Feral antipasto anyone? How this outback hotel is turning to Aussie delicacies to survive COVID-19

Owners of the Pairie Hotel in outback South Australia are bringing their business to Adelaide.The

Chef Nick Hawkins will bring the Prairie Hotel's famous burgers to Adelaide.

Renowned South Australian outback hotel the Prairie is bringing a taste of the Flinders Ranges to the city with a new takeaway and provedore opening in North Adelaide.

The new enterprise — featuring kangaroo steaks, feral antipasto and bush-tomato chilli jam along with the hotel’s famed Fargher Lager — will operate over winter as COVID-19 restrictions keep the Parachilna-based business closed.

“It’s our wintertime presence in Adelaide bringing a taste of the Prairie to the city,” Jane Fargher, who owns the hotel with her husband Ross, said.

New chef Nick Hawkins and his partner Katherine Pascoe are leading the team, after they recently moved from Victoria to head the Prairie Hotel kitchen.

Just one week after their arrival in remote Parachilna, 492 kilometres north of Adelaide, the COVID-19 restrictions came into force, closing the hotel’s restaurant and bar — along with its unusual Australian produce menu — and heritage accommodation.

As market conditions continued to change, an idea brewing over the years saw the hotel’s entrepreneurial owners look to their city support base.

The Farghers had sold their lease on The Collins, in North Adelaide, in June last year, but knew there was a new café and kitchen in the building suitable for their venture.

A lease was rapidly organised and now the team is putting the final touches on bringing to the city the tastes of their Parachilna hotel, which overlooks the rugged Flinders Ranges to the east and desert plains to the west.

Fargher said migrating to Adelaide for winter would help maintain a presence with the pub’s broader audience.

“We have a new website being set up as well, with a gallery. We have a really beautiful art gallery but the paintings on the walls aren’t being seen by anybody at the moment,” Fargher said.

“We’re also discussing some other new ideas to see how we think our business should look beyond the lifting of restrictions. Out of adversity we’ve been able to see some new opportunities.”

Cooking up a tasty business plan

The new sight will sell its signature Prairie menu from O’Connell Street, with hot delivery or a cold cook-at-home menu inspired by the Flinders Ranges and its famed Ediacara Fossils, including wine plus the Prairie’s own Fargher Lager.

Eventually, the provedore hopes to sell the Prairie Hotel’s bush tomato chilli jam and sweet lemon myrtle chilli sauce, muntries chutney and quandong jam.

Chef Nick Hawkins, who previously worked at French steakhouse Entrecote in Melbourne, said the new menu would offer the hotel’s famed feral antipasto with kangaroo mettwurst, emu pate, goats cheese and bush tomato chilli jam.

“But to begin with, we are going to do burgers on delivery but then will be adding to the menu each week. The first on the menu will be six different burgers, beef or chicken, camel, goat, kangaroo or emu,” Hawkins said.

Fargher said the business was also looking to sell works from artists featured at the Prairie Hotel gallery, including watercolours by Bruce Buchanan and fossil-inspired jewellery by Robyn Holtham.

Four generations of the Fargher family have run sheep and cattle in the Flinders Ranges. In 1991, Jane and Ross bought the hotel, which was first licensed in 1876.

It has hosted a vast range of international and national guests over the years, including film production crews from The Lighthorsemen and Gallipoli.

Australian director Phillip Noyce also stayed at the hotel when the feature film Rabbit-Proof Fence was shot in the Flinders Ranges in November 2000.

This article was first published by The Lead.

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