Surreal Hair & Eats

One of Adelaide’s top boutique hair salons, Surreal Hair Salon is also Adelaide’s first iconic hair café.

Taking inspiration from the abundance of hair cafés in Melbourne, owners Nick and Toni, took their passion for hair and food to the next level the end of last year.

“I love it to pieces. I’m very passionate about the food, I’m passionate about the quality, the staff, everything, and it’s all working,” says Nick.

Last week, we decided to pay Surreal a visit to see what all the fuss was about for ourselves. First up, we headed into Surreal Hair where we were given a hair makeover! The entire experience felt very customised and tailored for us, with our hairdressers often asking us questions about the normal condition of our hair as well as addressing our hair needs with their professional expertise.

Having a café right next door also meant we were pampered with our choice of whatever coffee, hot chocolate, or tea served with any kind of milk under the sun, piping hot straight to us – what a treat!

After our much needed hair refresh, we made over to Surreal Eats to try out the other half of the Surreal experience.

With the walls of Surreal Eats decorated with memorabilia and other quirky bits, this little café was overflowing with character.

Right outside is a Charity Garden where patrons pick whatever veggies and herbs they want before leaving a donation. With this initiative, Surreal was able to raise $2500 for Hutt Street Homeless last Christmas when they first relocated.

“Sustainable is good to do and we’re trying. We just started not long ago. We’re trying to do the right thing for the environment, especially the chemical leftovers,” says Nick.

After seeing the garden ourselves and looking through Surreal’s mouth-watering menu, we were excited to try the fresh produce for ourselves. Here’s what we thought:

‘Eats’ Big Breakfast
It wouldn’t be an Adelaide Food Central brunch without a classic Big Breakfast dish to start us off. Surreal’s ‘Eats’ Big Breakfast consisted of eggs our way (poached, of course) served with bacon, sausage, tomato, mushroom, and spinach on toast. You can never go wrong with this dish and Surreal proved this to us once again with their perfectly portioned and cooked veggies, smoky sausages, and lean bacon – just how we like it!

Veggie Delight
This dish had corn fritters served with runny poached eggs, spinach, mushroom, and topped with a nice dollop of guacamole. The corn was very prominent in the fritters, with a nice corn sweetness lacing every mouthful. The guacamole was dressed with lemon juice which added a creaminess as well as a slight sour note to the dish. Overall, this was a very well-balanced dish for the health-conscious.

Gnocchi with Beef Ragu
Served in a sliver saucepan (which added unexpected theatre to the dish!), the gnocchi had a light and fluffy consistency and the ragu was plentiful and well-seasoned too. With a piece of toast, this dish was definitely very filling!

Traditional Caprese Salad
By now we’d started to pick up that Surreal was very particular about their presentation, paying special attention to how every dish can stand out from the crowd. This next dish followed suit with a new take on your typical Caprese salad, with two slices of toast towered on top of the tomato and fior de latte cheese slices and a healthy drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar and topped with basil. What a light and refreshing dish!

Arancini Balls
Now arancini is usually on a path straight to our stomachs no matter what, but Surreal’s arancini was on a path straight to our hearts! Not only were they very generous in serving size, cheese and mushroom arancini balls had a soft and creamy centre and an outer that gave a only the slightest crunch. The Napoli sauce complemented the flavours of the arancini themselves well without overpowering them. These were so delicious we could have easily done with so many more than three!

VERY Veggie Piadina
With strong flavours of marinated eggplant, roasted capsicum, rocket and parmesan cheese, each ingredient contributed a new profile to this dish. Though each flavour was strong, they were all complementary of each other, working well to create a wonderful myriad of not just flavour but textures on the palate. This piadina was the perfect to-go meal for a quick lunch!

Fillet Steak Burger
This burger featured the works – fillet steak, bacon, egg, tomato, cheese, beetroot, and roquette, topped with smoky BBQ sauce. Served with a side of sweet potato chips, everything on this plate worked together to create a nice, hearty meal. The tomato, rocket and beetroot tasted fresh and healthy, with the runny yolk of the egg and melted cheese adding those to-die-for flavours, and the steak itself cooked slightly pink (just how it should be!). Be warned though, this burger was on Surreal’s Specials Menu, so hurry in if you want to give it a try yourself before it’s gone!

To finish off our meal, we went with Surreal’s homemade pancakes served with vanilla gelato and berries, drizzled with maple syrup (of course!). The pancakes were soft, airy and fluffy, and not too sweet at all. The gelato tasted very rich and velvety and the berry coulis added a slight sourness to the dish that complemented the sweeter elements. Overall, a great way to finish our visit!

With Surreal planning to open a bigger community Charity Garden over the coming months, they are really looking to be that point of difference – not just to be another hair salon.

“I gotta feel happy to come to work. It’s not just about the till. I don’t really care about the money because when you’ve got too much, you buy things you don’t need. So to help others, it’s all about that. A lot of people, they’re not happy to go to work. I’m happy every day. I’m passionate every day,” says Nick.

Surreal Hair & Eats is located on The Parade in Kensington. Surreal Hair is open from 9am til 5:30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9am til 9pm Thursdays and from 8am til 4pm Saturdays. Surreal Eats is open Tuesdays to Fridays 7am til 5pm, 7am til 4pm Saturdays and 8am til 3:30pm Sundays.

Words by Geena Ho

WHERE: 324 The Parade, Kensington


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