It all started with... running for nuggets
Would you run for 'allergy-friendly food', even if you had no food allergies? The Rundle General Store proves that allergen-free food can be totally crave-worthy. And it's a godsend in flavour if you have special dietary needs.
Sisters Anja and Maya and mum Yasmine opened the Rundle General Store in February. It's nestled up at the Pulteney Street end of Rundle Street, in Adelaide's East End. They already had a passionate following from their stall at the Adelaide Farmer's Market. Says Maya:
'We're at the Farmer's Market on a Sunday, and we do these chicken nuggets with vegetables, and people love them. The bell goes for people being allowed to come in, and they come running! They're running for our chicken nuggets!'
The Store offers cafe food and coffee, take-away ready meals and fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, seven days a week. And there's lots more in the works: 'we're getting our bulk foods together... our jams, pickles, gingerbread... in the future we'll even have hand knitted jumpers, beanies, socks, we've got lots of amazing ideas,' says Maya.
The space has an extremely welcoming and down-to-earth vibe that's a haven from the city's pace. The trio has worked tirelessly to renovate the store and bring in their own personalities. 'We're pretty proud,' says Maya, 'we put on our tradie shoes - the floor took us about three weeks alone to fix up'.
'Everyone said 'you should just put floating floor down,' adds Anja, 'but I said no, we have the old 1800s floor!' And Yasmin points out that the cosy, mismatched furniture is all second-hand, hard waste treasures and upcycled.
As a qualified nutritionist, Maya's available for consultations in this multi-use space. She can also make on-the-spot food recommendations. She explains: 'people say "these are my allergies, what can I eat?", and I can make them feel confident with their choices. A lot of places will say things are gluten free but they're actually only wheat free, and people can get really sick'.
The women are mostly self-taught cooks, born from the necessity of their own allergies. But there's a stack of 'regular' cookbooks for inspiration and customer browsing. Anya gestures to them and says 'it's all very adapted, none of the recipes in here cater to our dietary requirements. It was a massive learning curve, doing gluten free pastry, bread'.
Yasmine adds: 'We don't like to use soy either, so where you'd use soy sauce we now use coconut aminos, which has beautiful flavours... it's been learning how to create the right flavours in things that aren't done in a traditional way.'
The allergy-friendly offerings make Rundle General Store a beacon of hope for many in the city. Yasmine says that they'd previously found almost nothing suitable to eat in the area 'apart from maybe sushi'. Their specialist knowledge means 'we can do something so unique; people can come here and absolutely eat what they want to'.
Many uni staff and students are discovering this new gem, as are Rundle Street neighbours. 'We've made birthday cakes for the [shoe store next door] Grundy's staff,' says Anja. And they've enjoyed meeting other business owners over knockoff drinks at the Austral Hotel.
So what's on the menu the day we visited? The three of them chime in:
'Potato gnocchi, with a tomato passata, that's vegan. We've also got a five spice pork belly, grass fed organic pork that we get from the Adelaide Hills, and a vegan lemony lentil curry, that's been selling out, really popular.'
' We've got a vegan moussaka -'
'We're doing lamb pies today as well. The pie crust is made with lard from these amazing heritage pork growers, and we process the lard ourselves. And all our vegetables are organic. So our food really is as clean as you can get.'
And they forgot to mention, an outstanding lemon tart. Worth running for. Trust us.