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Fleurieu's moveable feasts


Change is afoot in the Fleurieu Peninsula dining scene, with the closure of McLaren Vale’s Elbow Room, a new series of pop-up food events, and a high-end waterfront restaurant set to open.

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Elbow Room, which was operated by chef Nigel Rich at Shingleback Wines since 2011, closed last month.

Rich’s modern Australian style is well known to South Australian diners: he worked for many years in partnership with Peter and Jo Reschke at D’Arry’s Verandah, owns new Southern American-style barbecue diner Slo Moe’s Smokery in Rundle Place, and has developed recipes for the Thomas Farms Kitchen meal kits.

Rich was unavailable for comment, but Shingleback Wines owner Kym Davey said the chef was “pursuing new opportunities”.

“We had a great relationship and a wonderful few years for our visitors to the area, but things in the restaurant trade move on.”

Slo Moe's Smokery co-owners Nigel Rich and Darren Lange.

Slo Moe’s Smokery co-owners Nigel Rich and Darren Lange.

Davey has big plans for the winery dining space, but is keeping them under his hat at this stage. In the meantime, the winery will hold pop-up events and continue with its Friday night ‘Sundowner’ music sessions.

Tom Boden, who has been running catering business Rare Bird Food and hosting pop-up events since finishing up as head chef at Maxwell Wines’ Ellen Street restaurant, will run a pop-up in the Shingleback dining space this Sunday and has more planned.

Boden is also preparing to open a new permanent Fleurieu restaurant in October, but won’t reveal the exact location.

“The restaurant will be along the coast with water views,” says Boden’s partner Kate, who will be running front-of-house.

“It’s an esplanade space that is not currently a restaurant. We will be opening it with our own brand ‘Rare Bird Food’.”

The Rare Bird Food restaurant is scheduled to open on October 31, but until then the Bodens will continue to run pop-up events.

“The event this Sunday at Shingleback Wines kind of completes a circle for both Tom and I,” adds Kate.

“Tom and I have both worked under Nigel Rich at Elbow Room. It’s kind of a turn of events.”

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