Loc Bottle Bar is fast becoming Adelaide’s most versatile venue. The tiny wine bar has hosted pasta nights and ramen nights, it’s flipped burgers, served tacos and done sausage sizzles. Now it’s adding breakfast to the mix with Toast, a new monthly brunch series starring some of Adelaide’s best chefs.
“I think, this not being a restaurant and having fairly basic food options, I like the fact that it’s making the venue a different thing,” says owner Olivia Moore. “It’s so nice to have people who know what they’re doing come in with such a formed idea and just take the reins and then I can do the wine bit. It just works.”
The seed for Toast was planted by Kate Richards (of Share Dinners), who wanted to create a space for chefs to flex their muscle outside of the confines of their usual repertoire. “I just thought it would be nice to get some women together and cook delicious food,” says Richards. “And make it more of a collaborative space.”
So far, she’s locked in Lauren Southwell (Africola), Jenny Kim (Golden Boy) and Emma McCaskill, who’ll draw on their respective cultural backgrounds to present breakfast dishes not readily available in Adelaide.
“I think it’s great because when you’re in a restaurant you’re so involved in that business and things like this are such a great way for us to connect together,” says McCaskill. “And being [food] from your origin you’re actually cooking what you want to cook.”
Each chef will present two dishes – a savoury and a sweet – and a non-alcoholic drink. Southwell is first up and drawing on her German heritage (with some outside influences thrown in).
“My favourite brunch I’ve ever had was in Hong Kong at a place called Australia Dairy Company,” says Southwell. “They do a rough breakfast but it’s my most favourite place to eat. They do scrambled eggs, which is fine, but on the side they do this macaroni and ham soup. So I want to make a banging bacon broth with spaetzle, the German egg noodle, and have ham on the side.
“I’m really excited about it. It’s definitely German but I’m putting my favourite spot in Hong Kong’s spin on it. And for dessert I want to do a steamed milk pudding and try to infuse apple strudel into it.”
All of this without a kitchen, mind you. The chefs will be cooking everything on an induction cooktop (which means they won’t be able to cater to dietaries).
The menus are still being fine-tuned, but Kim will cook a Korean-style brunch of cucumber bulgogi with seaweed and (probably) hotteok (sweet pancakes). And McCaskill will make dosa (Indian crepes) and gulab jamun (Indian doughnuts), with lassi to drink.
“The dough [for the dosa] is made out of fermented rice and lentils and then it’s blended into a batter and you smoosh it around [on a pan] till it’s thin,” says McCaskill. “Then add pickles and chutney or dahl and vegetables, fold it up and eat it, maybe with some wine.”
“We’re timing it so it’s appropriate to drink wine – it’s close enough to lunchtime,” adds Moore. She’ll be on drink duties for the day and is looking to bring in a special magnum for each event (including a German riesling for the first one).
Coffee – probably filter, we’re told – will be available for those who want to caffeinate.
For Moore, Toast is an opportunity to build on the community she’s nurtured since opening Loc late last year, and bring a more lively, communal vibe to a meal that's often a quick, transactional experience.
"It’s [usually] like ‘sit-down, have a coffee, do the thing and then leave’,” says Moore. “Whereas I think this will hopefully be a lot more, ‘sit down, relax, chat’ ... because it’s quite a communal space and Adelaide is Adelaide and everyone knows everyone, I’m hoping it will be really social and intimate and more of a thing, rather than what you do when you’re a bit hungover.”
Toast will be held at 11.30am on the first Sunday of the month. Tickets for the June, July and August events are available online now. Each $45 ticket includes a two-course brunch and a drink by the chef, plus a glass of wine.