You won’t find any chocolate on the menu at Sol, a bar and restaurant atop the gilded tower rising from the railway station. That’s because every ingredient in the kitchen is sourced within South Australia – which means no saffron, nutmeg or cardamom either. But the spice cupboard is far from bare, thanks to the ingenuity of head chef Kane Pollard (ex-Topiary).

Pollard is passionate about reducing waste in the kitchen, but it’s not just lip service. Take the spices – if he can’t source them locally, he’ll improvise with veggie discards. He and his team might dehydrate the pulp from smoked tomatoes and blitz it into a powder to create a faux paprika, to go into a smoked tomato and strawberry consommé. Or run celeriac skins over the grill and use them to make a broth that's reduced until it becomes a smoky treacle. The methods are ingenious, but just as importantly the results are delicious.

Pollard and his team also make soft cheeses and butters in-house, and bread is baked fresh before each service. They have elevated the simple bread and butter starter through creations such as grilled sourdough accompanied by an earthy pine tea, and three-corner garlic flatbread served with Coorong-mullet tarama and grilled grapes.

Highlights of the à la carte menu might include a black bean and snow pea “porridge” with confit chicken thigh; crunchy chicken-fat croutons with crispy saltbush; and udon noodles topped with duck-heart ham, shaved egg yolk, soursop leaves and a plant-based pumpkin XO.

Just like the vegetables, every part of the proteins is used, and most of the larger plates come with a bonus dish that allows the kitchen team to use extra cuts. A medallion of Birdwood venison with smoked butter turnips and pink peppercorn-spiked jus might be accompanied by a venison-shoulder terrine that’s breaded and fried with hay yoghurt.

It’s all part of a vision designed to remind diners where they are and encourage them to appreciate everything that goes into their meal.

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Updated: December 22nd, 2022

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