Plain Jane

Have you met Jane yet? If you haven’t, we are giving you a heads up that there is absolutely nothing plain about this newly refurbished two storey building tucked in the middle of the popular Leigh St just off of Hindley St, Adelaide. The moment I stepped inside I was all ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. I could talk about their interior for hours but let’s leave it for another day because this time we will take you on (Plain) Jane’s food journey.

Five owner entrepreneurs including their manager Joe, recently held their opening launch three weeks ago and believe me, it was a blast. Today we had the pleasure to do food tastings and my oh my, we couldn’t fault it. With recipes from the famous chef Nu Suandokmai (Lantern by Nu) and restaurateur Vince Loprete (Italian Kitchen @ Two Twenty), we were delighted to share our experience of their tapas style food from our recent visit.

They offer four different styles- Raw, Kilpatrick, French and Thai. We were intrigued with the Thai oysters as this was a new one from the traditional options in menus. They came out beautifully on a bed of colourful tiny rocks. Each oyster had fresh chilli, coriander, ginger topped with nimjam sauce. Can I just say, I could finish a dozen, two dozens even, easy. They were refreshing and just had the perfect kick from the chilli but fear not, you can handle it. Just superb.

Crispy Prawn Popcorn with Lime Aioli.
This is the best kind of popcorn. Light and crunchy while the corn bits trigger the sweet flavours only to be complimented with the lime aioli dip for the perfect accompaniment. Sharing between two as an appetiser might be a little tricky as it can get pretty addictive and before you know it, they are all gone!

Salt and Pepper Squid
Not just an ordinary salt and pepper squid thanks to the Plain Jane marinated secret recipe which makes it so tasty. This dish doesn’t come with chips but not to worry because you can find on the menu their Sweet Potato Chips with Kale that will pair beautifully with the Salt and Pepper Squid. It’s honestly a win win!

Chicken Karaage
Taking on the Japanese version of deep fried marinated chicken. This came with wasabi mayo to add more of a twist to the dish. By using the best part of the chicken meat for Karaage, the chicken comes out boneless and tender making it easier for crave satisfying consumption. This is definitely a great pick for sharing.

Lamb Kofta and Chicken Kofta
We were very lucky to be granted a sneak peak into these two dishes that are yet to hit the menu! Both came on a bed of fresh salad. The lamb paired with hummus and the chicken with yoghurt dressing. The moment they bring these out, the captivating fragrance of smoked paprika lingering around for attention. With the addition of thin potato crisps mixed in with the salad, they are certainly authentic dishes for everyone to try at least once in their lives.

Chicken Wings
While it’s typically deep fried, Plain Jane aspires for something a little different. Marinated with olive oil, Italian herbs and a hint of chilli, the chicken wings are oven baked and served with generous amounts of lemon and lime slices for extra zest. Oh this was good, and may I say, absolutely guilt free. I don’t regret it!

Fusilli Ragu
Now I’m not normally the type to go and order a dish of pasta ragu however this one was undeniably a choice well made. The ragu was soft and moist, the fusilli cooked to al dente perfection with tomato based sauce all mixed in one. Sometimes words are not enough. This is now my favourite dish here at Plain Jane.

Deboned Slow Cooked Lamb Shank
Last but not least the meal we’ve all been wondering about. How tender? Very. How tasty? Very. How much? Very affordable! In fact, $15 for a de-boned ‘melt in your mouth’ lamb shank, cooked for 5 hours in an Italian red wine and tomato sugo. This is a meal on its own and it comes with creamy mashed potatoes and wilted spinach on the side. And I said it but will say it again, it’s de-boned! No mess, no fuss. Perfect for brunch and/or lunch.

Now are you aware that almost the entire food menu is between $8-$15 (except the oysters, which is to be expected). This makes Plain Jane the go to for eating, hanging and having a great time with a couple beverages. And speaking of beverages, we were lucky enough to try their delicious cocktails such as, the “Not Your Nonna’s Sticky Date Pudding”… Oh I know, not your usual cocktail name right? But this was so sweet and creamy, if you occasionally give in to your sweet tooth, do it with this. Also there was the “Parisienne Jane” which involves Vodka, pineapple, Syrop de monin, and Chambord topped with crushed raspberry which leaves the best refreshing after taste. They also do cocktail specials on the blackboard which change weekly, so last of all, we tasted their Pine Lime Splice cocktail of the week! What’s in it you wonder? Well, you will need to head down there to taste it yourself.

Our experience here has been fabulous. The staff were very accommodating and humble. Plain Jane opens Monday to Wednesday from 7:30am-3pm, Thursday and Friday from 7:30am till late, and on Saturday from 5pm till late. This is the new bar and restaurant that everyone needs to check out.

Words by Dee Pene from Adelaide Food Authority

WHERE: 18 Leigh St, Adelaide


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