The owner isn’t called Abbots. Or Kinney. The actual Abbot Kinney was an ambitious American real estate developer who had a brooding passion for Venice, and gave LA’s Venice Beach its name. Transfer a chunk of his ambition (and catchy name) to downtown Adelaide, and the result is this savvy new café and patisserie, where Jonny Pisanelli’s primo pastries have city crowds hollering from here to Italy.
Abbots and Kinney started out as a pop-up pastry shop, regularly seen on bar-studded Leigh Street and at the city-fringe Adelaide Farmers Market in Wayville. Now with a permanent base on a cloistered reach of Pirie Street (since June 2015), they’re smoothly managing the transition from trellis table touting to quick-fire coffees and express lunches.
Well, mostly smoothly. When we visited the busy staff hadn’t quite got on top of sweeping way the pastry crumbs, and our coffee was forgotten amidst a torrent of takeaway orders. But a quiet reminder saw our peppy brews arrive pronto, with an apologetic (and complimentary) custard croissant on the side. Despite these few minor teething problems (we’d include the Spice Girls on the sound system in this category), the future looks rosy for A and K.
The compact shopfront is inventive: one half is boxed-out in blonde Tasmanian oak panelling (like the inside of a sea chest); the other is a long black wall artfully spangled with the outline of a tree in white masking tape. The kitchen is visible out the back – a white-tiled space where the pastries are made daily. Out the front, early-bird caffeine fiends place their orders at the counter, or perch on the three-tiered bleacher seat, which runs down the centre of the room (also beautifully detailed Tasmanian oak). It’s all smiles from the staff – they’re chipper and quick with conversation.
The pick of the pastries is a chive and cheese croque monsieur, the ‘Barry Croquer’, which arrives with a generous side salad; and a creatively styled antipasto pastry, the ‘Danwich’: stuffed with artichokes, feta, olive tapenade and roast capsicum, or there’s a prosciutto and crispy speck version too (also with a mound of salad). Sweet mini Danishes and butter-crust sausage rolls are perfectly sized and, just like everything in this patisserie, are models of devoted culinary craftsmanship.