Re­view

Tassie’s much-loved Agrar­ian Kitchen has ex­panded from farm to restau­rant – and it takes An­thony Huck­step to his happy place.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

En­joy a taste of Tassie good­ness at The Agrar­ian Kitchen Eatery.

I’VE OF­TEN THOUGHT

that any­one open­ing a restau­rant risks end­ing up in an asy­lum. Long hours, late nights, chefs’ egos and mi­nus­cule mar­gins con­spire to draw one closer to a strait­jacket and padded cell.

The Agrar­ian Kitchen’s Rod­ney Dunn and Séver­ine De­manet cut to the chase, open­ing their restau­rant in New Nor­folk’s Wil­low Court – a former men­tal asy­lum.

Over the past 10 years, they’ve been grow­ing pro­duce and run­ning The Agrar­ian Kitchen – Tassie’s adored kitchen gar­den and cook­ing school – in nearby Lach­lan. The restau­rant seems a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion to cel­e­brate not only pro­duce they grow them­selves, but that of farm­ers, fish­er­men and grow­ers of the re­gion, too.

Drinks guru Adi Ruiz em­bod­ies the lo­cal ethos with a list that cel­e­brates the re­gion’s drops as well as tak­ing sea­sonal pro­duce to make syrups and fer­ments for his quirky cock­tails. The ser­vice is nat­u­ral and earnest in its will­ing­ness to share a piece of Tas­ma­nia – hardly sur­pris­ing given it’s led by the won­der­ful Katrina Birch­meier (Bar Brosé, Garag­istes).

A cel­e­bra­tion of such is one thing, but the re­straint and re­spect shown by head chef Ali Cur­rey-Voumard is a sheer joy.

The house-made sour­dough de­mands to be smeared with house-churned but­ter. There’s a won­der­ful firm­ness to cured strips of Tas­ma­nia’s hero fish, striped trum­peter, eight of which ar­rive on a plate with rye, half a soft-boiled egg, pick­led onion, but­ter and ke­fir cream. The com­bi­na­tion al­lows each el­e­ment to have its say, es­pe­cially the fish.

Crisp, re­fresh­ing and earthy broad bean leaves pro­vide a canopy over raw and pick­led beetroot, car­rots, turnips and daikon that hud­dle on a dense lab­neh in a moat of olive oil. It’s one of the most per­fect dishes I’ve had this year. There’s lo­cal mor­wong served with spaghet­tino tossed with gar­lic and pan­grat­tato (bread­crumbs), south­ern-fried leather­jacket with chilli-spiked ‘ra­zor­back’ ranch, or lamb meat­balls with tahini sauce.

But the un­de­ni­able go-to is the wood-roasted meat of the day. To­day it’s suck­ling pig – a gen­er­ous slab of golden, crisp-skinned swine en­cas­ing wob­bly flesh ac­com­pa­nied by some stun­ning sides. These in­clude a re­fresh­ing salted, toasted sesame-dressed cab­bage; a shred­ded cold potato salad with chilli oil, peanuts and black pep­per; and a large, but­tery lard and chive pan­cake that fits neatly into one’s guilty plea­sures bag. All with plum sauce, kim­chi and cu­cum­ber pickle to help cut through the rich­ness.

If you’re after a sweet fix but can’t fit much, the Monte Carlo bis­cuit is per­fect.

What­ever you do, just make sure you check your­self in to the Agrar­ian Kitchen Eatery when in the Ap­ple Isle. You’d be crazy not to.

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