Modern Australian cuisine – it’s often hard to describe, and categorically one of those tricky names we give to dishes that derive from a diverse array of cultures here in Australia. We’re lucky to have an array of restaurants showcasing modern Australian fare in Adelaide’s East End. But one that’s flying under the radar is Culshaw’s Restaurant, tucked away on the ground floor of the beautiful Majestic Roof Garden Hotel on Frome Street.
Culshaw’s uses native Australian ingredients and local produce in a simple, modern way to create familiar dishes with a delicious twist. Winner of the award for ‘Best Restaurant in a Hotel’ in the South Australian Restaurant and Catering Association Awards, the eatery is becoming renowned for its fine food and relaxed setting.
Head chef Matthew Inkley was drawn to Culshaw’s by their focus on making the most of fascinating Australian native ingredients. “I hadn’t really worked with native ingredients so that interested me,” Matthew says. “When I first started at Culshaw’s they were starting to dabble with the native stuff, so that’s something that drew me here. I’m always up for a bit of a challenge.”
Dabbling with native ingredients eventually led Matthew to create a menu based around them, as well as other locally grown produce. The result? Intriguing and moreish dishes like the Candied Apple Muntrie Brûlée with lightly salted caramel and macadamia ice cream and a wattleseed biscuit. It looks like a regular crème brûlée at first glance, but dig your spoon under the caramel top and take a bite and you’ll taste the unexpectedly spicy kick of the native muntrie berry.
If it’s not native here, it’s likely to be local at the very least. “My philosophy is to use South Australian as much as possible,” Matthew says. “We’ve got a hell of a lot of good products in South Australia…we’re quite spoilt in that regard.”
Finding local producers who specialise in something unique is important to the Culshaw’s team. One of their favourites is Gelista. “They just do ice cream and sorbets” Matthew says. “They’re just a really good product I love using.”
Some of their other much-loved suppliers include Beerenberg, Nippy’s, Say Cheese, GD Wholesale Fruit & Veg, International Oyster and Seafoods, San José Smallgoods, Moo Premium Foods, Skala Bakery and Creative Native Foods by Andrew Fielke.
The South Aussie theme continues on the wine list, too. Their exclusively South Australian wine menu takes full advantage of the restaurant’s location in Adelaide, being close to some of the best wine regions in the world. Think McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Clare – you name it, and you can probably drink it. The team can also carefully match your choice of drops with their delightful plates of food, too. Just ask the crew for their suggested pairings.
So what can you expect? “My food philosophy is that it has to be yummy. What we’re putting on the plate has to be enjoyed by the person. I’m never one to put an element on something just for the visual aspect of it. The flavour has to be right first and then if it can look good that’s great. I just like to do honest food.”
While native ingredients and unique flavours are a focus, the concepts are based on simple, good food that you’re likely familiar with. “Most of the dishes I’ve created are based on simple ideas that I just add a little bit of a native touch to, to change it or enhance it.”
Want to try a bit of everything? Culshaw’s Hop, Snap and Swim is a menu favourite that heroes three of their signature dishes – the delicate Australian Barramundi, the tender Paroo Kangaroo and the quirky Crocodile Ribs. It’s the perfect order for newcomers to Culshaw’s who want a small showcase of native Australian inspired cuisine. “People really enjoy that sort of thing, sampling different elements they haven’t tried before. People are now getting to know the native scene in South Australia and Australia.”
Whether you’re out for an intimate dinner, a unique dining experience with family or friends, or you just want to try some exceptional native goodies, Culshaw’s is a great choice. Once you’ve licked the plate (yep, you’ll want to), you’re seconds away from Rundle Street so you can continue your night out on the town. Better yet, book yourself into a room upstairs and you’ll only have to go as far as the elevator to rest your head.
What’s your favourite South Australian restaurant? Let us know in the comments below.