Barrio is dead. Long live Lola’s Pergola – Adelaide Festival’s 2014 party destination where chefs and winemakers will be the stars.
Australia’s gastronomic scene is the most exciting it’s been for years with quality new eateries such as Peel St, Jock Zonfrillo’s Street-ADL and Orana, the re-opening of Magill Estate, as well as the recognition of innovative restaurants such as Hentley Farm and Bistro Dom. These establishments are complemented by the buzz of street food and laneway destinations resulting in a scene that caters for the high end, the experimental hunters, as well as the street. Bistro Dom’s Head Chef Duncan Welgemoed, who was just named Adelaide’s chef of the year by The Advertiser, will showcase this new food wave at Adelaide Festival’s Lola’s Pergola: a nightspot where you can indulge in high quality degustation meals and enjoy the theatre of cooking from some of the best chefs from SA and beyond.
The Adelaide Festival’s food and wine-driven after-hours destination is from the team behind Barrio’s The Naughty Corner and Neon Lobster, The Happy Motel (the culinary arts collective that Welgemoed joined this year). Barrio and Lola Pergola’s Creative Director Ross Ganf approached Welgemoed about this year’s Adelaide Festival club after a controversial dinner the Bistro Dom chef created for The Naughty Corner called Roadkill in Snowtown. For Lola’s, the Michael North trained chef suggested the team throw parties like Welgemoed and his food and wine mates do up in the Adelaide Hills with “incredible winemakers and wicked food” that is not like every other food and wine event in this state. The result: First Fruit – 10 degustation dinners that will be Lola’s Pergola’s signature series of events.
“We want to focus on the small guys that are unknown within the larger demographic,” Welgemoed explains. “To actually feature them and say, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got incredible winemakers and incredible chefs – let’s stop looking interstate and focus on our backyard’.”
First Fruit will feature innovative local, national and international chefs using local produce in conjunction with resident winemakers for the long-table dinners. Alongside Petaluma Wines, the winemakers include three of this state’s most dynamic in James Erskine (Jauma), Anton van Klopper (Domaine Lucci) and Brendon Keys (BK Wines) who are causing enormous ripples in the wine industry with their creative hand-crafted wines.
“We’re basically giving them the stage to go crazy and really show themselves without having to be nice, corporate or reserved: ‘This is what we do. Here’s our booze. You don’t have to travel to the McLaren Vale or the Hills, check us out in our environment.’ I’d love to take people up to see the Jam Factory where James [Erskine] works or Anton’s [von Klopper] garage. People outside of that world don’t experience it. This is the recreation of that.”
Unlike Barrio there will not be live bands at Lola’s.
“It’s more focused on DJs with the chefs and winemakers being the performance artists and rock stars to a certain extent,” Welgemoed says. “That’s why the collaborations have to be noteworthy in terms of how mental it actually is, so it is a performance and it’s not like another Tasting Australia.”
The Battle Royale dinner is the ideal event to check in with SA’s young talent. Hentley Farm’s Lachlan Colwill, Zac Ronayne (Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill), Ben Sommariva (Penny’s Hill), The Lane’s James Brinklow and Emma Shearer will battle it out in an Iron Chef-like event to see who can claim the new generation’s bragging rights. But this state’s cooking trailblazers aren’t forgotten, as The Old Boys degustation will feature Cheong Liew (esxThe Grange), David Swain (Fino) and Mark McNamara (ex-Appellation) to join forces for a dinner that celebrates their groundbreaking achievements.
On an international level, ex-Fat Duck chef Gavin Baker (now based in Melbourne) will be here with his Mist Project, where Baker immerses himself with locals so he can deliver a dinner that communicates his discoveries. In Adelaide, Baker will spend time with local winemakers. More international representatives are the team from Noma’s Nordic Food Lab who will partner with James Viles from NSW’s Biota Dining.
