Waterfall Gully is an eastern suburb of Adelaide in the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges around 5km east-south-east of the Adelaide city centre.PROFILED BY DEGROOTS MEDIA
A winding road, lined with citrus coloured nasturtiums and white lilies rising from watery creek beds makes for an enchanting drive to this eatery. Silence your radio, wind down the windows and just listen – birdcalls, bug chatter, and a breeze whispering through soaring pines lead you up to the gully’s majestic waterfall. Here you will find Utopia - a 1912 Swiss chalet-style stone cottage – one of Australia’s most unique dining locales.
New owners Justin and Kelly Markos have breathed new life into this special venue. It has become a contemporary place hosting a cultured and friendly crowd. People attend wedding receptions in their best, and return soon for morning coffee on the balcony after a hike around the bushland surrounds. Diners comfortably stroll down into Justin’s snug cellar for something conducive to his tasteful menu.
A multi-award winning chef, Markos’ food culminates some of Adelaide’s best restaurants, having worked in Michelin-starred nosheries with the beloved Gordon Ramsay. You are eased into his sophisticated menu with a sense of humour. ‘Barry the omelette’ has breakfasters smiling with his warm belly of Emmental cheese. On cold mornings, a bowl of Utopian winter porridge comforts the weary-eyed risers by the open fireplace.
Lunches bring tea-smoked quail spring rolls, steamed duck and pistachio sausage, and ‘cheeky pork’ - slow-braised cheeks served with saffroned rice and sautéed pak choy. A blue cheese soufflé is as light as the gully air outside. The Caesar salad is finished with white anchovies and poached duck egg - these special additions should not go unappreciated. Nor should the magnificent dreadlocks of the gypsy in the kitchen – peek in the door to check him out and send your compliments to the chef.
You cannot help but leave Utopia feeling you have experienced something special. Perhaps it could be the resident ghost…