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Adelaide café My Grandma Ben's meals

My Grandma Ben: More than an Adelaide café

Eating in north Adelaide? Try Grandma Ben’s; more than a just a café and eatery, its a way of living. A visit to this sustainably dedicated café bar and workshop space in Adelaide will leave your heart and belly feeling full.

Adelaide Café: Grandma knows best

The old saying “It’s All in the Name” rings true when you discover the background story to this sustainably motivated business – which offers to satiate the seasonal appetite and is a space to create and learn in a connected community. Jessica Spiby, the creator of My Grandma Ben, located at Plant 4 Bowden, was inspired by her grandma, known to her closest as Ben but forged from her real name Betty. Jessie’s grandma was from a time when food was celebrated, a meal was prepared with care and gratitude from the home garden and shared with loved ones. This way of living with thoughtfulness as to how food is prepared and consumed has been organically passed on to the next generation and is now expressed through My Grandma Ben, which was launched in 2018.

The faces behind the small team of My Grandma Ben, Jessie, Taylor and Jodie are each passionate about bringing their sustainable ideas and eco-conscious minds into this space where it can be shared with others in this Adelaide café and workshop experiences.

Adelaide café My Grandma Ben's menu
Credit: Meaghan Coles, My Grandma Ben

Adelaide Café: Frugalness is the new cool

My Grandma Ben has a smorgasbord of environmental ethical, social and sustainable visions. At the forefront of this community passionate business is the aim to minimise waste, such as plastic and food. Customer food scraps, kitchen waste and napkins are composted. Paper bags from which the bread comes in as bin bags are limited in use on a weekly basis. Bottles, glass, cardboard and soft plastics are recycled and delivered to a recycling drop off point. When possible, foods are bought in bulk where the art of pickling, preserving, fermenting, creating from scratch, and producing café nourishing food can be enjoyed. The workshop experiences where recipes, tips and secrets are shared also creates an opportunity to demonstrate how waste in the kitchen and home can be reduced.

My Grandma Ben takes the time to get to know their vegetable supplier and insist reusable crates are used instead of waxed boxes – therefore reducing waste. Trade your home grown produce with us, is just another wonderful initiative My Grandma Ben is doing. Are you a home gardener with excess produce? If yes, Jessie, Taylor and Jodie want to hear from you.

One thing My Grandma Ben wants to stress is that being sustainable and frugal doesn’t mean you miss out. Delicious, nourishing food choices can be produced from simplistic and ethical techniques and sourcing. And the best part of it, knowing that your choices are making for a healthier you and planet.

My Grandma Ben's jams
Credit: Meaghan Coles, My Grandma Ben

An ethical digestive experience

Now it’s time to highlight the other most important part of this family friendly business. The seasonally selected menu in this north Adelaide café offers mouth-watering veggie choices as it focuses on honouring local producers and growers and the generational knowledge that is expressed in the house-made pickles, preserves and ferments.

The Supper Club is just another idea and place where scrumptious food, such as sustainable seafood (which might include Coorong Mullet from Coorong Wild Seafood in Meningie or Pipi’s from Goolwa Pipi Co in Goolwa) can be consumed. Combined with ever-changing beverages, like Okar liqueur from Applewood in the Adelaide Hills or local wines and gin from a list of local producers, makes for a shared time with family and friends. The dinners held monthly are aroused by the seasons and when home gardens can provide ample produce.

Adelaide café My Grandma Ben's meals
Credit: Meaghan Coles, My Grandma Ben

Breakfast or lunch can be enjoyed and finished off with a filter coffee, which Grandma Ben has chosen to serve over espresso style as it produces less waste. Another sustainability highlight – no takeaway cups but you are encouraged to bring your own!

Where is this sustainable café?

All this magical stuff happens in the heritage Clipsal building, still with its industrial look but now developed into a green building design with a 5 Star Green Rating, operated and owned by a family business. Outside the Plant 4 Bowden building which also houses other community minded businesses is a beautifully landscaped green nature play space. Here, the tin lids (slang for “kid” in Australia) can play, explore and run while happy parents sip on their beverage of choice.

To be part of the My Grandma Ben community and support an Adelaide business that acknowledges the Traditional Owners, the Kaurna people on whose land they work and forage on, make your way out to Plant 4 Bowden, situated between Third and Fourth Streets, on the North side of Adelaide. Take a 5-minute electric tram ride, from the heart of the city, and then it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to grandma’s place.

Address: 5 Third Street, Bowden SA 5007

Ellen Krahnert
Living in the Adelaide Hills, Ellen thrives being surrounded by nature – it is her happy place, along with sourcing vintage treasures – something old becomes new again. Ellen works and volunteers in the environmental field, and in her spare time can be found exploring local and remote places with her little family of three. Ellen firmly believes that if you look after nature, it will look after you.