If Herringbone’s owners are adamant about one thing it’s that their Halifax Street restaurant won’t merely reflect the sum of its parts.
Individually the trio’s reputations precede them. But Herringbone is its own beast entirely. “We’re just three guys putting a restaurant together, versus a group doing another one of the same,” says McLeod.
He and Whittle go way back – they met a decade ago working next door to each other on King William Road at Melt and The Melting Pot, respectively.
“We don’t want to draw from the past too much,” says Whittle. Herringbone will forge its own path, though where it will lead remains to be seen. Day-to-day engagement with diners will inform the menu, Whittle predicts, reinforcing that it has “no fixed address”. “I don’t want to say, ‘This is our signature dish’ … We want [diners] to make that decision.”
Starters, for now, include fried Ortiz anchovies in herb crumb; new-season artichokes with peas and skordalia; and hiramasa kingfish sashimi. When we stop in ahead of tonight’s opening, Whittle serves up a vibrant dish of Coorong mullet on toast with bottarga, sweet dried tomatoes, olive and orange peel.
For something bigger, you might get slow-roasted lamb shoulder with smoky eggplant; buttered spätzle with cotechino sausage; or roasted cauliflower with mejadra (a Levantine dish of lentils, rice and onion) and hummus.
Whittle’s style rests on respect for produce and its seasonality. “I really like … earth-to-table,” he says, “which, if you break it down, means don’t fuck with it too much.”
Of around 30 wines most are local. A climate-controlled wine cabinet holds potential for a back-vintage wine list. Those looking for a different kind of kick can get D’Angelo coffee from 9am before the kitchen opens at midday.
A mostly DIY fit-out took shape over the past month. Move from on-street seating into the freshly white-walled dining room – complete with a feature herringbone-tiled bar – which overflows into a bright atrium with a ceiling-height tree at its centre.
“It’s fairly thick in [the CBD] now,” says McLeod of dining options in Adelaide’s square mile. While most of his time will still be spent at Peel St, he hopes Herringbone’s location on the edge of the city will help reboot the Halifax Street strip.
72 Halifax Street, Adelaide
(08) 8232 3523
Tue 9am–4pm (kitchen open 12pm–3pm)
Wed to Fri 9am–10pm (kitchen open 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10pm)
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on August 31. Menu items may have changed since publication.