A sweet treat in Bowden

30 Sep 2021


Let us just begin by saying, if you’ve never visited the original Parwana restaurant on Henley Beach Road, you are most certainly missing out. The location has become an Adelaide icon, with even the New York Times making a special effort to get a seat.

Bowden residents and visitors have been lucky enough to enjoy a shorter walk to enjoy their wares as they’ve graced the markets with a smaller offering since the start of Plant 4 Bowden.

“We loved visiting the Market Shed on Holland, it just had such an excellent community feeling. So when we heard about the opportunity to come to Plant 4 each week, we jumped at the chance” said Fatima Ayubi.

The realisation of how popular their Afghani sweets were was an incremental progression on market nights. As their sweet treats began frequently outselling their savoury options, Fatima and her daughter Zainab knew their dream of opening a sweets and dessert cafe could really work in this community.

The location for Parwana’s newest evolution, Shirni Parwana became obvious when the Plant 4 team approached them. Soon you’ll find their beautiful and unique glass cube is nestling itself into the new Plant 3 Bowden.

“Plant 3 and 4 are run by a family and there’s so much love put into it. It mirrors our family in a lot of ways, so we feel like who we are and how we operate fits in here.” said Zainab.

She also went on to speak incredibly fondly of Fatima’s growth as a pastry chef and her passion for bringing people together. What does that better than dessert? They play on each other’s strengths to make a cohesive team.

As for the offering, expect a much larger range with both very traditional Afghan sweets to things that are Afghan inspired, with creative twists. There will also be some light savoury pastries for those without a sweet tooth. On weekends they hope to progress to more of a dessert house, with plated decadence you can sit in and enjoy. And why wouldn’t you when the space will be so beautiful?

For those who have been lucky enough to truly scour the pages of the Parwana cookbook, you’d have noted that it’s far more than the intricate details of the recipes we’ve come to love. Much of the book explains the story of the Ayubi family’s journey from Afghanistan to Australia and the sometimes tumultuous experience it’s been to reach the success they’ve found.

“Throughout our twelve years of service, our ethos at Parwana has been to function as a conduit – connecting our community to a deeper and broader story of Afghanistan. Woven into the cuisine we serve, are strands of our ancestral memories, of a largely forgotten story of the cultural cross-pollination that shapes us all, and of traditions steeped in generosity and care.”

Their story puts into some amount of context how they’re all feeling with the recent news coming out of Afghanistan. This is why they chose to host not one but two fundraisers at Plant 4 to support charitable organisations registered in Australia (via the ACNC) and with staff on the ground within Afghanistan. The partner organisations are Afghan-Australian Development Organisation, Mahboba’s Promise and Human Appeal.

The events sold out in a matter of minutes raising incredible amounts of money in donations for the cause. In fact, as many Bowden community members did whilst we were having this very conversation. Neighbouring businesses stopped by to ask for the donation link and donate their days’ profits. We always talk about how connected the Bowden community is, but this was a true display of it in person.

“Honestly it’s a scary and confronting time for us here. It’s been a big week. But we’re really choosing to focus on the good. As you’ve seen people are feeling lost and desperately wanting to help. There’s plenty of generosity and kindness here and we’re so thankful for that.” Zainab said with a smile.

Shirni Parwana will be opening at Plant 3 in just over a month. Follow along on social media to keep up to date with progress.

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