285 Rundle Street, AdelaideModern Australian, native ingredients and seasonal degustations.
Jock Zonfrillo may hail from the land of kilts and tartan, but what he doesn’t know about Australian native tucker isn’t worth knowing.
Jock made his first pilgrimage to Australia in the late 1990s, spending a year in search of the ‘taste of Australia’. He tried all sorts of food from this multicultural nation of ours – Thai, Malay, Greek, French, Japanese – but never felt he had found the true, authentic Australian cuisine he was searching for. When he immigrated in January 2000, he decided to discover it for himself and began a journey which has led, over two decades, to the door of Restaurant Orana in Rundle Street. Jock opened Orana in 2013 as a place to highlight the Pandora’s box of ingredients, tastes, and flavours our expansive brown land has to offer. ‘Orana’ means ‘welcome’ in many Aboriginal languages, and Jock felt it perfectly summed up the meaning and identity behind the venue. Jock has now travelled Australia extensively and spent time visiting different communities, learning about their food culture and the connection members have with their food and their land. Jock buys ingredients directly from these communities, ensuring all money goes straight to the source. The restaurant also has a full-time forager, Peter Watts, who supplies the kitchen with ingredients right from the outdoor pantry that is the expanse of the state of South Australia.
Jock has enlisted the help of Head Chef, Sam Christopher, a Victorian-born chef previously from the O’Connell Group, who he’s worked with for over three years. Together they provide a fine dining degustation experience that is unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. Meals are no small affair with lunches consisting of 7 to 9 courses and dinners made up of a stunning 18 to 20 courses. All dishes are crafted seasonally and offer diners a small taste of Australia, combining the plethora of incredible ingredients grown on our home soil. Many elements will be familiar to you, macadamia nuts, kangaroo and squid, though others will seem foreign when they are in fact far from it, emu bush, beach succulents, and feral plums. Jock and Sam use ingredients from all over Australia. The gubinge comes from the West Kimberleys, Davidson plums from North Queensland, and Dorrigo Pepper from the NSW Tablelands. Within South Australia, they source Karkalla from the Coorong and lemon myrtle and riberries from the Adelaide Hills. At any one time, there are between 50 to 60 native ingredients on the menu. As you’d imagine, they are always working with the seasons, and constantly changing the menu accordingly. Restaurant Orana provides modern-day Australians with a lifeline back to the ancient history of their country and an understanding and appreciation of the incredible flavours and ingredients used by our first inhabitants. The cooking techniques are balanced, and the style is modern and classical. The end result is simply out of this world.
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