Igniting Flavour by Fire
Adelaide’s First Open-Flame Restaurant Is One of The Top Dining Destinations in the Country
Adelaide’s first open-flame restaurant has been turning up the heat, co-founded by the former head chef of Michelin-starred Burnt Ends in Singapore.
Opened in 2021, the experience at this immersive restaurant and bar makes it one of the top dining destinations in Australia.
Arkhé, co-founded by executive chef Jake Kellie, is a restaurant and bar centred around an open kitchen and a three-and-a-half-ton wood-burning oven; creating a theatrical cinematographic stage enabling all actors involved to shine.
Easily now one of Champ Magazine’s top dining destinations in Australia, we were blown away by the innovative menu designed by chef Kellie. Working primarily (but not exclusively) with South Australian farmers and producers (such as Mayura Station [wagyu beef] and Ngeringa [biodynamic wine, oil and vegetables]), top quality ingredients and carefully constructed dishes kissed by fire work together in harmony.
arkhé signifies the elemental force of fire in Ancient Greek terminology.
Everything on the menu has been touched by a flame in some way. Most are obvious, and some are so inventively subtle that remind us of Kellie’s strong, emerging talent and immense creativity.
The must-order’s are the Parfait Tartlet a lá Burnt Ends (duck liver blended to a velvet-like texture, topped with a scorched brittle top), Kingfish Collar with Lemongrass and Sweet White Miso (a genius dish utilising what other restaurants won’t, celebrating the abundance of meat on the collar with a sticky-sweet and savoury glaze) and Chickpea Taco, Grilled Eggplant, Macadamia, Summer Salad (eaten with one hand, which grasps the textures of the chickpea taco and unusual ingredient combination which creates a winning starter).
Extremely original, you’d be hard-pressed to find similar combinations on fine dining menu’s across the country, and this is where Kellie makes his mark.
His references seem to be global, all the whilst giving recognition to his predecessors in this style of cooking (such as the Parfait Tartlet a lá Burnt Ends and Baked Section28 Mont Rosso cheese washed in Lamphroaig 17 YO Francis Mallman Madeira Cask).
Mayura Station beef is presented in two ways: Asado rib or striploin. We opted for the Asado, an Argentina cut championing their respect for meat and expertise in cooking it. With a side of honey mustard, the meat however had a glaze which it didn’t need at all, it only needed to be blessed by the fire. Appellation Merimbula rock oysters were left untouched, their procurement not needing any type of additions to their already perfect natural flavours.
Adding to the experience, complimenting tableware is made by Adelaide-based artisans, and custom steak knives are made by DBK (Dog Boy Knives) made in Brompton, SA. The considered curation only emphasises the ingredients and constructed menu even more.
With over 150 varieties of wine on the menu, the curation is extensive.
Independent South Australian winemakers are found alongside a curation of the best wine and champagne from abroad, such as Germany, Spain, New Zealand, USA and primarily France. It’s a delight to see a clear focus on organic and biodynamic wines.
Housed inside a heritage-listed sandstone building in the inner-suburb of Norwood, the 200 capacity space is split into a bar zone, dining room, outdoor seating and counter seating. The 18 seats at the bar are the ones to book, the best in the house. Here diners see the magic unfold, orchestrated seamlessly by Kellie and his team.
Designed by Studio Gram, the restaurant interiors are a strong part of the experience at arkhé, fitting the theme of the restaurant to a tee. Dimly-lit interiors allow the space to highlight the warm tones emulated by fire, here the design emphasises the smell, sounds and warmth coming from the kitchen. Natural materials selected by Studio Gram such as timber and stone elevate the dining experience, a refined primitive feel alongside the charred flavours by the open-flame fire.
Kellie started cooking at the age of 16, studying at TAFE before honing his skills overseas. From 2017 to 2019 he was head chef at Burnt Ends (Singapore) alongside chef/owner David Pynt, and during this time the restaurant received its first Michelin star and a placement of #53 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. His experience includes time with global culinary leaders such as Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck, United Kingdom) Brett Graham (The Ledbury, Notting Hill), Scott Pickett (Estelle, Melbourne) and Matt Moran (Aria, Sydney).
The young chef’s work speaks for itself.
His inventive ever-changing menu and work with selected suppliers and producers whom are the best in the region, prove he has his priorities set right. With his wife working alongside him and an experienced and knowledgeable team of staff, arkhé is a dining experience with high standards.
Sure to leave an impression, the immersive experience lingers long in the mind (and on tastebuds!) until the next visit.
arkhé restaurant and bar
127 The Parade,
Adelaide, Norwood, 5067
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Text: Monique Kawecki, Champ Editor-in-Chief
Images: Champ Magazine© and courtesy arkhé