Bambi's Kitchen may sound like a new kid on the block, but the cook has been serving up those mouthwatering dishes for years. Formerly known as Horner and Pratt, the girls at Bambi's have since redecorated, reorganised, and replenished new life into the cafe.
You'll never find another place that makes you feel more at home, and that's simply because of all the hard labour put in by owner Amber Pratt (aka Bambi), and her partner, Bridget Young.
Once upon a time...
Born on Kangaroo Island, Amber had initially started working in the Visitor Centre cafe at the National Parks. While she also had experience in childcare work, much of her time was consumed with travelling. She has now lived in Adelaide for 6 years.
Meanwhile, Bridget was born in the small town of Mudgee, northwest of New South Wales. After living in Sydney for 10 years, she moved to Adelaide in 2011 to spend more time with her parents and her little sister, who was 10 years old at the time. "I was planning on moving back to Sydney after my trip to America in 2012," said Bridget, "but then I met Amber."
First a student undertaking an Arts degree in teaching, Bridget had even tried her hand at becoming a Naturopath before she finally settled in teaching full-time yoga.
The East Terrace location was occupied by Tree House Galaxi Cafe aka Zella's before Amber and her previous business partner, Emma Horner, transformed it into Horner and Pratt. When Emma left, Amber wasn't ready to give up on the cafe, so she sought Bridget's help.
"I put my yoga aside," said Bridget, "We never thought it would be easy jumping into this together, but we knew we had to give it a go."
"Amber is the only one that cooks here," when Bridget first mentioned this to me, I couldn't contain the shock on my face. When they showed me inside their kitchen, it became apparent as to why this was the case: there was only one portable hotplate to cook food.
Despite the huge amount of customers that come through every day, this seemed to suit Amber just fine: "I'm very nitpicky and controlling with the food. I want to be consistent when it comes to quality for our diners."
"Our idea for Bambi's Kitchen is to provide healthy, satisfying food with good service. People struggle to find places to eat out when they have dietary requirements. We want to make sure we can provide food for those people and make it available to as many as possible."
With one cook, a tiny kitchen, and a menu that demands freshly prepared ingredients, Amber and Bridget find themselves with a 6AM start in the kitchen every morning. "Customers asked us to open earlier, but I really don't want to have to get up at 3AM in the morning," Bridget chuckled.
Despite having to give up their daily pleasures and hobbies to a life that revolves entirely around the cafe, Amber and Bridget have an undying love for hospitality. "It's the people you meet, the busy days when you close up the shop and think, with a gusto, 'YES, we nailed it!'"
"Facebook and Instagram have also become a great feedback channel for our work. I love seeing messages and photos from our customers, they motivate us and make our day. In the end, this is all worth it."
Bambi's All Grown Up
"We added a long table by our windows upstairs so people can enjoy the beautiful view of Rymill Park. It's a great blessing," Bridget gestured to the green parkland just across the road, "I think the fact that Adelaide is surrounded by parks along all the terraces is such a unique and wonderful highlight for the city."
Showing their appreciation for these green spaces, Bambi's offer customers with the option to borrow a picnic rug and have their meal at the park, which has always been a highlight for customers during Spring and Summer.
When we asked about future plans, the girls have certainly given it plenty of thought, "We'd like to move to Tasmania one day in the future," said Amber, being an avid gardener, she has another dream, "I'd love to have a store where I can grow and sell my own produce."
Walk into Bambi's and they'll make you feel like part of their family in no time. Meat lover, veggie lover, sugar lover, Amber's ready to cook you your best meal yet. There's no compromise for quantity either as Bridget's always telling Amber to 'pile more food on that plate'. Pop in for a quick treat, Bridget's vegan carrot cake and peanut butter slices sell out in the blink of an eye, so guard yours well, they are to die for.
Recommended Items: B.T.T Deluxe (Amber's favourite), Haloumi Wrap, Sweet Potato and Lentil Patties, Vegan Burrito, Brunch Wrap, Breakfast Burrito, Vegan Smoothie, Peanut Butter Slice, Carrot Cake (you get the idea, everything is good.)
31 East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Credits to Liam Tang for the photos, thankyou!