Matt Eustis came up in local venues The Stranded Store, Stone's Throw, Press* and Whitsundays luxury resort Qualia, and now he's leading a new direction at The Stag Public House.
The Stag Public House introduces new head chef and new culinary direction
After a five-month settling-in period, The Stag Public House has launched a new menu and culinary direction, led by new head chef (and recently repatriated Adelaidean), Matt Eustis.
“The Stag Public House is focusing on the venue’s future, rather than its past,” a statement from the pub says.
The Stag Public House
299 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000
“We have invested in a team who live and breathe the Adelaide hospitality scene, and our commitment to showcasing the best SA has to offer is what will breath life into the space.”
Matt’s cheffing career started alongside Herringbone’s Quentin Whittle at The Stranded Store in Colonel Light Gardens. He then spent some time at Press* before following Quentin to help set up Stone’s Throw in Norwood, and eventually moved to the Whitsundays for a two-and-a-half-year stint working at Qualia, a luxury resort that enabled him to work alongside high-calibre chefs such as Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore, Andrew McConnell.
Although his time at Qualia was “an amazing experience and an amazing opportunity,” there was no question about whether he would return to his home city.
“I’m really passionate about Adelaide as a city centre, so I was always going to come back. I just wanted to spend some time away and hone my skills. Now I’m here and can offer what I can offer,” Matt says.
A lot has changed in the dining culture of the East End, and in Adelaide at large, since Matt left in 2016. At that time, the former Stag had wavered in its efforts to rebrand after closing a year prior, and the hotel’s current publicans, Ollie Brown and Josh Talbot, were less than a year into their first venue, NOLA.
In reintegrating into Adelaide’s culinary scene, Matt is keen to present his take on modern-day pub fare in one of the most talked about pubs in the city.
The first step was to scrap the previous menu.
“Just started fresh, that was the easiest way to do it,” he says.
“What we’re trying to do is move away from your traditional pub grub… [and] create a venue where the food is fun and approachable – with quality and local produce at the forefront.
“We’ve started out with this really, really nice menu, which is going to see us through to the end of Fringe, to the end of summer, and then when we hit autumn is when we can begin to extend on the foundation we’ve already put in place.”
The menu is expansive, but pub classics remain – burgers, salads and steaks – and made seasonal.
“The steak garnish, we’ve got two at the moment, ones with salsa verde and fresh lemon – again, just really clean, fresh flavours – and the other’s served with a red wine butter, again, something a bit lighter than pouring a heavy jus or a heavy gravy on something.
“It’s something a lot lighter and fresher and cleaner. And with the seasons, those things will change as well.”
The Stag Public House is just one of a series of reinvigorated pubs in greater Adelaide, reimagining what diners can expect on a front bar menu. It’s an exciting culture to contribute to, Matt says.
“There’s a couple of pubs in Adelaide, like the Port Admiral, that have started to reinvent what pub food is and what it can be,” he says.
“We’re not trying to do what they’re doing… but we’re trying to go down a similar path in not reinventing the wheel [and] pushing the boundaries of what can be done.”