2 June 2023

Five minutes with Dan Zivkovich, Barrio

| Lucy Ridge
Dan stands in a field

Dan Zivkovich enjoys spending time at Charles Massy’s property, engaging with where his food comes from. Photo: Supplied.

Who are you?
Dan Zivkovich from Barrio.

What is Barrio?
We are a neighbourhood coffee bar on Lonsdale Street. We have a really great relationship with our customers, and now we’re working with lots of local producers and extending that relationship to where our food and coffee comes from.

What’s a must-try dish at Barrio?
Most people would say the corned hash toastie. There’s been a variation of it on the menu since we began, but it’s found its final form now. It’s local silverside which is corned and then smoked by my butcher. We braise and pull it ourselves, and it’s served with local pickles, vintage cheddar and house-made mustard.

What’s your go-to dish to cook at home?
Definitely a local steak of some description, served pretty simply with local greens. That would be my last supper.

Favourite cuisine?
I’m kind of obsessed with Korean food and I’ve really deep-dived in the last few months or so. There are lots of similarities with Japanese food, but in Korea, there’s just a very honest approach to how they do food. Plus, there’s a lot of spice, which I love!

Who is your biggest culinary influence?
Charlie Arnott is a farmer out past Boorowa and learning from him over the last couple of years has been really enlightening for me. Working with the Southern Harvest Association has been really good as well; I’d like to get to know more of those farmers.

man carrying vegetables in a plastic box

Dan sources produce from local farmers through Southern Harvest Association. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

What’s inspiring you right now?
Working with local producers has really brought me into a different realm of food. We’ve been working with Pialligo Harvest chilli farm recently. We were able to help them out and grab 80 kg of chillies they needed to move, which we’ve been slowly fermenting. I just opened the keg and gave it a poke, and it’s almost like miso but with green chilli.

What do you wish people understood about your job?
Small business is pretty grindy and hands-on. The less glamorous side of the business can’t be avoided, but it’s so important.

Where do you dine out for comfort food?
White Chaco. They just handle bowls of ramen really well, and their dumplings are great. And a family favourite is Rama’s in Pearce. We’ve known the owners since I was in high school.

READ ALSO Corella Restaurant and Bar flies high with native focussed menu

Where do you dine out for special occasions?
Pilot. Mal does such a good job; the guy really knows his way around food. It’s 100 per cent the best fine dining in Canberra.

Where would you take out-of-town visitors to show off the best of Canberra?
The farmers markets at EPIC on Saturday and Haig Park Markets on Sunday. And Lonsdale Street still has so many great businesses. When my brother is in town from LA, that’s where we go.

Bearded man in front of wine shelf

Onzieme chef and owner Louis Couttoupes. Photo: Lean Timms.

Who do you admire in the Canberra food scene?
Louis from Onzieme. He has a similar mindset in how he looks at food: its provenance and the importance of land management as well. He’s one of my favourite people to chinwag with and just talk about produce.

Where do you go to drink?
I don’t drink, personally, but I like Bar Rochford. I think they’re the best bar in the country, full stop, and probably one of the better bar kitchens, too.

READ ALSO Paranormal Wines is simply perfect

Where are you travelling next?
In a couple of weeks, my wife and I are hitting a retreat not far from Jervis Bay in the National Park. That’s my light at the end of the tunnel because it’s been a while without a break!

What’s a well-kept (or not so well-kept) foodie secret in Canberra?
Tak Kee Roast Inn in Dickson. It’s a Chinese BBQ place. I think it’s been run by the same owners forever. They’re fantastic.

steak on a tray with Terra logo

Dan is looking forward to a birthday steak from Terra. Photo: Terra.

What do you think the ‘next big thing’ is in Canberra?
There’s been a lot of Asian street food around for a while now, and I think people are returning to that French Bistro style and classic European cuisine.

Where are you excited to eat next?
Tomorrow night is my birthday, so I will try to get a really, really big steak at Terra. The chefs there are cooking the best steaks in Canberra by far.

What are your top 3 recipe tips?
1. Don’t stress. Go with it.
2. Know your produce.
3. Know your equipment.
Once you get used to all those three variables, it will all come together.

Barrio is located at 59/30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. They are open from 7 am to 2 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 2 pm on weekends. Follow Barrio on Facebook or Instagram.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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