South Australia's outstanding regional restaurants won’t miss out on Tasting Australia crowds, as they become part of this year's Town Square Canteen series.
Regional stars to shine at Tasting Australia
Town Square Canteen at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga will highlight six different regional restaurants in the heart of the CBD during the annual food festival.
Festival director Karena Armstrong wanted to incorporate a way to have a food experience that can be out of reach for some.
“As part of the festival, I was doing a research trip to the Flinders Ranges. We were at the Prairie Hotel and [I saw] my friend Gus, the general manager and the chef, and we were talking to him, and it’s such a unique offering,” Karena says.
“The food reflects the place, but it’s a long drive — it’s on the edge of the desert. There are people in the city that I’m sure would love to go there or love to experience it or understand more what it is, but it’s a long way.
“So I had this harebrained idea that we would bring all the regional restaurants in, and just really show how strong we are in region to people in South Australia at an accessible price point.”
The outlets are offering a $49 lunch that includes a main, a shared side, bread and a glass of wine. Karena says not only is this “crazy value” but that it also gives city slickers a chance to “meet the people behind the [regional] restaurants”.
“And not just the chefs, front of house people are going to come down. So the people that actually serve the food and tell the story of the food because it’s a really integral part of hospitality,” she tells CityMag.
“Chefs sometimes get put up on a pedestal that I think is disproportionate to their contribution to the whole thing. You need a team to make the hospitality experience good.”
Besides the Prairie Hotel (Flinders Ranges and Outback), the other regional restaurants making the trip to Postcode 5000 are The Farm Eatery (Barossa), Sunset Food and Wine (Kangaroo Island), Watervale Hotel (Clare Valley), Lost Phoenix Farm (Fleurieu Peninsula) and The Line and Label (Eyre Peninsula).
Co-owners of the Watervale Hotel, Nicola Palmer and Warrick Duthy, say they believe this is an opportunity to “interact with regional restaurants”.
“So it’s really about for us showcasing what we do up here, our ethics, our philosophy, our organic and biodynamic produce that we use and the farms that we work with up here to source our produce,” Nicola says as the executive chef.
The Watervale Hotel’s premier experience is the degustation menu and Penobscot Farm tour which Warrick admits he’s “just about to lead one in a few minutes” as he’s speaking with CityMag.
“I’m going to have some guests come by, we’re going go down to the farm. We’ll talk about organic, biodynamic farming as we walk around, we’ll pick some of the produce for today, we’ll bring it back to the hotel,” Warrick explains.
“Then they’ll sit in the kitchen and watch Nicola prepare their six-course dinner for them, including some of the produce that they have been a part of picking just an hour earlier.
“What Nicola is trying to do with this Tasting Australia event is give people a little taste of that premiere experience in Victoria Square.”
Nicola says the festival menu “will depend on what ripens on our farm — it’s a very hard question for us to answer so early on”.
“What she’s done in past years is taken a dish which is very much inspired by one of the dishes at the degustation – and those dishes change obviously with the farm produce – the farm produce will inspire the dish, and then she’ll work out what proteins or whatever she wants to put with farm produce,” Warrick elaborates.
“So she’ll basically use one of the degustation dishes that she’s doing during that period, and recreate in Victoria Square, so therefore giving people the opportunity to taste one of the aspects that they would taste if they came up and did the full farm tour and degustation experience.”
Watervale Hotel’s Tasting Australia Caneteen experience is taking place at 12pm, Wednesday, May 8 at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. You can purchase tickets here.
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