A PASSION for paddock-to-plate cooking and a love of the country lifestyle were the major drawcards for the owners of Grafton's newest eatery, Austin & Co.
Nathan and Krystel Earp were bursting with pride as they described their intentions for the seasonal dining restaurant.
"It's not tied down to a specific cuisine, we want to base our food around in-season produce and we think Grafton is a really nice place to do that," Mr Earp said.
"Our products can be grown close to home and we'll be able to use a lot of local produce.
"I've wanted to open my own place for the past 10 years...
"I've got a passion for food since I was a tiny tot.
Their five-month-old son, Austin and their extended family are represented in the name Austin & Co.
"We have family behind us helping the whole way - it's about all of us."
While Mr Earp will cook up a storm in the kitchen, Mrs Earp will fill the boots of event manager.
And the location of Austin & Co at 1 Duke St Grafton, on the banks of the Clarence River, lends itself to her dreams as well.
"I really wanted a place where I could hold weddings and functions," she said.
"We want to create something different and appealing, and keep it nice and casual and fun, but still provide really high-quality service... just with that country attitude and charm."
Austin & Co's first night of service is tomorrow.
Breakfast and lunch meals will vary between $10 and $16 and are available Monday to Saturday.
Dinners are $45 for two courses, and $55 for three courses and are available Friday and Saturday nights, or by bookings.
Austin & Co. is fully licensed, and is looking for one full-time barista and a number of casual staff.
For more information, visit Austin & Co Waterside Dining on Facebook.
BRAISED BEEF WITH PETIT POIS A LA FANCAISE
CHEF Nathan Earp shares his recipe for a mouth-watering dish that is a lovely way to end a cold, wintry week.
- 1kg beef skirt/ brisket
- 1 carrot
- 2 brown onions
- 3 sticks celery
- 1 bouquet garni (thyme sprigs, parsley stalks, bay leaf)
- 4 medium waxy potatoes
- 2 rashers smoky bacon
- 200g peas
- 1 head baby cos lettuce
- 50g chopped parsley
- 800ml good quality chicken stock
- 50ml good white wine
- 350g unsalted butter.
- To start, place roughly chopped carrot, celery and one onion into a large stock pot with the beef, bouquet garni and enough water to cover.
- Place on high heat until it just starts to boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
- Try not to boil the meat as it will become tough and stringy.
- Cook the meat for a minimum of three hours until tender and a fork slides out easily.
- Once cooked, allow the beef to cool in the stock until just above room temperature, then refrigerate for one hour to allow the beef to set.
- You can now start on the petit pois (peas).
- Melt 50g of butter in a deep frying pan or medium saucepan.
- Place the second finely diced onion into the butter and cook for one minute without browning the onion (gently sweat until opaque).
- Next place the bacon which has been finely sliced into the pan and start to brown.
- Once bacon starts to brown, deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce.
- When the wine has reduced to 10ml, add the chicken stock and once again reduce by half to create an intensely flavoured stock.
- Set aside until you're ready to serve.
- Cut the peeled potatoes into 2cm cubes and fry in 100g of butter and a teaspoon of oil firstly on the stovetop, then once coated in butter and starting to fry, place them in a 220 degree oven until golden, crispy and tender.
- Stir or shake every 10 minutes to stop any sticking or burning. Once cooked, remove from pan, drain on kitchen towel and keep warm in oven.
- Leave any remaining fat in the pan.
- When you are ready to serve, cut the beef into four squares, lightly season with sea salt then gently fry them fat side down in the pan the potatoes were cooked in, rendering any fat on the beef.
- While cooking the beef, gently heat the stock adding peas, parsley, sliced cos and all remaining butter.
- Stir, then season with salt and pepper.
- To plate, using a shallow bowl, evenly share the petit pois sauce across the bowls, scatter potatoes, then place beef in the centre and enjoy.