I have seen and heard so many good reviews for Argo on the Parade, but everyone seems to forget about its sister cafe in the heart of the CBD – Argo on the Square! One very possible reason is that Argo on the Square is only open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday, so it definitely caters more for those working or studying close to Victoria Square.
For me, Argo on the Square has become my go-to spot if I’m ever unsure about what to eat for breakfast or lunch. Despite the craziness of early morning coffee runs, or the rush of lunch hour, the service is always efficient and friendly.
I have found the coffee to be pretty consistent throughout the year (with a slight change in blends somewhere in the middle of winter). The current blend is definitely a lot nuttier and less bitter than most other cafes.
I’m happy because I get charged the same amount as a regular milk coffee ($3.40 for a small) when I order my mochas, or any other blend of dairy sustenance (try a half dark, half milk hot chocolate! Seriously yummy!) I have never understood why mochas are more expensive than regular coffees, especially when they are all the same volume.
Argo are also experimenting with filter coffee and have an extensive range of juices, smoothies and iced drinks, so they cater for all coffee and non-coffee drinkers.
My usual takeaway breakfast order is bacon and eggs on a brioche bun (made to order for $7.90 because usually I just want something small). It’s warm, comforting and a sure pick-me-up to get me through a busy day.
I’ve also had nice, eat-in breakfasts underneath the huge, fake weeping willow inside the cafe as well as outside on the eccentric, colourful wheels-turned-into-tables.
One morning a few weeks ago, I ordered the bacon and eggs on organic rye bread ($12). It was delicious; the bacon was a good quality cut and hadn’t been soaked in oil, the scrambled eggs were fluffy and bright yellow (because they are from free range Kangaroo Island hens) and the rye was nicely toasted and buttered.
My friend couldn’t go past the smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese bagel ($8.90), mainly because of his obsession with the television show ‘Suits’, where fast-talking corporate lawyers walk around NYC eating bagels for breakfast every day. Random fact aside, the bagel was a bit too healthy and a tad dry for me. I would have preferred it to be toasted a bit more.
In the mornings, the cafe is a thoroughfare for caffeine-deprived souls searching for their first take-away drop. But having two entrances means that the place is not too crazy if you’re searching for a relaxing sit-down breakfast cafe. During lunch times though, Argo fills to capacity very quickly and when this happens, the echo of closely seated customers becomes quite loud.
My top picks for lunch are:
1) Light meal: basil pesto bruschetta are $8.90 for 2 slices (pictured) – freshly made, lightly toasted and perfect serving size for when you’re not that hungry.
2) Salad: you haven’t eaten at Argo until you’ve tasted the Argo Special lamb salad ($16.90)! The serve is so big that even the boys will happily order it and not complain about being hungry. Marinated lamb slices on a classic Greek salad, with added beetroot, chargrilled capsicum, Argo tzatziki and baby spinach – there’s variety, value and just plain awesome flavours.
3) To share: the chips (pictured) and wedges are the largest serves I’ve EVER seen and are such good value. They also come with a range of different dips to choose from. I usually share small fries ($4.50) between 3 if we’ve all ordered a light meal.
There are also sweet potato fries ($5.90 for a small), although they have been both a hit and miss for me on different occasions – sometimes soggy, sometimes perfectly crispy on the outside while soft on the inside.
4) Piadina: flavour-filled toasted flat bread ($10.50). I got the Portobello Mushroom – pan fried mushrooms (which unfortunately weren’t actual portobellos), Dijon mustard, baby spinach, shaved leg ham and swiss cheese (pictured). I was a bit disappointed with the mushrooms because some less flavoursome button mushrooms had been used, but on a positive note, it still tasted good, was much more filling than I had bargained for, and was quick and easy to consume.
5) Argo Club Sandwich: one of their signature dishes ($10.50), it is definitely not for the faint-hearted or small eater. 2 slices of toasted white bread, a slice of toasted grain bread in the middle and a stack of toppings in between. A colleague of mine eats half for lunch and saves the other half for dinner – perfect for those trying to save
6) Burger (if you must): most of my colleagues order the MJ burger ($11.50) – grilled chicken thigh, pancetta, onion, tomato, provolone cheese, lettuce and mustard and lemon sauce (pictured without cheese). But with so many burger joints around Adelaide these days, I’m so spoilt for choice that I haven’t felt the need to eat burgers from a non-specialised burger joint. Therefore, I cannot review the burgers here – although I have been given a mixed bag of verbal reviews, usually depending on the day.
7) Drinks: With the approach of summer and (hopefully) warmer weather, I’m looking forward to inhaling the range of juices and smoothies available on the menu. My favourite so far has been the Fresco – an icy blend of lemon sorbet, apple juice and mint. My idea of the perfect afternoon delight!
At the end of the day, Argo keeps me coming back for the friendly staff, reasonably priced meals and huge selection of fresh and mostly healthy items to choose from. I’m pretty sure my love affair with Argo on the Square will continue, as I slowly tick off the menu items one by one while watching the slow, slow reno of Victoria Square