Viva Espresso


date of visit: Wednesday 11 June 2014

I have worked in the CBD for almost five years now and never really written about my lunch (admittedly, someone writing about his/her lunch may be as interesting as the same person talking about their dreams …). When I worked full time I usually took my lunch (leftovers for the win!) and while I do now buy my lunch the two days I do work, I have been in something of a rut.

When I started a new job in December last year I had plans to explore new places but that never really got off the ground. However, one of my usual haunts has just put up the price of sandwiches AGAIN and I figure that $9 is far too much to be paying for the same old same old. Time to go hunting for something new.

Viva Espresso is only sort of new because it is actually very close to my work and where I head to buy my morning coffee. The coffee is excellent – I wouldn’t go back it if weren’t – and the staff are super friendly and efficient. You only have to be a repeat customer a few times before both your name and regular order are memorised. Even if there’s a bit of a coffee queue you don’t have to wait long (always important first thing in the morning).

I’d read some good things about the sandwiches so I figured that starting close to home was a good bet. The range of freshly made sandwiches at Viva is quite small (there’s a choice of about 6) but they all sound tasty and you get a choice of bread. I chose the beef and horseradish (with cheese, tomato, salad etc) option, on Turkish bread, partly because I love beef and horseradish but also in part because so often you get a really anaemic horseradish that you can barely taste.

The bad news is that the sandwich at Viva was $9.50, so I didn’t save myself any money. However, the sandwich was excellent. The horseradish had a good kick, the meat was moist and slightly pink and the salad and tomato was all fresh and crispy. I asked for the sandwich without mayonnaise and there was no mayo, so that’s also a big tick. The Turkish bread had good flavour (although I personally could have lived with more texture to it).

While I was waiting, someone near me was tucking in to the red lentil and vegetable soup and that looked amazing. It was a good size portion and that can also go on my lunch to-do list …

Viva also has a good range of sweet things and smaller savoury snacks so you’re well catered for, whatever you’re after.

If you are around Pirie Street, drop in for a coffee and make up your own mind!

Viva also roasts its own coffee and you can buy some to take home.

Viva Espresso
70 Pirie Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8232 8545

Viva Espresso on Urbanspoon

Product Review: Griffiths Just Fair Coffee


Disclaimer: I was sent the coffee to try.

Once upon a time I drank a lot of coffee. In my previous job, a group of us had a share in our own plunger and ground coffee round and, until very recently, my current employer provided us with a lovely barista grade coffee machine*. Almost 4 years ago, I decided 6 long blacks a day was probably a bad thing and went cold turkey for a while. Now, I have one (very infrequently two) cup of coffee a day. So I like it to be good.

Sadly, coffee is one of those products that is often brought to us by people who aren’t treated very well by the corporate chain in which they find themselves. Personally, I think it’s important to look for Fairtrade products, because in theory the farmers will have received a fair price (and fair treatment) for their raw commodity.

I’m pretty sure we all know that I also think it’s important to try to buy Australian. So while a small amount of coffee is actually grown in Australia (mostly in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland) it is less than commonplace. Actually, even finding Australian owned, local coffee roasters is pretty tricky but one of these is Griffiths.

Griffiths’ new product is Just Fair, an Australian Certified Organic, Fairtrade coffee that is roasted (and ground) in Melbourne. I was sent the espresso beans to try.

The beans come in a tin, rather than a bag, which is very handy for storage (I don’t usually grind a whole tin/bag at once). They are, obviously, 100% Arabica. All well and good, providing the resultant coffee hits the mark taste wise.

Now, I confess we don’t have a proper coffee grinder at home (I am one of those bad people who uses a spice grinder) and often we find that lighter roast beans will end up producing a rather insipid cup of coffee. I’m pleased that this isn’t the case with the Just Fair coffee. It’s a good strong roast, with richness of flavour and a healthy kick of bitterness. I was very happy and I would recommend this for anyone who likes a strong coffee. In fact, this is definitely a coffee that I’d consider as an alternative to our usual brand.

