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City restaurateurs lured to new Marion food mall

Restaurants

Two upmarket city restaurants have opened outlets in Marion’s multi-million-dollar new mall, which seeks to meet shoppers’ expectations for more sophisticated dining options.

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One of Adelaide’s best patisseries, La Madeleine, and high-end Halifax Street restaurant Panacea have both taken up space in the mall. Opening today, the new complex is located between Big W and Woolworths at Westfield Marion, which is undergoing a major expansion and redevelopment.

Both La Madeleine and Panacea say they were approached by Westfield Marion management, which believed the restaurants would be a good fit for the mall that has been designed to offer a fresher, more experience-orientated approach to shopping and dining.

La Madeleine is located on Norwood Parade and offers artisan patisserie in a French-styled restaurant with both indoor and sidewalk dining. Panacea restaurant on Halifax Street has an inner-city vibe and offers a Mediterranean menu, including tapas.

“I was gobsmacked,” Panacea general manager Anthony Vartuli says of the approach by Westfield.

“They came past Halifax, checked us out, saw the operation and we got talking.

“We agreed it would be a good fit and decided to create a more casual atmosphere for the Panacea Marion, with a shorter menu – if people still want the full Panacea dining experience they can get that at Panacea Halifax.”

After seven years in business, Panacea’s original owner, Andrew Curren, sold the restaurant last year to a new owner who wishes to remain anonymous. Vartuli, who says he ran a café at the Noarlunga TAFE campus, now manages both the Halifax Street and Marion outlets.

Panacea and La Madeleine’s new Westfield outlets sit in a shopping mall that is completely undercover with a fit-out featuring recycled natural materials and artists’ murals to create a “market-style” atmosphere.

Will-Blanc-La-Madeleine-Marion

La Madeleine owner and pastry chef Will Blanc. Photo: Tony Lewis

La Madeleine, which produces 200 croissants per day for its Norwood Parade cafe, will double production to cater for its new Marion outlet, says owner Will Blanc, who migrated from France to Australia 10 years ago and previously owned Au Matin Calme patisserie and café on Hutt Street.

“We will also be making French crepes with some new equipment from France,” says Blanc. “I see the expansion into Marion as being very positive, as long as I can manage the extra production.

“I’ve had to find extra staff, which is not easy – since MasterChef Australians are much more interested in cooking, but they don’t really want to work in kitchens.”

To that end, Blanc has hired French chef Patrice Ulbrich, who used to be a customer and now helps out with producing the savoury pastries and the monthly dinners at La Madeleine Norwood. All the pastries for La Madeleine Marion will be produced in the kitchen at La Madeleine Norwood. The Norwood kitchen will also service Blanc’s new wine bar – La Vigne – which adjoins the Norwood café and is set to open next month.

In addition to seating inside La Madeleine and Panacea at Marion, the centre provides seating with communal tables for 150, offering shoppers and diners the opportunity to eat their meals and snacks throughout the mall.

Both restaurants are limited to centre hours at this stage, but Panacea has an “outdoor” dining space in the undercover parking area which allows Vartuli more flexibility with access.

“We have a licensed seating area in the carpark outside the restaurant that enables us to trade beyond shopping hours.”

The restaurants are located alongside other new Westfield operators, including Aldi supermarket, Lau Peking (an Asian supermarket that is a collaboration between three Central Market grocers), and three Asian dine-in and takeaway food outlets – Hokopo, Warong and Vietnam Quan. Existing Westfield food outlets Springfield Butcher, The Cheesemonger, Manuel’s Seafood, Carousel Fruit Barn, Creative Poultry and The Yoghurt Shop also have outlets in the mall.

 

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