Lunch at Glenfalloch
Lunch last week was at Glenfalloch, a beautiful garden on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin. We sat outside on the terrace of the restaurant on a mild autumn afternoon, looking over a pretty display of flowering shrubs backed by taller dark green trees with a wee glimpse of a tranquil harbour shimmering in the afternoon light.
It was a quiet afternoon for the restaurant after a busy morning with visitors. We met Melanie Hartmann first, partner to chef Hannes Bareiter. She showed us to our table outside and presented us with the wine list. She is in charge of sourcing wines with an emphasis on local Otago vineyards but not limited to them. She had compiled a small but elegant wine list with Central Otago well represented along with single offerings from Martinborough, Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Island. Keeping in tune with our visit to Central Otago I chose a Domaine Rewa rose from Cromwell and my dining companion chose the Ballasalla Pinot Noir from Bendigo.
But the food, particularly the lamb, is what we were really here for. Hannes Bareiter joined us on the terrace for a pre-lunch chat about what we would like to eat. He had prepared an off-menu lunch for us and thoughtfully checked if we didn’t eat anything. (Offal for me, rhubarb for my companion!). We were soon joined on the terrace by others having coffee or a late lunch, adding to the pleasant ambience of the setting.
We started with a succulent piece of southern cod with a crispy top accompanied by lightly sautéed fresh tomatoes, young bok choy and pureed carrot. It was a delicious starter of late summer tastes. Hannes then presented us with a plate of different Provenance lamb cuts – rack, boned out rib, rump and liver (but not for me!). Autumn vegetables accompanied it – roasted parsnip, baby turnip, carrot, several different types of mushrooms, celeriac puree and layered potato. A light lamb glaze decorated the plate. It was a delicious lunch and a treat to taste different cuts of lamb.
Hannes joined us at the end of the meal for a chat. He said he was enjoying cooking with Provenance lamb because he could get a range of cuts, including offal, as he is interested in using the whole animal. Knowing the story behind the meat and the farming technique used on a farm in Otago makes a good story to share with his guests. He commented that the lamb is very tender so it takes less time to cook, which is always useful for a busy chef. Having the fat left on the rack makes the transition between the pan and the oven result in tender, succulent meat.
He cites his main culinary influence as Asian flavours, particularly Japanese. He has been pickling and fermenting food for the restaurant which fits well with his passion for brewing! He visits the local Farmers Market every weekend and loves the quality and variety of produce on offer, particularly as some growers are returning to heirloom varieties of fruit. The restaurant is lucky enough to have its own prolific herb garden and produce from a local vegetable grower down the road.
Hannes and Melanie live locally on the Otago Peninsula. At home with 2 little girls he cooks a lot of pasta which they love and is quick to prepare. They have their own herb and vegetable garden at home so he is able to use fresh ingredients year round.
Hannes trained in Germany in classical French cuisine. He has more recently completed his Masters of Culinary Arts in Germany, which has rigorous entrance criteria and requires at least 10 years of previous chef experience. He has worked in Spain, all over Germany, and New Zealand. He cites Thomas Keller, an American chef with extensive experience in France and famous restaurants in the USA, as a major influence.
Hannes is committed to eating well, putting high quality products into our bodies, less meat and smaller portions. We definitely enjoyed the meal Hannes prepared for us, full of high quality produce –seasonal vegetables, tender meat, succulent fish which was all locally sourced and healthy.
“For chefs the better the quality of a product the less you have to do with it for a great taste experience”, says Hannes.