Other nights of note include The Gypsy China Tea Party featuring Lee Ho Fook’s Victor Liong and his sister Ev, who will create a dinner of contemporary Chinese food with matched teas and whiskey. and Victorian Bitters starring two of Melbourne’s most exciting chefs: food legend Raymond Capaldi (Hare & Grace, Fenix) and young-gun Dave Verghaul (The Town Mouse). Then there’s Welgemoed’s night – Duncan’s Dungeon, which will see him collaborate with Rag and Bones for a degustation theme like no other.
“Rag and Bones is an artist collective who are really into the underground art scene. I really want to show a subculture of South Australia, there’s a massive kink scene down here and a mental art scene as well. I want to show that side of Adelaide because it’s known for its weirdness and its dark underbelly.”
The degustation dinners will cost $130 per person, but punters can flash less cash to experience the chefs’ creations, as every chef will create a retail food item available for Lola’s Pergola patrons not there for the degustation.
“The retail kitchen will be pumping out to the public through the smokehouse, a Hills Hoist BBQ, which is a pit BBQ done with a Hills Hoist with loads of grills, charcoal and a pretty stoking menu, which is restaurant quality stuff. That’s where the Happy Motel comes into its own with killer concepts from James Brown [MASH and The Happy Motel] dressing the hell out of it.”
With Lola’s Pergola and First Fruit, Welgemoed wants Adelaide to recognise the innovative new guard that exists in their hometown.
“Look at what Hentley Farm’s doing; Peel St, Street and what we’re [Bistro Dom] doing. Then there’s the bar scene, Clever Little Tailor, those guys are becoming individuals and are known for that. We’re not being known as a nice place to visit, we’re actually known as a destination – a food and wine destination.”
All have not embraced this movement. Ann Oliver took to Twitter to criticise both Welgemoed and Colwill after they took out the major honours at the Advertiser Food Awards: “Give me a break Hentley Farm best restaurant South Australia and Duncan Welgemoed best chef no wonder no one flies into Adelaide just to eat,” she Tweeted. Welgemoed fired some colorful Tweets back to Oliver in response. The Bistro Dom chef said he didn’t care that Oliver had a go at he and Colwill but was angry at the comment “no wonder no one flies into Adelaide just to eat”.
“Adelaide is actually small enough as a collective for everyone to stick together and promote South Australia. We still have that big country town mentality where we know everyone and we eat in each other’s places. It’s not like Melbourne and Sydney where it’s so massive and dynamic; we’re small enough to embrace it. Let’s do it. Let’s move forward and create something for us.”
Friday, February 28 to Saturday, March 15
Fruit First Program
The Gypsy China Tea Party
(Friday, February 28) featuring Victor (Lee Ho Fook) and Ev Liong (Whiskey & Alement)
Terroir on the Table
(Saturday, March 1): James Viles (Biota Dining) and Nordic Food Lab (Noma)
Yakitori Sugar Pie
(Sunday, March 2): Adam Liston (Borrowed Space) and Quang Nguyen
The Misty Maker (Thursday, March 6): Gavin Baker (ex Fat Duck and The Mist Project)
Mamma Shpagett (Friday, March 7): Jared Ingersoll (Danks Street Depot) and Alex Herbert (Bird Cow Fish)
Battle Royale (Saturday, March 8): Zac Ronayne (Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill), Lachlan Colwill (Hentley Farm), Emma Shearer, Ben Sommariva (Penny’s Hill) and James Brinklow (The Lane)
Appetite for Excellence (Sunday, March 9): Chloe Proud (Ethos), James Viles (Biota Dining) and Sonia Bandera (Rockpool)
The Old Boys (Thursday, March 13): Cheong Liew (The Grange), David Swain (Fino) and Mark McNamara (Appellation)
Victorian Bitters (Friday, March 14): Raymond Capaldi (Hare & Grace, Fenix) and Dave Verhaul (The Town Mouse)
Duncan’s Dungeon (Saturday, March 15): Duncan Welgemoed (Bistro Dom), Imogen Czulowski (Fino)