1/285 Rundle Street, Adelaide
08 8232 3444
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 trip to Australia in the late 1990s, and went 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 that he found the true, authentic Australian cuisine he was searching for. 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 showcase the Pandora’s box of ingredients, tastes and flavours our wide brown land has to offer. ‘Orana’ means ‘welcome’ in many Aboriginal languages, and he felt it perfectly summed up the meaning and identity behind the venture. Jock has travelled Australia widely, and spent time visiting different communities, learning about their food culture and the connection members have to their food and their land. He buys ingredients directly from these communities, ensuring all money goes straight to the source. The restaurant has two full-time foragers who supply the kitchen with ingredients right from the outdoor pantry that is South Australia.
Head Chef, Shannon Fleming, is a South Australian-born chef who has been working with Jock for more than five years. Together they provide a fine dining degustation experience that is unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. Where else can you start your meal with emu, mulberry and mountain pepper; squid, finger lime and aniseed myrtle; mulloway, lemon aspen and ice plant, or Alexander palm, bush honey and green ants?
For the main course you can try the charred kangaroo tartare, gubinge, grass and wild garlic, or the mud crab, karkalla, sea purslane, codium and yoghurt, which pairs perfectly with a glass of the Reserve Chardonnay from TarraWarra Estate in the Yarra Valley.
Dessert brings set buttermilk with strawberry and eucalyptus, or burnt damper ice cream and native currants, which is set off beautifully by the Botrytis Riesling from the Limestone Coast. The meals can also be paired with juices, rather than wines, if you prefer.
Jock and Shannon 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 65 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 this land, and an understanding and appreciation of the incredible flavours and ingredients used by the first inhabitants. The cooking techniques are balanced and the style is modern and classical, and the end result is simply out of this world.