It’s not really the done thing to write about Restaurant B when you’re supposed to be spruiking Restaurant A but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll wine if I want to.
PUBLIC café/bar/restaurant opened in Waymouth St, Adelaide, in November 2012. I first ate at Public in July 2011. How is that so, you wonder?
Public happens to be one of New York City’s best restaurants, awarded a Michelin Star last year. It was a memorable first of five nights of dining in New York on that trip and chosen by my sister Christine, who was living in Toronto at the time.
Memorable, not just for my first New York martini and the brilliant food of chef Brad Farmerie, but because after 28 hours of flying all the way from Adelaide, I opened the drink list to find they had Coopers Pale Ale and about four wines from South Australia, whites and reds, being poured. Even more were available by the bottle including Penfold's Grange. A recent check of the list online showed the SA presence hasn’t changed; you’ll find Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2008; Turkey Flat Grenache Shiraz, Barossa 2012; Tir Na N’Og, Grenache, 2008 McLaren Vale. If you want to check the other local wines on the list view it here.
So I recently returned to Public, this time Adelaide’s PUBLIC (their capitals not mine). A daytime café and a restaurant in Franklin St, it’s opened for dinner on Friday’s only.
A group of PUBLIC’s friends and media were invited along to taste some of the dishes that head chef Stewart Wesson has devised for the restaurant and bar’s new “Freestyle Friday”.
It's worth noting at this point that a few nights later Wesson was named Restaurant Chef of the Year at the SA Restaurant & Catering Awards. Congratulations.
Nobody could get enough on this night of his Potato Langos – fingers of Hungarian fried potato bread used to scoop up a refreshing dill and cheese dip. The House Cured Salmon, served with cubed cucumber and avocado on puffed tapioca crackers was a dainty mixture of soft and crunchy; the lemony dressed Coffin Bay oysters were so fresh and good that my companion Roxy dropped her default reaction to decline oysters and declared the one she had delicious. The fourth taster was rectangles of thin wagyu beef wrapped in pickled daikon. A new match for me and a great combination.
Wesson told us the “food blew me away” on his recent trip to Europe, to compete in the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup.“It’s all about sharing (over there) and that’s what I wanted to bring to (PUBLIC’S) Friday night food”. One meal in Copenhagen lasted six hours.
He said the overseas experience had taught him South Australians have access to amazing produce and that diners appreciated the interaction with the kitchen staff in establishments with open cooking areas.
PUBLIC owner Danielle Elia said Wesson had returned “bursting with ideas” for Friday nights and the philosophy that “good food deserves to be shared” which had set the tone for the new menu which consists of tasting plates, small and large.
Wesson has been joined in the kitchen by Melody Herbert, who recently worked alongside Peter Gilmore at Quay, in Sydney. Expect to see some decadent desserts at PUBLIC in future.
To find out more about PUBLIC, Freestyle Fridays and its menu, visit here.
***All the wonderful photographs accompanying this post are by the talented Russell Millard, a friend and former colleague. You can reach Rusty at his website here.