Few people in Australia cook seasonal, produce-driven dishes as well as Ali Currey-Voumard. The chef worked her way up from volunteer to head chef at renowned Tasmanian cooking school and restaurant Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, before leaving the role in 2019. Most recently, she worked as head chef at Public Wine Shop, a cool Fitzroy North wine bar, until making the move to regional Victoria last winter.

Now, the chef is getting ready to run a three-month pop-up at the historic Temperance House hotel (formerly Empyre Hotel) in Castlemaine. From Friday January 5, Currey-Voumard and her partner Mali Mitchell-Court will open a 25-seat wine bar, with a pop-up bistro to follow from Friday January 12. Both will be run under Currey-Voumard’s A Table brand and will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of March in the hotel’s bar, dining room and leafy courtyard spaces.

The bistro, which seats 35, will serve a set lunch of what the chef describes as “good country cooking” and the menu will change at least weekly. Currey-Voumard says she’s been finding inspiration in books about the classic rural dishes of France and Italy and lunch diners can expect dishes like pork chops stuffed with tapenade, tomato and pine nut tart; mussel and spinach gratin; ratatouille; duck braised with olives; poached fruits with custard; and walnut cake.

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“Ultimately the menu will be influenced by what our local growers and farmers have available, and what the weather is doing. I love cooking based on the weather,” she tells Broadsheet.

The wine bar part of the A Table pop-up will operate from the afternoon into early evening. There’ll be wines curated by Currey-Voumard, Mitchell-Court and Claudelle Savannah, who previously worked as a sommelier at Public Wine Shop. The wine list is focused on organic producers, and roughly 40 per cent of drinks on offer are Victorian, with many drops coming from producers based within 100 kilometres of Temperance House. As for food, the chef says there will be terrine, some cheese, bread and a salad, as well as the occasional warm or hot dish such as a garlic soup or pork meatballs with lovage.

A Table bistro and wine bar are located in Temperance House at 68 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine. Bookings are recommended for the bistro, the wine bar is available for walk-ins only.

Hours:
Wine Bar
Fri to Sun 12pm–9pm

Bistro
Fri to Sun 12pm–3pm

@atable_bistro