On 23rd December 2021, Otherness opened its doors at 38 Murray Street, Angaston. Since then we have built a business that continues to surprise both our guests and ourselves.
Our ambitions were initially modest. A small cellar door that magically transformed into a neighbourhood wine bar a couple of nights a week.
Having come from a restaurant background, my mind was clear: I wanted to keep things simple, elemental. I wanted a venue where we could showcase our wines and tell stories. Our wines are intensely collaborative and celebrate friendships with several of our region’s most talented winemakers. I was adamant that a small contingent of hand-picked waiting staff could help me tell these stories, sell a bit of wine both on-premise and off, and that we could assemble some classic wine bar fare without needing chefs or a kitchen team.
Enter Sam Smith. I will tell more about this humble genius in a future profile of his life and work, but suffice to say he has revolutionised my thinking and helped us move beyond our original aspirations whilst at the same time staying true to the humility of the initial concept. Sam’s menus started small. They proudly sourced local produce and smallgoods.
A systems-based formula whereby a single chef with the assistance of enthusiastic Front of House staff could assemble dishes that from the very beginning thrilled our local regular customers. Early restaurant reviews (thank you Simon Wilkinson and Katie Spain) enthusiastically noted the different approach within our dining offering.
Two years on, we have moved beyond that starting point. Emily Thomas has joined Sam in the kitchen; a team of the highest calibre staff have joined me on the floor and in the overall management of the business: Charlie Schultz, Casey Pfeiffer, Tess Matthai. But it has been Sam who has driven the changes. We are not on everyone’s radar yet, but those who have experienced our recent menus will attest to the excitement coming out of the kitchen.
Sam and Emily’s dishes proudly track the seasonal availability of locally grown ingredients. The culinary influences are diverse and impeccably researched. I have had customers from Venezuela tell me that they have never had better arapas, customers from Bologna tell me that they have never enjoyed better osso bucco. The list goes on.
We have also started a deli offering, selling a small selection of amazing take-out dishes, house-made pastes, oils, relishes, pickles. We call it Otherness Elsewhere. Yes, you can take the Otherness experience home with you or on your picnic. There is the range of Otherness wines to augment your food selection, or you can purchase both Australian and international wines from the shelves of our bottle shop.
I wish to thank Sam and all my other staff for what they have brought to Otherness. Thank you to those customers who drive from Kapunda, Greenock and other parts of the Barossa on a weekly basis to dine with us. And thank you Angaston. It has been a pleasure to be welcomed into the heart of the best and most beautiful town in the Barossa.
The best thing? Two years in, we all recognise that the best is yet to come.
Grant, Sam, Emily, Charlie, Casey, Tess, Andy and team Otherness.