I recently visited Adelaide for work. Inevitably my time was scheduled to be indoors eating catered food, but I set aside an extra half-day at the end to stroll the Adelaide Botanic Garden and lunch at Thea Tea Shop. This cafe has conceptual counterparts in most Australian capital cities, serving mock meat meals and bubble tea to cityworkers at lunchtime.
Their paper menu comes with a pencil to tick off and place your order, spanning a couple of dozen tea flavours with optional pearls or jelly, about eight self-contained rice or noodle dishes and a scattering of snacks. The food is very vegan-friendly but lacks obvious gluten-free options; some drinks contain milk or honey.
My crispy hainan style rice ($11) featured a crunchy-crumbed gluten cutlet, ball, salad of corn, cabbage and mushrooms, and a battered ball begging to be dipped into the dish of salty-soy sauce.
I liked that my dine-in passionfruit tea ($3.90) with jelly ($0.50) was served in a reusable cup; it was sweet just a little tangy.
Though my meal didn't stand out strongly from other vegetarian tea houses around Australia, the setting did. The staff were particularly friendly and helpful (noticing that I'd included the wrong table number on my order long before I did), and the venue had a few extra-accessible features. And I'm always glad to access a low-key vegetarian lunch for one in an unfamiliar city.
Other blog accounts of Thea Tea Shop are generally positive, see Hot Chocolate: Dark Desires, G Nine Three, meatandaveg and The Chopping Board. The exception is The Ordinary Smile.
Thea Tea Shop
110 Gawler Place, Adelaide
(08) 8232 7988
menu, daily specials
Accessibility: There are four steps up and an alternative wheelchair lift on entry, and spacious furniture arrangement. I ordered and paid at a low-ish counter. Toilets are gendered but roomy and labelled wheelchair-accessible; I also noticed a baby change table in the ladies'.