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May 28, 2020
Habits

Sparkke at the Whitmore wants to shout you a beer

The first beer inside a pub after iso was always going to be special but Sparkke at the Whitmore is going a step further, shouting you a welcome back beer this Friday.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Supplied

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE

Just three weeks before Sparkke at the Whitmore opted to shut its doors to the public in light of the coronavirus, the Adelaide brewpub had celebrated the launch of its new restaurant concept, fare.

Remarks

Sparkke at the Whitmore
317 Morphett Street, Adelaide 5000
Mon—Tue: 12pm ’til 6pm (bottle shop only)
Wed—Sat: 11am ’til late
Sunday: 11am ’til 5pm

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For months leading up to that moment, head chef Emma McCaskill and her kitchen team had worked to create a menu that spoke equally to the pub’s nature and to Emma’s more refined culinary sensibilities.

Once COVID-19 hit, the pub wasted no time reorienting toward takeaway and delivery, making a great deal of the consideration that went into the fare experience immediately redundant.

And though the pub has been silent for the last tow months, the kitchen has not stopped.

“It’s felt really weird,” Emma says.

“The absence of noises that you’re used to, like the people talking in the restaurant, and the chatter and the laughter, the drinks clinking together – when you don’t hear that after a few weeks, it’s like, Fuck, this is really daunting.”

With restrictions finally eased enough this week to allow for pubs to consider reopening, Sparkke at the Whitmore has made the call to reopen from Friday, 29 May.

The pub will initially be restricted to 10 patrons at a time, and then from Monday, 1 June, its capacity will increase to 80 patrons spread throughout the venue.

Slowly and steadily the laughter, clinking of glasses and sounds of general revelry will return.

Emma McCaskill. This photo: Duy Dash

 

“Do you know what’s going to be really, really nice is putting food on a plate,” Emma laughs, “and just hearing people’s voices again in the building… That’s going to be really nice.

“Our kitchen is in the restaurant dining room, so it’s all connected into one, and whoever’s on the pass that night, when we have been open, is certainly listening to that background noise, as well as all the noises in the kitchen and calling out dockets. It’ll be good to have that back.”

And to celebrate this return, because the Sparkke team are a generous bunch, the pub is shouting everyone who comes by a welcome back beer.

“I only heard about that yesterday. I was like, Wow, that’s really generous,” Emma laughs.

“It’s just in light of really coming through this period and being able to have a beer back at your pub.”

The entire range of Sparkke beers available on tap will be on offer: from the core range are the New England pale ale, pilsner, apple cider, hard lemonade, ginger beer, as well as specialty brews red rye IPA, red ale, stout, pink lemonade, desert lime draught, dark lager, black IPA, and grisette.

Sparkke’s red ale, which launched in January

 

Both food menus within the pub have been refreshed. The pub menu will still be available for takeaway, so the menu items are designed to sit well either dine-in or at home.

“We’ve put more curries on. We make a lot of curries and curry bases from scratch, so we’ve got this really yummy golden fish curry… that’s this really lovely sweet and sour turmeric, coconut-based curry,” Emma says.

“We’ve done a roti bread and stuffed it with chicken, fermented chilli and cheese, and then we pan fry it and its kind of like a pizza pocket, but a roti bread pocket.

“And the desserts are just really classic, handmade desserts, like a really classic vanilla custard tart and golden syrup dumplings, because they’re really good in winter and they’re not healthy at all.”

As for fare at the Whitmore, due to the levels of physical distancing now expected, the restaurant has moved away from its share-plate concept.

“The menu has been formulated so that people can enjoy their own dishes, instead of bigger serving, share-style dishes, which means it is more refined – in a good way,” Emma says.

Available for order are handmade vegetable samosas, smoked kingfish, mushroom and chestnut dumplings as entrees, as well as larger servings of wood-fired cauliflower, pork shoulder, and roasted chicken thigh.

Bookings for fare are essential, and lunch sittings will be held at 12pm and 1:30pm Wednesday to Friday; 12pm, 2pm and 4pm Saturday and Sunday; as well as dinner sittings at 6pm and 8pm from Wednesday to Saturday.

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