When Simply Sarj’s Adelaide Central Market journey began back in January of 2020 at Stall 11, it instantly became a hit. Serving up predominantly Indonesian and Malaysian plant-based cuisine, the crowds flocked to the open-air kitchen to try the delectable meals that waft sensational smells throughout the Market laneways. Sadly, this Saturday 23 July is the final opportunity to please your taste buds with Simply Sarj’s mouth-watering meals, after news of the stall’s closure was announced over the weekend.
Simply Sarj co-owner and cook, Sarjit McLinton, or Sarj, says that Stall 11’s opening was greatly affected by the imminent pandemic, which is the main driver behind the decision to shut shop – much like countless businesses that have come before.
Sarj shares, “The Central Market location was a great place for us just before Covid-19 hit. However, during the pandemic, the mandatory long hours of work that were required of us, by our lease, were unsustainable when so few people attended the market.
“This meant that paying casual staff wages at times when people didn’t attend the Market was counterproductive, and the only solution was for myself and my husband, Stephen, to work between 12 and 18 hours each day just to keep our business afloat.
“Since the borders reopened the business has been improving, but the lack of local office workers returning to work in the CBD has still been a major factor in the reduction of our income,” Sarj divulges.
Saturday 23 July will be a sad day for Simply Sarj lovers, but never fear, it won’t be the last you’ll see of Sarj.
“I will be returning to the Adelaide Central Market in various ways; to give cooking demonstrations and as a temporary trader from 1 until 19 November at the Producer in Residence kitchen.
“I’ll be looking at other locations too, after we have a good break to heal ourselves. We haven’t had a break since starting at the Market in 2020 – during this time, I will work on my new vegan cookbook that has a focus on market goods and stories of the Central Market producers and growers.
“I will also be establishing a Crowdfunding platform to launch my new business model sometime in September or October 2022. We plan to create a food van for all kinds of catering in Adelaide and interstate,” Sarj adds!
“Interstate customers have urged us to take our food across the borders. Our donuts have even been taken overseas by dozens of tourists and airline staff who have asked us to pack their food to eat at mile-high,” Sarj shares.
If this is the first you’re hearing of Simply Sarj and are wondering what all the fuss is about – it’s plain to see, and taste, that all of Sarj’s delicious food offerings are made with love.
“My serious food journey began after sourcing courage and bravery from my deceased mother’s life. She was a role model to me and always made people feel comfortable with her generosity and her food – even though she had very little herself,” Sarj shares.
“I challenged myself to walk in her shoes; to create something with very little ingredients and with basic cooking appliances, and this is how my journey of paying homage to my mum began.
“The love she had for her extensive vegetable garden to feed her large family inspired me to cook vegan food that is very tasty, and Simply Sarj was born,” Sarj finishes.
Thank you for feeding us and sharing your talents over the past two years, Sarj.