With new head chef Kelly Delaney at the helm, Sparkke at the Whitmore is looking to offer diners something new at the CBD brewpub.
Chef Kelly Delaney is taking Sparkke at the Whitmore in a new direction
The lengthy search for a replacement head chef at Sparkke at the Whitmore, following Emma McCaskill’s exit from day-to-day operations at the pub in June 2020, has come to a close, as Kelly Delaney takes the reins in the kitchen.
Kelly joined the business in July this year, and has committed to overhauling both the bar and ‘fare’ restaurant menus.
The chef worked most recently at Penfolds Magill Estate, where she cheffed for the last five years, and before that ran Madisons in Kuala Lumpur.
Looking for a change from the fine dining environment of Penfolds, Kelly has come into Sparkke’s brewpub for the opportunity to cook “the food that I wanted to cook,” she says.
“I ate here a couple of times when Emma was here, and I like the feel of the place. I like that it’s kind of refined, but it’s rustic,” Kelly says.
“The couple of times that I’d eaten here, I thought this place had a lot of potential. A lot of hard work, but a lot of potential. So that was the drawcard.”
It was important for both Kelly and the pub’s ownership group to move away from Emma McCaskill’s menu and explore a new culinary direction for the Whitmore.
“We wanted to do that level of food, but not necessarily that style of food. It was just to bring my own twist to it,” Kelly says.
“It’s more about just cooking food that I love. If I want to go out and eat somewhere, what would I like to eat? That’s how I cook, and I don’t really have a cuisine that I stick to.”
Kelly hopes to more clearly delineate the Whitmore’s two menus.
“My goal here is to have people come for the fare menu, and whether that be having a special night out or just popping in for dinner,” she says.
“But then I also want to have a pub crowd as well, people coming in and going, ‘The bar food there is really cool, it’s really different.’”
There are some similarities in the two offerings – they both share small starter dishes, and the beetroot salad and the house-made gnocchi – but fare ventures into Modern Australian territory with gin-cured salmon and striploin with artichoke, whereas the bar menu has comfort favourites like fried haloumi, a beef burger and shoestring fries.
The Whitmore’s menus will continue to evolve as Kelly upskills her team, and as they win back clientele after a long period without a permanent chef leading the kitchen.
“For me now, it’s just to get the crowds back,” Kelly says.
“I think, if we’re being honest, it’s been a bit rocky here in the last six months to a year. They’ve gone through a couple of chefs, and it’s just finding that steady medium of getting the crowds back.
“That’s my goal, is to get the crowds back, and once we get a following, figure out what they like, and then we’ll go from there. Just keep getting better and better.”
Sparkke at the Whitmore is located at 317 Morphett Street and opens from 11am ‘til late Wednesday through Sunday.