219 Gilbert Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Paddy’s Lantern is one of a handful of new(ish) cafes in Adelaide who share a mutual “disconnection” – for want of a better phrase. Not disconnection from each other (it’s precisely this quality that unites them) but disconnection from several prevailing trends adopted by new coffee shops in this town*. The much emulated franchise model is safe, generally reliable and ideal for servicing its particular function and demographic. However, it can, at times, produce outlets than feel sorta soulless alongside enterprises of the owner-operator persuasion. Paddy’s Lantern is proudly of this latter category and exemplifies what is achievable when a committed few adhere to their simple, unadulterated vision of providing great service (above all else), coffee and food in a bespoke venue that (be)speaks from the hearts of its proprietors. Such independent spots are gradually chipping away at the established firm and deserve all the support and endorsement we can offer in an age when operating a small business has never been more of a challenge.
It’s blissfully clear that the crew at Paddy’s are a close team of hospitality peeps doing it for themselves. The fit-out is simple, clean and focused around providing a genial patron experience within a comfortable, relaxed vibe.
As indicated by the bikes on the walls, they take their coffee very seriously. Coffee-service has always been central to the operators’ business model who opted to upgrade the building’s existing power capabilities to accommodate the heavy duty, professional espresso machine by Synesso. A smart and honorable move. The rig effortlessly busts out the bulk of their coffee trade, running the house blend and seasonal single origins side-by-side. 24-hr cold brew and cold drip coffees are also on offer (during the summer months at least).
Coffee arrives courtesy of the talented crew at Five Senses (another common thread amongst many in this new guard), however, the Paddy’s team have elevated their selection process to near-savant levels, crafting their own signature blend on-site. Using a selection of Central-American single origins, they meticulously hand-sort each bag to remove any tipped or burnt specimens, before blending to a pseudo-secret recipe and finally serving. Truly dedicated to their cause, they painstakingly ensure their coffee is always amazing – with a sweet hint of diligence in every cup. Brews are smooth, sweet and – if you swing that way – served with local, organic milk.
The latte-sipping, broadsheet-flipping clientele is surprisingly varied with briefcases, strollers, and fixies all among the featured accoutrements – but given the location, I guess this stands to reason. Oddly-but-kinda-well-positioned in the city’s southwest, Paddy’s provides the perfect venue for a quiet cup with friends or a casual meeting – and the space is light-filled and well utilised; common table / 4-seaters / roadside (for the cancerphiles).
I’ve never seen Paddy’s seething, and I get the feeling they like it that way. A steady flow of residents and regulars from surrounding businesses keep the place ticking over without it ever feeling congested or stuffy. And at any rate, should orders begin to stack-up, a jocular selection of reading material is on offer to pass the time – guaranteed to add a wry smile to your coffee run.
The food menu covers breakfast / brunch / lunch and features a few inventive specials including vego and / or vegan catering. I have it on good authority that their toasted sandwiches and flatbreads – all built around seasonal, local produce – are the stuff of lunchtime greatness (Follow their tweets to see what’s hot). From Scratch Patisserie provide fresh pastries and sweet things daily.
Late last year, Paddy’s hosted an event known as JamDown Adelaide and it was encouraging to witness the sheer number of baristas and industry folk who packed into the tight venue to “pour their hearts out” in the latte-art throwdown, or just show their support / lend a hand. Check out the Paddy’s Facebook page for photos, and check them out for real for all the other good things mentioned here.
Thanks for stopping by. Be well, TV.
*Amongst others; laminex benchtops (red, commonly) / pubescent “bariSTARs” on 6-week rotations / characterless, franchise-imitating (or perhaps, (wistfully) franchise-able) identities / electric blackboards and neon chalk… others…