Hospitality young-gun Joshua Kleemann is on the precipice of opening his very first restaurant.
Hügel Wine Bar & Kitchen is the accumulation of Kleemann’s three years at Pike and Joyce, two years at FINO, and an all-encompassing love for local winemakers and producers.
The restaurant’s name pays homage to Kleemann’s fifth generation German family, and is located in Kleemann’s hometown of Lobethal.
“I moved back home to Lobethal about six months ago,” says Kleemann.
He notes seeing space for a new eatery in the Adelaide Hills dining scene, with now seeming the right time to take a step further into the world of the restauranteur.
When we speak, he is still pinpointing the aesthetic, but says it will be “contemporary with a rustic tone.”
In its former life, Hügel Wine Bar & Kitchen was a bank, built in the 1950s. As far as decor goes Kleemann says the restaurant will feature custom furniture, including specially designed oak tables. The safe that remains in the middle of the space will be turned into a wine cellar.
Kleemann’s enthusiasm for supporting the community will further be realised, with the walls acting as a rotating exhibition for local artists. He is interested in adding elements of colour, curating a sense of creativity in the space.
Kleemann is a little coy when I ask him about the menu.
“I can’t confirm or deny anything,” he chuckles. “I suppose it will be very snack and share plate oriented.”
Having worked at FINO for two years, Kleemann comments on the influence David Swain’s food has had on his own.
“I like to cook myself and I will be in the kitchen,” says Kleemann. He says Hügel will serve wine-friendly food, Italian-esque in style. Dishes may include heirloom tomato salad and sardines on house-made focaccia.
The wine list itself will be more of an eclectic mix, with Kleemann commenting that the aim is to source mostly from small producers who don’t necessarily have cellar doors. The focus is on wine from the Adelaide hills, however Kleemann is also interesting in stocking wine from the Yarra Valley, and Canberra.
Kleemann is clearly an enthusiast, determined to make Hügel a genuine foodie destination, and a welcome addition to his hometown.
Hügel Wine Bar & Kitchen is slated to open mid-December.
You can follow Hügel on Instagram here.