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February 21, 2022

Andalusian memories with food truck La Flame

Drawing inspiration from childhood experiences living in Andalusia, Jarrah Gardener has launched La Flame – a Spanish- and North African-inspired food truck popping up on Hindmarsh Square throughout Fringe.

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  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

It’s been a quick rise through Adelaide kitchens to owning a business for Jarrah Gardener, the founder of food truck La Flame.


La Flame
Food truck on the move
Popping up at Dunfor Noodle Bar every Tuesday during Fringe.
62 Pulteney Street, Adelaide 500


Three and a half years ago, Jarrah was working in cafés while studying at the College of Sport and trying to make a career as a professional football player.

On a trip to Thailand for trials that would have secured him on that path, he fell short, but he was also given insight into the kind of life he could’ve expected as an elite sportsperson.

“Speaking to a lot of the guys who already made it over there, you talk to them and it’s like, they’re making $500 a week to play, absolutely push their bodies, and then it’s so competitive that next year they might not have a gig,” Jarrah says.

“They come back to Australia, and then they’re nobody, they’ve got nothing. It’s pretty full-on. So it was a bit of relief. A bit sad, but I got over it pretty quickly.”

Jarrah Gardener


Jarrah grew up in a family that appreciated food, and so he found similar passion in cooking – particularly after he transitioned from cafés to restaurants. His first foray into serious food was at Leigh Street restaurant Udaberri, and a year later he moved to The Scenic Hotel.

In transitioning into these jobs, Jarrah started at the very bottom, as a dishy. These kitchens were useful in teaching him how much he didn’t know.

“Working with the people at the Scenic and Udaberri, you really learn what it’s about,” he says.

“It was actually really appreciating cooking and learning proper techniques and that. It was really exciting.”

Udaberri was a logical first step for Jarrah. The restaurant has a Spanish influence, which he has a nostalgic connection to. He spent some of his pre-teen years living in a small village in Andalusia, about an hour from Málaga.


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“I went to school there, learned the language. I was huge on soccer, so I was just playing with the kids and stuff. I just loved it. It was the best thing ever,” Jarrah says.

This experience also formed the concept that underlies La Flame. As well as the Spanish influence, the food truck takes inspiration from North African cuisines, which Jarrah was exposed to in Andalusia, which is only a couple of hundred kilometres away (and across the Alboran Sea).

La Flame’s pulled lamb flatbread


“I wanted to do food that was inspired by my time there,” Jarrah says, but not in a way that’s overly prescriptive. Instead, he sees it as a launching-off point.

“The flavours are very unique, but, at least when I’m doing it, it’s not traditional, and you can get inspiration from anywhere,” he says.

“You can go to Asian cuisine and it’s very similar in a lot of ways, or Mediterranean, or whatever. And I like that, the flexibility of it.

“It’s flatbread, it’s meat that’s slow-cooked, it’s anywhere in the world. But I’m just focussing on the flavour profiles of North Africa.”

The La Flame food truck parked at The Scenic Hotel


After two years of planning (and pestering his girlfriend, Lara Clothier, with minor iterations and alterations to the logo), Jarrah launched La Flame in October last year and has popped up in mostly Adelaide Hills locations to date – including the Scenic and Stall 1195 at Uraidla.

After chatting with Justin Healy over a dinner at Dunfor Noodle Bar, the two decided to team up for the festival season, with La Flame operating out of the Dunfor kitchen every Tuesday night of the Fringe.

Jarrah will plate up a menu similar to his last few pub pop-ups, which included a chickpea stew, pulled lamb and dips and pickles, each served with a flatbread Jarrah has adapted from Moroccan m’semen. He will also look to introduce a savoury filo pastry dish.

Justin ran a similar dinner series last Fringe with his ramen dishes at LOC Bottle Bar, before he opened his bricks-and-mortar restaurant a couple doors down.

Dunfor Noodle Bar on Hindmarsh Square


While Jarrah is looking forward to using this regular Dunfor posting as a way to consistently tighten the La Flame concept, he’s not currently looking for bricks-and-mortar sites. For the moment, he’s happy popping up and collaborating with other business owners.

“Maybe one day bricks-and-mortar, but I’m really enjoying this portability and the flexibility of collaborating,” he says.

“I’ve been lucky because I’ve worked with some really quite well-known people, or people who know other people, so it’s kind of been easy to get to know others.

“I became friends with a lot of them, and they’re all very supportive. They all love to see what I’m doing. I think it’s exciting because they want to be a part of it as well.”

La Flame will be slinging food from the Dunfor Noodle Bar kitchen every Tuesday night during Fringe, starting 22 February.

Keep up to date with where La Flame is popping up by connecting with the brand on Instagram.

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