When deciding what would make it onto the menu at his newest restaurant, Trak, Quentin Whittle had one simple criterion: things he’d want to eat.
“The reasons we opened Trak really come back to us wanting to create places where we want to eat and getting back to basics when it comes to cooking and hospitality,” Whittle tells Broadsheet. “It’s a Mediterranean restaurant that’s combining the old with the new – and we hope to offer some sort of low-key luxury in Toorak Gardens.”
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It’s the trio’s third venue together, following the success of city bistro Herringbone and the laid-back Crafers Pizza Bar. The new Mediterranean spot serves lunch and dinner, accommodating 80-odd seats.
Whittle emphasises that they didn’t want to copy Herringbone, which is why the offering here focuses on new dishes that aren’t all designed to share.
For appetisers, there are Smoky Bay oysters and a crispy sweet tomato, fennel and gorgonzola tart. Entrees include an escabeche of garfish and a smoked pork rillette with crispy fig and maple bread, while a spaghetti vongole gets top billing in the main courses.
While Trak serves up grilled porterhouse and sticky beef short ribs, it also offers lighter mains, including a raw tuna and goat’s curd dish. For dessert, you can choose between a semifreddo of pistachio or a white chocolate and mascarpone sorbet.
“There’re fads in restaurants and people copy one another, and I think that’s all really healthy, but there’s also a lot of classic stuff that’s been sort of forgotten about. So, when I say back to basics, I mean just presenting and cooking food in a way that’s focusing on what you are doing and not about the chef’s ego or Instagram or any crap like that. It’s about the customer and putting something on the plate that’s interesting and tastes good.”
Whittle’s desire for low-key luxury is perfectly echoed in the restaurant’s discrete location. While it’s on one of Adelaide’s busiest arterial roads, Trak is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair, shielded by terracotta-coloured blinds and sandwiched between a Petbarn and a cake-making business. Steeped in Adelaide folklore, the Trak space was originally occupied by Grimaldi’s – an Adelaide institution that, for three decades, fed local cinemagoers visiting the lauded Trak Cinema upstairs.
“I grew up in the area and my mother used to take me to Grimaldi’s when I was a kid. She also took me to the Trak Cinema to see European films, even though I didn’t understand them. So there is a bit of a nostalgic feeling to the site,” Whittle says.
Inside, green leather booths run along the length of the restaurant, with the open kitchen taking pride of place at the rear. To the right is a long marble bar with high seating and walnut-coloured cabinetry, adding to the venue’s homey-yet-high-end aesthetic.
375 Greenhill Road, Toorak Gardens
0429 037 928
Tues to Thurs 6pm–late
Fri & Sat 12pm–late