Orana in Residence has landed and everyone should take note.
Orana in Residence has landed and everyone should take note. The pop-up by Jock Zonfrillo is a reimagining of the original Orana story in Adelaide. The narrative, for those who came in late, is about native ingredients, which are often maligned thanks to chefs who don’t understand how to use them.
At Orana in Residence most of the native ingredients are sourced from New South Wales, after Zonfrillo worked closely with local elders. This is no Australiana cliché; it’s his culinary life story. And that’s honourable, but at $350 per head just for food, is it worth the money?
His research into Indigenous food translates on the plate to a 22-course journey. And while I’m no fan of the meal being a ‘journey’, this is one you ought to take. A trio of starters arrive together: fingers of potato damper getting charry over a bowl of hot coals and served with lamb butter, a macadamia and native thyme soup, and segmented poor man’s orange – like the offspring of pomelo and mandarin wading in a puddle of lamb jus. A rich, albeit delightful departure.
Emu-egg custard gets an umami rush via bunya-nut miso and crisp flecks of saltbush, while time over coals renders cubes of southern bluefin tuna belly and wagyu into complex mouthfuls of joy. Sweet, textural razorfish carpetbags gubinge, and a crocodile broth enlivened with a raft of botanicals is deep and alluring – be sure to get a taste before a little gin concoction is added tableside.
The pick for me is seared kangaroo with smoked potato, pandanus and wattleseed miso – a delicious hug. It doesn’t end there, but to know more you’ll have to visit yourself. Orana in Residence is an enlightening collation – dare I say a revelation? It’s pricey, but it’s about where contemporary food is in Australia right now and delves into our history to explore native ingredients. With such a sumptuous, rewarding result, it is indeed a revelation.
Orana in Residence is open in Sydney until September 15. Ten percent of the profits will go to the non-profit Orana Foundation. To book: exploretock.com/oranasydney
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