Just Fair retails for around $12 for a 250g tin. You can buy beans or ground and there’s a decaf option too. For a bit of novelty, you can trace your beans’ journey on the Just Fair website.

* For the record, that machine has been replaced by an awful pod machine.  Productivity has, naturally, decreased!

The Sweet Swap: Espresso Fudge

IMG_3266all packed up & ready to go!

A while back, Sara, of Belly Rumbles, and Amanda, of Chew Town, got in touch about a blogging project they were setting up called The Sweet Swap. For a small entry fee, which was donated to ChildFund Australia, each participating blogger was matched with three other bloggers. Once you had received your matches and chosen the sweet to make, you’d package it up and send it off, while waiting for your own sweet treats to arrive.

Now, you may have noticed that I am not, exactly, a confectioner. Apart from chocolate, I don’t really like sweets. So in this instance I knew I was not only going to have to choose something that would post well (a challenge in itself!) but most likely something I don’t like eating.

I had a practice run making marshmallow and thought that it might be fun to make rocky road (fun for Andy and our workmates – even with chocolate marshmallow is still going to be gross).

I’m really sorry if any of my matches would have preferred rocky road: just as I should have been in the kitchen making marshmallow my toddler decided it would be fun to have temperatures spiking 40┬░C for a few days and ended up in hospital. There needed to be some seriously quick revision of plans and, in what can only be blind panic (the deadline for posting had passed!) I chose to make fudge.

Now, I have never made fudge before and I couldn’t even claim to have eaten enough to call myself a connoisseur, so I was really winging it. I chose to make this espresso fudge because I like chocolate and coffee.

I wasn’t happy because the recipe was a bit vague (temperatures for the different stages would have made me happy) but I was out of time and there for nothing for it but to hit the stove.

My inability to focus on stirring turned out to be a blessing: if you over-stir fudge it turns out grainy, but this, my first effort was dense and creamy with a solid, but not overpowering, hit of coffee.

I probably sound really pleased with myself, and I am. But I’m sure it’s all beginner’s luck and I’ll never be happy with another batch of fudge ever again!

IMG_3271heart attack inducing size pieces of fudge

Espresso Fudge


  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (395g - the standard size in the shops)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp glucose syrup
  • 180g dark chocolate, broken up
  • 3 tsp instant coffee (strong will do, espresso if you have it)


  1. Place the condensed milk, sugar and glucose syrup in a pan over a low heat and wait for the sugar to melt, stirring only occasionally. This takes quite a while so be patient.
  2. When the sugar has melted, turn up the heat (medium - high) and bring the mix to a simmer. Be a little more attentive with your stirring. In time the mixture will start to thicken and come away from the sides of the pan. If you are using a good non stick pan (and you really should) the mixture will come away from the sides quite quickly but you need to keep stirring until it thickens up.
  3. Take the mixture off the heat and mix in the chocolate and instant coffee. Mix until the chocolate has melted completely and then pour into a greased and lined baking dish (I used one that is approx 20cmx20cm). Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Overnight is best.
  4. Cut up: this is very rich so small squares is a good idea. For serving you may wish to dust with cocoa powder, but the fudge is so rich it doesn't need it. A cup of coffee on the side could be considered essential though!

I think there might have been a slight glitch in the Sweet Swap because I actually received FOUR sweets, not three.

From Gareth at Humble Crumble I received some black forest fudge – chocolate fudge studded with cherries. From Joanna at The Hangry Bitch sacher tortingtons – a quirky take on lamingtons, stuffed with a homemade orange marmalade, iced and decorated with flaked coconut, Aga at At Matter of Taste sent Polish biscuits that her grandmother used to make and Amy at Melbourne Food Snob sent chewy coconut caramels. Quite a little haul (and some of which is still being eaten, which is a massive win!).

My fudge went Aga, Billy and Leah. Aga quit sugar just before the Sweet Swap (really terrible timing) but I hope Billy and Leah enjoyed the fudge and my apologies for the delay.