Hot Plates: The Henry Austin, Adelaide

Author: David Sly
Photography: Dan Footner

A yum cha-style restaurant and bar opens in Adelaide's business district.

Not entirely a restaurant, nor a bar, yet serving the function of both, The Henry Austin has taken over three levels of the former Chesser Cellars in Adelaide's business district.

Handsome in the style of a gentrified English club, the venue presents a particularly Australian take on yum cha service, with the kitchen frequently sending its repertoire of about 20 mod-Oz dishes into the dining room on trays rather than having customers select from a menu. What they'll find is chef Shane Wilson's inventive hand at work in delicious plates to share, from starters of Kinkawooka mussels with native finger lime and Smoky Bays oysters with yuzu, through cobia with riberries, cultured cream, red foo potatoes and pickled caper leaves, or 10-hour braised kangaroo with mixed grains.

A simple highlight is sous-vide egg with winter cabbage, quinoa and roasted nuts, while the dessert of parsnip ice-cream with pistachio cake and dehydrated fennel is an appealing curiosity. People who come to drink at the entrance bar - which serves Bollinger by the glass - are often seduced by the frequent array of plates being paraded around the venue, the full rotation taking about an hour. Feeding hours are flexible for breakfasts, lunch and dinner, although freshly shucked oysters and cheese are served whenever anyone feels hungry in between.

The Henry Austin, 29-31 Chesser St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8223 2998, Breakfast 8-11am Mon-Sat, lunch 11am-3pm Mon-Sat, dinner 5pm-11pm Mon-Sat

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