Historically, one of Adelaide's oldest surviving bakers. The origins of the company date to 1853 when it was established by James Calder. It became known as Balfours when Calder's nephew John Balfour took over the company. Balfour's in Rundle Mall is the last functioning cafe to be operated by this prominent South Australian business and is well known by the community at large. Balfours has occupied this building since 1895.
Architecturally, the building is considered to be innovative because of the building envelope, which is independent of the internal structure. A new facade was designed by Louis Laybourne-Smith in 1924. The building has a large steel and glass curtain wall to the Rundle Mall frontage surrounded by abstracted Classical details, in particular the monumental pilasters which frame the studio-like south light. The interior of the cafe has been modified and a mezzanine floor removed. However, sufficient timber wall-panelling has been retained to provide a good impression of its former ambience. (PJS 5/12/97)