Above the streets of Adelaide sits a long forgotten and now abandoned Chinese Restaurant. I vaguely remember this still being open in the very early 90s but I knew that it had been closed for at least twenty years ago. Of course I needed to see what remained of my hazy memories! So, on an otherwise dull April day my regular partner in grime accompanied me on a mission to get inside.
I remembered the restaurant as the Silver Dragon. Digging deeper it appears to have operated as a Chinese restaurant for years beforehand – going back at least as far as the 1940s as Yip Lee’s Oriental Cafe.
The former restaurant area had changed a little from how I remembered. The biggest change being the closure of several openings between the main dining area, effectively splitting the space in three. Some remnants of the restaurant remained though. A large Chinese mural adorned one wall and a false ceiling that would have been the height of 1980s interior design provided some perspective as to the former use. Several other areas were being used for storage or were simply too uninteresting to bother photographing.
Beyond the restaurant area, we explored further. As we moved deeper the building showed signs of age and deterioration through neglect. Pigeons had made quite a home inside and water penetration had caused ceiling collapse in several areas. There were signs that one area may have once been a boarding house of sorts. Newspaper clippings from the 1950s and handwritten notes in pencil were scrawled upon several walls. One past occupant had obviously had a bit of a fascination for a 1940s movie actress named Cyd Charisse, with several articles and pictures of this former star glued to a wall.
As is the way, current building code requirements likely prevent use of the space in the immediate term. And so, another slice of Adelaide history slowly decays away.