The interior of Bloom in Thebarton feels sort of like a wellness retreat in Joshua Tree. Terracotta and tan leather mixes with draped linen and cacti, and matte black finishes adorn wood furnishings. The bright, light-drenched space is split into two sections – the restaurant on one end, complete with exposed open-fire kitchen, and a large indoor-outdoor function space leading to the Winwood garden at the end. The latter is a sort of dining hall, purpose-built for functions and deliberate garden-overflow – think intimate, springtime wedding receptions.
Bloom is a real diamond in the rough of the once industrial suburb of Thebarton. In fact, it’s sort of situated in the middle of nowhere, right next to the 'Karrawirra Parri' or Torrens River. Karrawirra Parri translates to 'river of the Red Gum forest', which you’ll actually cross as you walk from the Adam Street carpark to Bloom’s front door. The structure had another life as an old tram barn, but you’d never know. It melts into the surrounding greenery as if it just sprouted from the ground one day, all on its own.
Opened in September 2020, Bloom is the second restaurant established by the group responsible for Peter Rabbit Cafe and Lockwood General. Owners Jack Nelligan, James Lambert and James McIntyre were inspired by the space first and conceptualised the venue second. "[It] grew from our imagination," says Nelligan. "Bloom is a restaurant where you can enjoy an intimate, relaxed environment inside or out in the garden, where we provide personable service and the food matches that as well.”
The easy-breezy venue has a surprisingly serious modern-Australian menu, with a focus on wood-fired cooking and ingredients grown as physically close to the kitchen as possible. If you don’t like charred things, there are fresher options on the list, like ocean trout sashimi with tomato dashi and pickled radish, or picture-perfect ginger granola with poached rhubarb and mascarpone. But if you do, you’re in luck. Words like ‘roasted’, ‘charcoal’ ‘BBQ’ and ‘wood-fired’ are pretty frequent. The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the chicken-skin butter served with damper on an actual stick. Yum.
On pour is coffee from local roastery 1645 and an extensive South Aussie wine list featuring the likes of Alpha Box & Dice and Shaw + Smith, to name a few. But there's no pretense here – just good food, good vibes, and a celebration of Australian produce. Nelligan's recommendation? "Grab a whole heap of dishes – mains and sides – and chuck them in the middle and share."