When you read “The Lab”, do you think of beakers, test tubes, and flasks? Perhaps, you’re envisioning a sterilised environment, where everything is crystal-clear, pristine, and white like a scientist’s lab coat?
Well, then you’re in luck! The Lab is a cute, little café that is situated in the heart of the suburb of Payneham and offers drinks in such containers. Let’s just say that the science-loving nerd in me could not have been more excited to check this place out!
For cold drinks, we ordered the Choc Banana Smoothie with banana, dates, raw cacao, coconut milk, peanut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. This is an ultra healthy drink that has a very strong flavour of the cacao. The ingredients screamed organic with the all-natural flavour that was oozing from this delicious blend. Served in a massive beaker, this drink can be enjoyed solo or with two-three friends, in case you’re after a light drink.
We also had the Strawberry Mylk Smoothie with strawberries, almond milk, banana, almond butter, vanilla and chia seeds. This drink was on the sweeter side (compared to the choc-banana smoothie) and the flavour of strawberry was super refreshing. The smoothie itself was light and the almond milk added to the healthy component of this smoothie.
In terms of food, we ordered some items on the lighter side of meals. First up was the Grilled Sweet Corn Fritters with pesto and lemon, which was served with a side of house salad. The fritters were really light and fluffy, and tasted well with the combination of the pesto sauce that it was served on. Of course, you have the freedom to make this dish as citrusy as you like, so I enjoyed the fritters both with and without the lemon. The sweet corn was most certainly sweet, and was complemented by the pesto sauce. The fritters were well cooked and had been seasoned well.
Next up was the House Made Gnocchi with mushrooms, shaved parmesan and truffle oil. It was so nice to see the edible flowers that were used to top this dish – it not only delivered in presentation, but also in taste. The mushrooms were fresh and extremely juicy. The truffle oil was well-drizzled over this dish, which was rather subtle in taste. The parmesan on the gnocchi was a fine touch, which melted brilliantly and didn’t overpower the taste of the dish overall.
For the mains, we ordered the Hot Dog with Vienna sausage, mustard, and tomato sauce, which was served with a side of chips. One of the main struggles I have when eating out and having hot dogs is that they are either too big or too long and always too messy to enjoy to the fullest. I instantly fell in love with the dish when it was served as two separate serves. While not a huge fan of mustard, the chef created a work of art by using just the right amount of mustard and tomato sauce. The hot dog had nice smokey flavours and worked really well with the sauces.
Next, we had the Chicken Schnitzel Burger with Barossa smoked bacon, cheese, house mayo, cos and avocado, which was served with a side of chips. This is one of the best burgers I’ve tried in Adelaide, where the chicken schnitzel was cooked to a beautiful crisp and had juicy meat underneath. While not big on bacon, the smokiness from the bacon romanticised me into savouring this burger. If you have read my previous articles, then you are well aware of my (not so secretive) love for avocado. I love how there was nearly half an avocado smashed into the burger, which made it even more delectable. The cheese melted over the schnitzel and had a nicely-cooked cheesy after taste.
We also tried the Wagyu Beef Burger on a brioche bun with pickled onion, lettuce, tomato aioli, and cheese, which was served with a side of chips. The beef patty was thick and perfectly cooked, and had a lovely combination of flavours that were further accentuated by the tomato aioli. This is another great choice of burgers if you’re after something that’s wholesome and satisfying during the lunch rush.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without having something for the sweet tooth in all of us. Cue in a serve of the most beautiful dish we had feasted our eyes on – the Blueberry Hotcakes! Served with pistachios, maple syrup, fresh berries and double cream. What a fantastic dish that was pleasing to the eyes and the tummy! The maple syrup was smooth and sweeter than any other syrup I’ve tasted before, which worked well over the blueberry shortcakes! The blueberries were fresh and so full of flavour, and the pistachios gave it the crunchiness factor. Overall, this was an excellent dish to enjoy as dessert or a breakfast dish.
It is quite ingenious to have such a wonderful-themed café in an area that is surrounded by health professionals. The price range is average ($14-$20) and you will definitely be getting what you pay for. If you’re after a unique experience of dining and enjoying drinks in unusual containers, then I’d highly recommend visiting The Lab when you find yourself in the area next!
Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
WHERE: 313 Payneham Rd, Royston Park