The Great Australian Cookbook

Why The Agrarian Kitchen is Australia's best new restaurant

Australia's best regional restaurant is a destination in itself. Set against the stunning emerald backdrop of Tasmania's Derwent Valley, The Agrarian Kitchen is serving up the freshest farm-to-table food in the country.

Despite being half an hour out of Hobart, distance hasn't stopped people flocking to Tasmania's hottest new restaurant. At only four months old, The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store is pulling impressive crowds and earning accolades from Australia's most-respected food authorities.

Just this week it took home two chef hats and the title of Santa Vittoria Best Regional Restaurant of the Year at the 2018 Good Food Awards - an incredible feat for a restaurant that's not even a year old. 

Image credit: Adam Gibson

Although it occupies the cool old site the venue's biggest drawcard is its paddock-to-plate menu. Using only the freshest produce from the region - often from The Agrarian Kitchen's own farm - the menu changes almost daily to accomodate new ingredients.

At the time of writing, it included whole roasted artichoke, stracciatelle with homemade mozzarella and one of the menu's only consistent items: sourdough-battered potato cakes with homemade relish. With a wood-fire oven and smoker on site, you'll often find local meats, fish and veggies roasted or smoked to perfection under the surveillance of Head Chef Ali Currey-Voumard. 

Image credit: Adam Gibson

“It’s the kind of restaurant where every dish is a masterclass in seasonal and regional food," Good Food Guide co-editor Roslyn Grundy said.

"It’s one of the best examples of a kitchen using ingredients from barely beyond the doorstep, and gives diners a strong sense of place."

Co-owner Rodney Dunn agrees the restaurant offers an experience that is uniquely Tasmanian.

"I would describe it as a place where you can come and eat food of the area," he affirmed. "We really see ourselves as a showcase of the beautiful ingredients we have around us."

In spite of its overnight success, The Agrarian Kitchen will continue to be a space where people can enjoy a leisurely meal or afternoon tea. (Rodney recommends dropping by for one of the day's cakes or biscuits!)

"Really, you can go and have a little snack or you can go and eat the whole menu, if you want," he told Lifestyle. "The idea is that people can come and just be immersed in a nice space and [in] the food, and not have to feel like they've got to watch their airs and graces, or that they can't bring kids. It's designed as a place to really enjoy food."

Image credit: Adam Gibson

Rodney, a former chef and magazine food editor, and his partner in business and at home, Severine Demanet, moved from Sydney to Tasmania in 2007. They quickly opened a cooking school on the site of their Derwent Valley farm, which, nine years later, continues to uphold a stunning reputation. 

Rodney and Severine's star is set to rise even higher, with the family to appear on Foxtel's upcoming series The Great Australian Cookbook, premiering 8:45pm, November 7 on Lifestyle FOOD. 

The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store11A The Avenue, New Norfolk, TAS 7140 

The Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School & Farm, 650 Lachlan Rd, Lachlan, TAS 7140

[Feature image by Adam Gibson]

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