The popular Leigh Street laneway has always been bustling with life, thanks to the many culinary gems that call this little street in the city their home. One of the latest members to join this close-knit family is bar, cafe, and restaurant Plain Jane.
Extending over two storeys, the heritage-listed space that was previously known as Cos on Leigh is now run as Plain Jane by co-owners Giuseppe “Joe” Alvaro, Tarik Nasser, and Vince Loprete. The space has been revamped to create a social atmosphere that is welcoming, fresh, modern, and beautiful, thanks to their decor that screams a level of glamour, their delicate stencil-style artworks that has been painted across one side of the upstairs area and secret staircase area, the versatile dining area upstairs that can instantly be turned into a dance-floor, and a Parisian-style dining area downstairs that has been carefully situated across their open bar space.
I was particularly attracted to the vibe of Plain Jane because unlike most places on the Street, they offer breakfast / brunch / lunch options and honestly, with the space being illuminated with plenty of natural light, it deserves a visit on a gorgeous sunny day in the city!
Having opened their doors to the public less than a month ago and with a team of 13 talented staff who man the 280-person capacity space, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with co-owner Joe about their newest venture – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Joe?
Joe: I’m 25 years old, coming from a background as a trade worker doing tiling. However, I have always had a passion and desire to open up a bar from an early age, so I finally have the opportunity to fulfill my dream.
Tema: When designing the look and feel of the venue, what elements were you hoping to incorporate?
Joe: The venue attracted me from its location in the CBD on Leigh Street and its historic beauty being a heritage building. The space it has to offer is amazing and a bonus! Being a heritage building with so much history, we wanted to stay true to its classic feeling of a classy establishment and add a modern twist to it.
Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience when visiting Plain Jane?
Joe: We intend on giving a classy vibe, where people and large groups can come together comfortably in our venue and enjoy everything we have to offer – from our food to our cocktails.
Tema: What’s the story behind the name Plain Jane?
Joe: We wanted a name that was humble to its beginnings and the building. We wanted to keep it simple and strip it back to basics – from the menu to the decor. Hence, the name Plain Jane.
Tema: What was the vibe of the artwork that you were hoping to offer to your customers?
Joe: Myself and one of the partners involved, Tarik – Owner and Creator of ‘Lantern By Nu’, have created a decor fitted to the heritage of the building. With Tarik’s knowledge and creative touch, he has created a relaxed ambiance by combining the heritage history with a modern spin. We used the collaborative efforts of artists Sam Brooks, Dave Court and Joel Van Moore to create the feature mural that resides upstairs by the dining area. Along the staircase further back, there is a stencilled artwork that replicates the essence of Adelaide, which has been done by artist Lee Harnden.
Tema: Can you tell us a bit about your head chef and how the menu was created? Who is the head chef?
Joe: The menu was created by renowned chef Nu Suandokmai from Lantern By Nu and Vince Loprete of Italian Kitchen at Two-Twenty, Together, they have created a menu that offers some of the best dishes from around the world, including Thai, Italian, French and Lebanese. The menu will be changing periodically by the season, but we hope that it will continue to offer customers with a level of freshness and originality throughout.
Tema: What made you decide to offer breakfast and stay open during the day?
Joe: Our breakfast menu has been created to cater for those who are on-the-go, and for those who would like to relax before their day starts. We also offer barista-made coffee with house-made sweets, which is the perfect ‘’pick-me-up” throughout the day. Our passion and love for our menu is something we love to share for those who walk through our doors.
Tema: How did you decide on who would be part of your family?
Joe: When putting the Plain Jane family together, we were primarily looking for individuals who were bubbly, easy-going, and fun, but who also had the passion and knowledge of cocktails, wines and spirits – as we have such a large selection to choose from!
Tema: Can you tell us a bit more about your events and functions that you can host at Plain Jane?
Joe: We cater for all events – from birthdays, corporate meetings, to using our beautiful space for your wedding photos! Our lovely Events Coordinator & Manager (Kat) is always happy to assist all enquiries – starting from the selection of food, to help assist you with any special requirements to make your function a hassle-free and memorable one.
Tema: What do you think helps Plain Jane stand out from the rest?
Joe: Our space! Our spacious indoor areas plus our outdoor lane way is a bonus for us. Our venue is quite deceiving from the front, which has many customers in complete awe when they come in and explore!
Tema: Why should people come and support Plain Jane?
Joe: Our vibe, delicious food and amazing staff is something you definitely want to experience! Our time, dedication and love for this place is what creates Plain Jane and makes it the unique social space that it is!
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like our readers and your customers to know about yourself and/or Plain Jane?
Joe: Words cannot describe the experience our customers have had, which is why they continue coming back every week. The best thing to do is come in and experience it for yourself – I guarantee, it will be a memorable one!