The two-storey Riverbank Palais in Elder Park will become the Festival hub from March 2-19 and is inspired by the Floating Palais de Danse, which was described as the pinnacle of the city’s nightlife in the 1920s.
Each of the long lunches – to be held between March 4 and 19 – will cost $145 per person, with 210 guests in a “communal setting”. The food will pay tribute to the 1980s, considered a game-changing era in Adelaide’s culinary history.
“The Riverbank Palais long lunches are more than just amazing meals in a beautiful setting, they are true culinary experiences that tell the story of how our little city punched way above its weight and shaped a nation’s tastes,” said Gill Minervini, who will curate the lunches in conjunction with Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed.
“Adelaide really kick-started as a culinary crucible in the 1980s, with such creativity and experimentation across the city, producing incredible chefs who have gone on to inspire and delight people all over the world.”
The full list of featured chefs is Cheong Liew (Neddy’s, The Grange), Cath Kerry (Petaluma, Art Gallery of SA Restaurant), Christine Manfield (Paramount, East@West, Universal), Mark Best (Marque, Pei Modern), Michael Ryan (Range, Provenance) and Karl Firla (est. Restaurant, Oscillate Wildly).
Each will present a menu with a special theme. Liew, for example, promises an Australian multicultural feast that will include original dishes from Neddy’s “long table” lunches in the 1980s, while Adelaide-born Ryan says his Mediterranean-inspired lunch will pay tribute to his first culinary mentor, the late Brigita Turniski, former head chef at Mona Lisa’s Bistro on Hutt Street.
Manfield, who early in her career in the late 1980s was a chef at Petaluma Winery, says in a statement that her “Brave New World”-themed lunch will pay homage to her mentor Phillip Searle, under whom she worked at Oasis Seros in Sydney.
“There will be blue swimmer crab, tamarind, eggplant and of course chilli – bold punchy flavours concluding with a Palais-inspired dessert.
“My intention is to capture those ground-breaking, free-spirited times where we challenged the status quo, pushed the boundaries and dared to be different.”
Best will showcase the produce of his childhood home in South Australia with “Bounty of the Coorong”.
“The ‘Bounty of the Coorong’ celebrates my formative years growing up on Lake Alexandrina where my father managed a station,” he says. “Not only did I survive drowning and a tiger snake, I grew a deep appreciation of the local bounty – pipis, Coorong Mullet and Coorong Angus Beef by Richard Gunner to name a few.”
The lunches will take place from 11.45am to 3pm on March 4, 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19, and will feature three courses to share, plus canapes and a welcome drink.
The Riverbank Palais, which is being specially designed and built for the Festival, will host a daily program of events, talks, shows and DJs.