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

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East Terrace Continental – etc

East Terrace Continental

photo by bram_souffreau

date of visit: Sunday 26 February 2012

I was in charge of organising a weekend brunch/lunch for about 10 people. Our challenging group included at least 2 babies (and possibly more), one vegetarian and a varied collection of tastes. I was nervous when I chose East Terrace Continental as reviews on the internet were mixed.

Still, we were a group of old friends, we used to go to etc when we were at uni, and one of us was visiting from New York. I figured that things could really foul up and I’d be forgiven.

Things didn’t get off to an awesome start … I turned up and I could see no large table set up and ready with high chairs. And at midday on a Sunday you don’t turn up to etc with a big group and expect to wing it. Now etc had done the smart thing and rung me the day before to confirm (I’d had to ring back and leave a message) but I suspect I was looking pretty nervous and ticked off when the guest of honour arrived. After a fair bit of faffing around my booking was found, some customers were moved and our table was pulled together. I don’t know the extent to which this was good planning or good luck on the part of etc, but I commend the staff for their can-do attitude in sorting things out.

Table sorted, our group filtered in in dribs and drabs. etc is very casual which makes it perfect for a large group. You order and pay at the counter. This is perfect if you have people on different schedules (we did) and also if you have people who are money sensitive in any way (ahem).

Also, the cafĂ© runs a very sensible policy on breakfast – it’s served until 3:30pm (they close at 4pm). This meant that I was able to indulge in a huge smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, with asparagus, while those around me ate a proper lunch, or a sandwich, or whatever they fancied.

I certainly wouldn’t go as far to say my breakfast was the best I’ve ever had – I like my scrambled eggs really soft and these weren’t, and the asparagus was a tad under cooked, and the silly (large) size of the portion meant that everything didn’t stay as hot as might have been ideal. But really – why quibble? The feed set me back $14.50 and I would go back and order the same thing in flash. Or would I? Because there are quite a few things on the breakfast menu I fancy trying. Around me plates were cleared so I guess everyone else was happy too.

Most importantly, the coffee at etc is good!

So decent food, good coffee, not too expensive and a sizeable range of vegetarian options. We ended up staying for about 3 hours and at no point did we ever feel like they wanted to move us on (maybe we drink a lot of coffee …). Yes, etc is noisy and buzzy (and busy) but I think that’s exactly why people go there.

Ignore the internet and give it a whirl!



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