 2KW arranges its pleasures in separate zones, from private cabanas for intimate groups through to the rooftop bar with Adelaide’s best views (and wine list). But it’s as a restaurant that 2KW really shines, with head chef Nicholas Finn working wonders with premium South Australian produce.

If 2KW represents an exciting new age of dining in the Rundle Mall precinct then the venerable Jasmin is its much-loved institution.

For most of my 20s and all of my 30s I lived away from Adelaide but trips home always featured one constant – a dinner at what must be Australia’s greatest Indian restaurant. Stepping through that door tucked away on Hindmarsh Square and descending the stairs past a series of cricket bats telling the story of several generations of Indian cricketers is an exotically scented journey to my happy place. There’s some real old treasures on the wine list too, if you know where to look. But both 2KW and Jasmin require time and with the Mall’s countless distractions demanding attention,
time is often in short supply.

That’s when I head to Ricky’s Kitchen for the city’s best duck soup. There are those that say Ricky’s best dish is the Crispy Skin Chicken, others who swear by the Roast Pork, but for me it’s the Fragrant Duck soup that gets me every time. Make sure you make good use of the duo of dipping sauces that come with every dish.

The last spot on my list is the most surprising of all. For this first time ever I’m actually pushing people towards a vegetarian joint. Maybe it’s the beautiful space at the top of the elegant Adelaide Arcade or maybe it’s the amazing house-made sodas and floats that distracts me from the fact that the delicious burgers at Two-Bit Villains are entirely meat free. I guess that’s what makes the Rundle Mall precinct such a compelling destination for the hungry and thirsty throngs – it’s packed full of surprises.

Nick's 3 great summer drinks

BK-Pet-NatBK Pet Nat

Pétillant Naturel is the French term for lo-fi sparkling wines that have more in common with cider than they do the conventional classics of Champagne. This seriously refreshing example from the Adelaide Hills is a cracker.


The drink that fuels fun times all across northern Italy is becoming increasingly popular here. Splash a generous measure of Aperol into a glass of Prosecco, adda dash of soda, a slice of orange and enjoy‘La Dolce Vita.’


The best beer-based cocktail on the planet. It’s basically a Bloody Mary with the vodka replaced by icy cold beer. It might sound strange but it really works.