Warragul’s Hogget Kitchen is doing more than just making a name for itself and the town it’s based in – it’s also reviving the word ‘hogget’, previously lost from the lexicon of modern farming.
What is a hogget, you may ask? It’s a juvenile sheep aged between one and two years, with no more than two front teeth. Known for producing flavoursome and tender meat, the animal provided the perfect inspiration for a restaurant aiming to bring back artisanal cuts of meat.
In creating Hogget Kitchen, chef Trevor Perkins – known for his work at Warragul’s Big Spoon Little Spoon – teamed up with winemakers William Downie and Patrick Sullivan to transform the former Wild Dog restaurant and winery. Located five kilometres south of Warragul and overlooking the stunning Strezlecki Ranges, Hogget Kitchen focuses on artisan butchery and local Gippsland produce, serving a concise menu that features a simple and seasonal fare with generous portions.
Hogget Kitchen is a true family affair, with both of Trevor’s parents helping out. Vegetables are freshly plucked from the garden by his mum, Jennie, a keen gardener. Meanwhile, his dad, Graham, oversees the meat processing and butchering, passing his skills and techniques down through the kitchen.
The seasonal sharing menu changes with the ingredients on hand, and features a number of elements that are made from scratch. Flavoursome cuts of beef, sheep and fowl are cooked outdoors over charcoal coals with local wood, imparting a rustic flavour that’s unique to the area. Trevor has also taken to smoking, curing and pickling ingredients in the kitchen, resulting in a strong selection of charcuterie and sides.
Sit down with your nearest and dearest and settle in for what can only be described as a culinary cuddle. Slow-cooked meats, like lamb shoulder and smoked short ribs, are known to be served with seasonal vegetables, while seafood like rainbow trout is caught, scaled and cooked within 24 hours. Desserts could include anything from lemon pie to farm fresh apple pie served with cream.
Patrick and William are in charge of the accompanying wine list, which features their full range of wines, as well as a number of rare bottles and stellar international wines.
Sure enough you will leave full to the brim, Hogget Kitchen is a restaurant that’s worth the day-trip. Conveniently reached by train or car, it’s well-placed to eat and drink the day away.