Just one month after expanding his presence at Roxie’s with a street-facing canteen, Comida Catering Co’s Brad Sappenberghs is busy planning his most ambitious project yet – a new eatery in the former Seasonal Garden site in the Adelaide Hills.
The sprawling Hahndorf property will enable Sappenberghs to grow his own vegies on-site and host various functions outside.
“Something I’ve wanted to do is work with a space where you can pull things from a garden and put it on a plate that same day, so we’ve got the opportunity to do that up there,” Sappenberghs tells Broadsheet.
“There’s a small orchard out the back; lots of perennials being grown through the garden; there are vegetable beds that we’ve already got heaps of vegies in. I’ve always been about that regional vibe, using local produce and supporting everybody around the region, it’s been a big dream of mine.”
The restaurant is the latest evolution for the Comida brand, which started as a home-based catering company before expanding in 2014 with a stall in the Central Market. That site quickly established Comida as a serious and much-loved presence in the market – and in Adelaide’s wider hospo scene.
“We started off doing one pan of paella each week, then slowly started building [to] a pan of paella every day – and sold out every single time,” Sappenberghs says. During that time he and his team also continued off-site catering for festivals, weddings and corporate events.
The impending redevelopment of the Central Market Arcade and the need for a larger workspace saw Sappenberghs move his kitchen to Chateau Apollo and Roxie’s last year, and eventually close the market stall to fully invest in the Grenfell Street canteen, which is now trading from Roxie’s front entrance from morning till night. That site has soft-launched – serving coffee, boccadillos and Basque cheesecake – with larger dishes still to come.
The Hahndorf restaurant is still in its early stages, but Sappenberghs says to expect breakfast and lunch service as well as a chef’s menu on Friday nights, all of which will include more refined dishes compared to the street-style items at Roxie’s. There’ll be a number of vegetable-focused dishes (using both homegrown and outsourced produce), along with woodfired proteins, as well as Comida’s signature chicken and chorizo paella.
The drinks menu will consist mostly of local craft beers (with a couple of Spanish options); wines from the Adelaide Hills (and other local areas); cocktails; and a host of sherries.
The venue seats approximately 150 people across the interior, the deck (which overlooks the garden) and the al fresco lawn area. Renovations will commence in the weeks ahead with the restaurant expected to open by mid-January.