There are two major incarnations of the organic whole meal. One is the take-home package increasingly found in the freezer or fridge department of your local organic retailer. The other is the rise of the organic restaurant. They are still rare, but are a rapidly growing phenomenon. Within this category there is still plenty of variation. There are restaurants that identify organic ingredients where they appear, or create organic dishes as a part of the menu, or there are restaurants that try to present everything on the menu as organic, if available. Good Life is a recent addition to the dining out scene in Adelaide, which tries to be completely organic. They are located within the ‘square mile’ of the city of Adelaide, in a restaurant precinct in Hutt Street, on a site previously occupied by a sequence of famous (and very trendy) restaurants, including Neddies and later Nediz Tu.
Good Life has been open for only three months, and in perhaps the toughest season for eating venues, being the heart of winter and the end of the financial year. But Good Life has clearly already established a reputation and a growing clientele of regular customers. Bookings are already necessary on weekends, and even weekday lunchtime and evenings are starting to fill with contented customers.
Two of my first three visits to this restaurant were in a large group, including interstate visitors from the organic sector. Every meal from the regular or special menu was superb, as was the service and the ambiance. Clearly this is a restaurant with vision and the potential for immediate success, and either expansion or possibility for emulators. When I returned to interview the restaurant partners and brothers, Mik,e Martin and Jake Greenrod, I had some questions I was really keen to ask, specifically, where had they come from, why organic and what did they mean by a modern organic pizza?
The three brothers lived in various locations around the world, where their father lived and worked, while raising a family of four boys on his own. They say it was their father who was the original foodie, and taught them to look for quality foods. Martin told Acres “he wasn’t so much into organics as quality, but these days quality has come to mean organic, for so many foods”. With varied backgrounds in hospitality from Fine Dining to café’s, the boys wanted something their own business that focused on quality local ingredients, but was also popular with approachable food. Looking to set up their first business together, they chose pizza “because, while people tend to think of pizza as just pizza, if you use good quality ingredients it is possible to turn out a good quality, healthy meal”. They described pizza as “just a base, or a canvas on which you can paint whatever you like”.
Good Life pizzas are certainly colourful and the colour comes from a range of organic ingredients, like pumpkins and green beans, that you won’t find in the average pizza-chain corner shop. If you want Hawaiian this is not the place for you, but if local gourmet ingredients like Springs Salmon, Kangaroo Island free range chicken, Krondorf proscuito, Swiss brown mushrooms, monster prawns and seasonal organic roast vegetables are more to your taste, Good Life will present them in delectable combinations and a full colour palate. My personal favourite is free range roasted duck with shitake mushrooms, spring onion and ginger jam, although the monster prawns with chili oil and red onions comes in close second.
The claim “modern organic pizza” refers to the combination of flavours not normally seen on pizza, for instance duck, shitake mushroom and ginger. Expect the unexpected, but all on an organic pizza base.
The décor and the atmosphere of the restaurant is “homely”. The atmosphere is a combination of the venue itself, complete with entertainment areas, courtyard with ancient gnarled grapevine, open wood fires, the modern concept decorations and table layout, and service.
The kitchen staff at Good Life include chefs ex Cibos and the famous Grand Hotel (Mildura). The menu was developed by the three partners with input from “chef friend’s” and includes a set menu with seasonal variations, and an ever changing daily specials board.
On my first visit I was really taken with the garlic bread and olive bread and ate so much I wondered how the pizzas would go down. I was pleased to find a light, thin crust and very little emphasis on cheese. Indeed some Good Life pizzas have no cheese at all. There are also desert pizzas. Non-pizza meals include winter soups, home made dips, roast vegetables and organic salads. The olive paste, made from Maroudas organic olives, deserves a special mention.
Pizzas range from $11.90 to $19.80 for one-person serves, or $15.70 to $27.80 for two person serves. There is a good wine list from regional South Australian wines, including a few organic selections.