Frequent visitors to the Central Markets will be familiar with Wild Loaf's rustic breads and pastries, but the transformation of the business’ second shopfront on Duthy Street will see a lot more than simple baked goods getting passed over the counter.
Nettle and Knead go beyond the bakery
Last year, bakery business Wild Loaf, which was started as a Central Market stall by father-son team James and Fanis Katsarelias, expanded into its second space on Duthy Street – a location initially earmarked as a wholesale kitchen.
You can visit Nettle and Knead at 84 Duthy Street, Malvern. James and Katharine are open Tues – Fri, 7am – 4pm and on Saturdays from 8am – 3pm. See the Facebook page for more information.
But after overwhelming interest from locals, the decision was made to turn it into another public store-front. Now, son James is looking to start experimenting and expanding his product range – something not possible at the original location due to strict lease agreement terms.
The commitment to evolve has also sparked a name change at the Duthy Street location.
“We wanted to move away from your conventional bakery,” says James. “I mean, we already had to some extent, but this is just taking it to another level… We figured it would create a problem with our customer base if people were coming to Duthy Street and getting all this new, different stuff and then expecting to be able to get it in the markets as well.
“Running each site independently was the best option for everyone, and we’re really excited about where Nettle and Knead is going.”
Though the business is still in its infancy (they don’t even have their branding yet), the Nettle and Knead vision is clear and decidedly anti-fad. The approach of James and partner Katharine Monserrat, who has joined him in the new business, is wholesome and handmade – with a particular focus on combining traditional techniques with unique local and seasonal flavours.
Products will be constantly on rotation, enabling the team to have fun with trialling new things on short runs or through weekend-only specials. Winter will also see the introduction of hearty soups to be served with the obligatory crusty chunk of sourdough.
Locally, Nettle and Knead’s inspiration comes from Mylor Bakery’s famous sourdough, but James and Katharine are also influenced by people from around the globe. They’re in the process of scouring all manner of books, websites and Instagram accounts from places as far afield as Scandinavia and America so they can constantly improve their offerings.
Katharine and James take a very personal, hands-on approach to the business, even going so far as to drive around the Adelaide Hills to source fresh produce for each week’s bakes. Products are organic and biodynamic where possible, and you can get your caffeine fix from blends by another Central Market favourite, Caffe da Mitolo.
“We want everything to be earthy, wholesome, and a little bit different… Our main focus is everything being handmade; not having all those extra sugars and fillers and additives in there,” says Katharine.
Katharine was adamant that she wanted the space itself to be warm and welcoming, and more than just somewhere people ran past to grab a loaf of bread or a sausage roll.
The pair are well on their way to achieving this with ample indoor and outdoor seating, a mini library and reading nook and a kids’ toy corner – an imperative with the couple’s young son pottering around and another baby soon to arrive. The morning that CityMag visited, a giant wreath of native flowers had just been delivered by Ponder Posy, and a wall inside the shop section is soon to be decorated by Katharine with traditional baking tools. The team is always on the lookout for local artists’ work to adorn the few remaining blank spaces.
“I started going to a lot of cafes in the Adelaide Hills and got a lot of my ideas from up there,” says Katharine. “The library gets used so much already. You can take a book with you, drop some off. It’s all about creating a community in here, a home away from home.”
James and Katharine say they feel humbled by the way local residents and fellow Duthy Street businesses alike have embraced them so enthusiastically but really, with bread this good and service this warm, it’s no wonder things are moving quickly for Nettle and Knead.