Get ready for plenty of small plates and big flavours when Tasting Australia’s Town Square takes over Victoria Square from April 5-14.
A ‘front bar’ under the stars complete with pinball and pool tables, a gourmet take on the classic Aussie chicken shop and a double-decker cocktail bus will all be there as part of this year’s free festival hub.
Opening at 11am on Friday April 5, it will run daily throughout Tasting Australia (excluding Monday April 8), serving up some of the best food and wine from around South Australia. You can also take a masterclass, shop for artisanal produce and kitchen wares, and meet the star chefs and winemakers of the festival program.
Free to enter, the buzzing festival hub will be bursting with flavour and fun, with five bars and 14 food stalls offering a range of delectable dishes – many under $10 – all suiting this year’s theme of ‘small plates’.
On the menu in Town Square is Jock’s Chook Shack, award-winning chef and Tasting Australia Programming Director Jock Zonfrillo’s gourmet take on the iconic Aussie chicken shop, serving up charcoalgrilled chicken and chips cooked on a giant custom-made barbecue.
Adelaide spice queen Ragini Dey will be serving an Indian version of the South Australian classic pie floater with samosa and daal, while La Popular Taqueria will be cooking soft tacos fresh to order on their tortilla press. Also on offer will be flammekueche – a delicious wood-oven pizza hybrid from the Austrian-Italian border by Tarte Gourmet Flammekueche, sliders by Boston Bay Smallgoods, Bombe Alaskas flamed to order by Gelista artisan gelato, Instagram-worthy ice cream and fairy floss creations from Shibui Dessert Bar, and more.
This year Town Square has five unique bars, including four rooftop bars, all run by East End Cellars and offering a range of top drops from Yalumba wines to Kangaroo Island KIS Gin, Pirate Life beer, ciders and more, served in quality Riedel glasses you can collect and keep for just $5 each.
Hang out in the Front Bar, decked out with pool tables and pinball machines, and try your luck in the raffle, or enjoy fine and artisanal wine in the East End Cellars Bar, where you’ll find 40 top wines by the glass, specially selected from all over Australia. Try a range of sparklings, including Champagne Bollinger, in the rooftop Bubbles Bar; lounge to the sounds of DJs on the Yalumba Collections Bar rooftop; or get on board the Back Bar – a specially converted double-decker bus serving up a dizzying array of gins and spirits, including Kangaroo Island Spirits’ award-winning KIS Gin.
Drop in to one of the 24 East End Cellars Masterclasses taking place right across the festival in the Specialised Solutions Pavilion and be expertly guided through tastings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, sake, whisky and more by some of the world’s top winemakers, distillers and sommeliers. Tickets can be prebooked online, or bought on the door (subject to availability).
And no visit to Town Square is complete without a shopping spree at the Superette, Tasting Australia’s own mini gourmet market selling everything from artisanal produce to gourmet cookware, with many rare and
unique hand-made items you can’t find in stores.
Festival Director Simon Bryant says it won’t just be your tastebuds that are tantalised at Town Square.
“Everything on the menu at Town Square has been specially curated not only to be delicious and different, and to showcase South Australian produce, but also to have an element of theatre and spectacle,” he said.
“We want people to see the drama of how their food is made – the flames, the steam, the incredible artistry that goes into it all. When you come to Town Square you’re not just getting a delicious meal or a drink, you’re getting a show too – and with our range of masterclasses and other activities on offer, there’s really something for everyone.
“With this year’s theme of ‘small plates’, Tasting Australia’s Town Square is the perfect place to grab a unique work day lunch, enjoy pre-dinner drinks and snacks, or have a gathered feast with friends.”
Friday’s opening celebrations continue into the evening with ticketed event Of the Moment – The Opening Night Party where guests will be treated to a surprise menu of once-in-a-lifetime dishes of local ingredients sourced on
the day by chefs Zonfrillo (Restaurant Orana, Adelaide), David Thompson (Aaharn, Hong Kong), Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney) and Darren Robertson (Three Blue Ducks, Sydney) with matched wines by Yalumba (you can get tickets here).
Tasting Australia is on across Adelaide and surrounding regions from April 5-14. For the full program and tickets, head to tastingaustralia.com.au.