When it was announced that Justin James, who propelled Restaurant Botanic – and the state of SA – into the dining stratosphere, was stepping away from the fine diner, the food world was sent into a tizzy. A month later it was announced that head chef Jamie Musgrave has been promoted to fill James’s shoes as executive chef.

Musgrave was born in Dunsborough in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region. He found his passion at a young age and left school to pursue a culinary apprenticeship at 15. He spent time at Knee Deep in WA and Rockpool Bar & Grill before spending two years at roving restaurant Fervor, where he developed an appreciation for native ingredients, and then a further two years at Vasse Felix. His final gig before joining the Restaurant Botanic team in 2021 was at One Star House Party in Hong Kong.

Musgrave sat down with Broadsheet to share his favourite local haunts, the local producers that star on the Restaurant Botanic menu, his favourite spot to nurse a hangover, and more.

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What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
My favourite spot for a quick sandwich on the go is Bottega Bandito. The sopressa sando is unreal and some truffle fries on the side are a must.

And for a drink and snacks?
Pastel Wine Bar in North Adelaide. The snacks are outrageously delicious. The octopus and beef tartare is my go-to. The wine list is to the point and the cocktails are well worth a look. Always a vibe in there and the staff are great.

And what about the best food close to where you live?
I live north-east of the city where we like heading to our local pub, The Pickled Duck. Aside from the awesome name, they cook all their meat in their smoker or the wood oven. I generally lean towards a smoked brisket sando. The beers are cold and the service is friendly. It’s what you want within a five-minute radius from home.

Where do you go for a long lunch?
Maxwell Wines in McLaren Vale is my favourite for a nice long lunch. Great views, luxe venue and spot-on service. Chef Fabian [Lehmann] does an exceptional job of balancing flavour and texture in his tasting menu. Drive down early and go to a few cellar doors beforehand or a tasting after lunch to make the most of the afternoon. Walk off the wine down by the beach in Willunga on the way home. A perfect day!

How about a meal with a big group of family or friends?
Sunny’s Pizza. A real vibey venue that accommodates larger parties. Pizzas are always spot-on with flavour and the crust is perfectly kissed by the fire. I also appreciate that it’s low maintenance. You go there to throw down a few fresh Tommy’s Margaritas and a range of pizzas, some sides and keep the good times rolling. I like to keep it easy that way, enjoying really tasty food and spending time with my people.

Who do you think does the best desserts?
I’m a sucker for pastries, so Prove Patisserie in Stepney immediately comes to mind. The almond croissant hits another level, but I also love trying their weekly specials to see what else they have brewing. I just tried their Dutch sticky buns and I’m still thinking about them.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Restaurant Botanic?
Mud crab chawanmushi. This is a chawamushi infused with mud crab shells with the meat warmed in a sea celery and finger lime butter, seasoned with burnt mandarin and [makrut] lime. The dish is finished with a foam of mud crab and celery-leaf vinegar.

Growing up in WA, I was spoiled for choice in the world of crustaceans. Mud crabs were a favourite of mine, something about the sweetness and flaky characteristic has now ingrained itself as a quintessential Australian flavour. I love the richness and texture of this dish – to me it screams Australian opulence. This will be available on the new menu, which launches on July 16.

Is there a hidden gem that you think is underrated but great?
One night I happened to park in front of this small izakaya-style bar Kokoni. My original intention was to go for dinner elsewhere, but the place was buzzing. Kokoni is an intimate space that’s serving up Asahi on tap and some wild cocktails. We were lucky to grab a seat at the bar as two were just leaving. They offer a short, core menu and then they just verbalise their specials to you – it’s wild. Super tasty little dishes, you just go wild with the ordering and settle in with a bottle of sake.

What’s your go-to hangover feed?
Citi Zen yum cha is the way to nurse a hangover. Although the late sitting seems like the safe option, I like getting in early and let the dumplings and Sapporo work their magic before noon. The prawn with Chinese doughnut rolls is unreal, as is the pork siu mai.

Tell us about a local producer you can’t stop thinking about.
Something Wild. They have some amazing native ingredients that are hard to come by and pull through on all things weird and wonderful. Also a huge shout-out to Phil from Westside Mushies, who grows some delicious delicacies.

What’s your favourite spot for a late-night feed?
That Restaurant on Gouger. Pete is my guy. My go-to meal is the mapo tofu, with the julienne pork fried rice to accompany it.

@jamiemusgrave
@restaurantbotanic_adl