If the story of Gondola Gondola was written as a comic book narrative, it would be entitled ‘Ideas Man and Action Girl’. Founder and firecracker Annie Liang and her partner Tuoi Tran are the personification of these characters.
‘Ideas Man’ Tuoi had been dreaming of opening his own vibrant place that showcased the beauty of his family taught recipes for some time, when ‘Action Girl’ Annie decided it was time to turn their dreams into reality. And the bright and zesty Gondola Gondola restaurant and bar, perched on the corner of Peel and Hindley Streets, is the result.
In just five short months Annie and Tuoi turned a vacant lot into a slick, modern Asian drink and eatery. Pulling it off was no easy feat though, says Annie.
I’ve worked in hospitality for years, but this whole process was definitely new to us. The Renewal SA team were definitely very helpful in making sure everything technical was on track.
Their tight budget actually ended up working in their favour at times. Hiring friend Matiya Marovich of Sans-Arc Studio to do the interior fit out was an inspired choice, and the thrifty use of recycled timber on the interior adds to the authenticity and quirkiness of the place.
The beauty of the meals served here is in the freshness of the produce used. A small kitchen means limited storage; limited storage means more frequent orders, which in turn means fresher food. And to ensure the freshness throughout, Annie and Tuoi have started using produce from their own greenhouse. They’re hoping to gradually introduce more of their home grown stock to the menu but for now anything containing mint, coriander, chilli or salad mix has been grown by the staff themselves. Talk about personal touch!
Their passion to bring the people of Adelaide something unique extends beyond the impeccable food to the extensive and exclusive range of Japanese sake and whisky. Japanese whisky is rapidly increasing in popularity across Australia, but the Gondola Gondola range is like no other.
Passion is something there’s no shortage of at Gondola Gondola. You’ll find Annie and Tuoi there every shift, rain or shine, with their sleeves rolled, getting stuck in. And their advice for others who haven’t put that dream into reality yet?
“Just do it. Quit your day job. Follow your dreams. Jump in both feet… I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s damned hard. You need serious passion. But if you’re passionate it is possible.”