We get a lot of the same television shows as the United States here in Australia, but there are some shows that are uniquely Aussie. Case in point, one of my personal faves, Masterchef Australia. Yall – I am 100% OBSESSED with this show. I love cooking and reality shows (duh), and bring on the Australian accents, and I’m sold.
Premise: home cooks (no professional chefs/caterers allowed) compete (four episodes a week!) in various culinary challenges. I love that they’re all “ordinary” people with jobs that are outside the food industry – students, moms, insurance salesmen, etc. And these peeps are TALENTED. And I also think I really love that despite it being a competition, they’re all so nice to one another – very supportive and helpful in challenges and stuff – I love the United States, but you rarely find that in our cutthroat reality television competitions/shows. Those sweet Aussies!
Anyway, I was watching the show right after booking my flight to Adelaide and a guest chef was brought in – Jock Zonfrillo, [ruggedly handsome] chef at Restaurant Orana right in Adelaide! After hearing him discuss his restaurant in the city I was to visit, I quickly booked Ashlie and I in for a reservation one night.
I dont know what I was really expecting – I figured it would be a nice meal, but when I got a phone call from the restaurant the day before confirming the reservation and asking if there were any allergy restrictions (as it was a set menu), I realized that we were in for something more than originally anticipated. I let them know of my Celiac, and for having a set menu, the woman from Orana could not have been nicer – not to mention we ended up adding Jenny and her partner to the reservation the day of, and the kind accommodation continued!
So we arrived at Orana for our 6:30 reservation and were literally the first ones in the restaurant, not that there were many tables to start with – maybe four tables; I’d say the eatery fit no more than twenty-five diners. It became packed QUICKLY though. And I won’t drone on too much longer about it (mostly because I didnt take any pictures of the food/interiors – bad blogger Abby – and what’s a post without lots of fun pics?!), but I’ll leave yall with our menu.
It tasted and looked every bit as delicious, confusing, unique, fresh, and local as it sounds. Basically, Orana has full time “foragers” (no, I’m not joking) to find herbs, greens, seeds, etc from the environs in the area surrounding Adelaide. Same with the meats, cheeses, fish/shellfish, dairy. Truly a farm/land to table experience. And before you think that we’re piggles with this huge menu, I’ve gotta say that each course was just a little bite or two, and while I was definitely satisfied, I wasn’t disgustingly full. Now if you’re in Adelaide and after something a little less “fine dining”, downstairs from Orana is their sister restaurant, Street ADL – more “street food”, but still utilizing those same fresh, native ingredients.
This was a true dining and culinary experience – I’m so glad we caught Jock on Masterchef and made those reservations! And as you’ll see later in our trip, Ashlie and I had yet another Masterchef “close call” in the Barossa – what can I say? We’re unabashed groupies! 🙂
And now a big virtual hug and firework to all my American readers out there – Happy Independence Day! For some reason, I am super homesick today thinking of my family and friends enjoying BBQ, sparklers, beach/mountain time, and a long weekend of fun – enjoy!!! We Blantons will be celebrating the 4th in spirit! 🙂 Until next time….
Listening to this jam on repeat (and getting a bit teary especially at the Blue Ridge Mountains part, I’ll admit it!):