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Behind the Menu: Windy Point Restaurant

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Chef Justin Miles gives a glimpse inside the kitchen at the scenic Windy Point Restaurant.

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Windy Point Restaurant is one of Adelaide’s classics. It opened in the early 1980s in the foothills of Adelaide near Belair, replacing the small kiosk in the famous carpark with a more upmarket offering for visitors to the scenic lookout.

The building was custom designed to maximise the 180-degree views of Adelaide and continues to offer a birdseye panorama of the city, suburbs and coast from the comfort of your dining chair.

Windy Point Restaurant is still owned by the Sparr family and is run in partnership with executive chef and general manager Justin Miles, who took over the role in 2008.

Born and raised in Adelaide, as an apprentice chef Miles worked under the direction of Ann Oliver at her Mistress Augustine’s restaurant in North Adelaide. He continued working as a chef in London’s Bibendum Restaurant, at the New South Wales skifields and later at the Noosa Springs Golf Resort.

At Windy Point Restaurant, Miles has cooked for more than 1.5 million local and international diners, presenting regional and seasonal ingredients in his contemporary Australian style.

Here, he shares some insight into some of his favourite local ingredients and what he considers to be the best dishes on the menu at Windy Point Restaurant.

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Windy Point executive chef Justin Miles. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

The kitchen culture at Windy Point is …
Frenetic, adrenalin-filled and focussed, to ensure our diners experiences exceeds their expectations. We understand that our very long days of preparation are judged in a short four to five-hour period.

Who are you cooking for?
Our menus are driven by our guests, our skills and what’s in season. Many special events are celebrated at Windy Point: birthday parties, anniversaries, corporate gatherings and intimate dinners for two.

Describe the current menu.
Contemporary and seasonal. We endeavour to make South Australian produce – such as Gulf of St Vincent snapper, Orroroo Kangaroo, Thornby Murraylands lamb, Barossa Farm Produce chicken, Patlin Farms olives and vegetables, Spencer Gulf prawns and Mayura Station wagyu – shine on the plate.

What does it seek to achieve?
To enhance the flavours of seasonal produce without detracting from their natural flavour and texture. We use both prime and secondary cuts of meats and seafood, and our vegetables and fruits are wholly sourced from within the state.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your cooking?
Ann Oliver, who was my chef during my apprenticeship. She has had an enormous influence on how I cook, instruct, purchase and eat. South Australia continues to surprise with its bounty and industry leaders like Margy Abbot from AMJ Produce, and their investment in local producers, enables chefs to access premium local ingredients.

What are the hero ingredients?
Snapper, prawn, lamb, grass and grain fed beef, wagyu, cauliflower, heirloom carrots, Atherton Farm pork, wild strawberries, ice plant (a native succulent), Smoky Bay oysters and cavolo nero (black kale).

What is your favourite dish?
Our snapper carpaccio (pictured top) tends to be photographed and written about more than any other and it remains a massive favourite. The delicate fish combined with salty squid-ink aioli, smoked paprika oil, baby leaves, edible petals and the refreshing crunch of freeze-dried mandarin make a delicious, refined and contrasting dish.

What is your favourite food and wine match?
Varietals like the Fox Gordon Nero d’Avola from the Adelaide Hills or Lagrein from Geoff Hardy’s Limestone Coast vineyards are incredible matches with our 12-hour slow braised lamb shoulder with Moroccan cauliflower puree, compressed cucumber and pomegranate molasses (pictured below). The ‘Nero’ has a burnt-pine nose and long spiced grippy palate, and the Lagrein is a mid-weight, plummy, black-pepper driven wine; both are accentuated by the spice, sweetness and contrast of the lamb dish.

What are you cooking at home?
I tend to cook vegetable-based dishes for my family: broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and shoots, eggplant, ginger, chilli and herb-driven spiced rices; big platters for us all to tuck into with contrasting crunches of papadum, crouton or shaved raw vegetables. I tried to replicate Duncan Welgemoed’s whole roasted cauliflower (on the current menu at his restaurant Africola) at home the other night – I’m not there yet, but it was delicious nonetheless and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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Slow braised lamb shoulder with Moroccan cauliflower and pomegranate syrup. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

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