29 September 2023

The Institutions: Pilot celebrates fifth birthday with friends

| Lucy Ridge
Portrait of Dot Lee wearing white.

Dot Lee (pictured) and Dash Rumble are looking forward to working together again at the event. Photo: Supplied.

Ainslie fine dining favourite Pilot is celebrating its birthday with a series of collaborative events and pop-ups showcasing some of the best of Australia’s hospitality scene.

Restaurateurs Dash Rumble, Ross McQuinn and Malcolm Hanslow have all worked at their fair share of highly regarded venues around Australia as they built their careers. To celebrate the fifth birthday of their award-winning restaurant Pilot they’re teaming up with some old colleagues and friends for a collaborative event on 3 October.

Dot Lee and Jarrod Walsh are the owners of Longshore, a new restaurant in the heart of Chippendale, Sydney. Dot, the front-of-house manager, previously worked with Dash at Momofuku Seibo (now closed) in Sydney, and chefs Mal and Jarrod worked together at Automata in Sydney, which is the site now occupied by Longshore.

Beautiful dish of scallops on half shell with roe against a black backdrop.

Both restaurants focus on Australian produce on their menus. Photo: Cassie Abraham.

The group acknowledged that it can be pretty hard to stay in touch with friends in the busy hospitality industry, but they found that those close workplace relationships stayed intact over time. Mal explained that they have a lot in common with Dot and Jarrod.

“They’re doing similar things to [Pilot] and we have been going through similar stages in our career progression, just in different cities,” he said.

A collaborative dinner between Pilot and Longshore – Dot and Jarrod’s newest restaurant – seemed like the perfect fit.

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The Longshore crew will be serving up some of their signature dishes, and Mal’s kitchen team are adapting some of Pilot’s best dishes from the last five years to create a ‘best of both worlds’ menu.

As per usual, Pilot asks their guests to “just trust us”.

Small pie on paper with dish of sauce.

Longshore makes fine dining fun with dishes like green-lipped abalone party pies. Photo: Supplied.

Both restaurants share an ethos of bringing fun into fine dining with menus that are playful and inventive but always done with exceptional skill and respect for ingredients and their provenance.

The Longshore menu has a seafood focus, inspired by chef Jarrod’s childhood.

“I grew up on the coast in Port Macquarie fishing, camping and exploring,” said Jarrod.

“All these things I learnt as a child, such as how to catch a fish and prepare it, play a huge part in the menu.”

Portrait of Jarrod Walsh wearing black and an apron.

Chef Jarrod Walsh (pictured) will team up with chef Mal Hanslow for a ‘best of both worlds’ menu. Photo: Supplied.

Dash – who is a finalist for Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Personality of the Year award – will be serving with Dot, who draws on 10 years of experience both in the kitchen and the dining room.

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In addition to this birthday collaboration, the team is planning more special events like hosting pop-up restaurant Etelek with chef Adam Wolfers, and they have an ongoing series called “an evening with…” where they celebrate the growers, makers and vintners they’ve worked with over the years.

A black and white photo of a chef with tattoos plating up a dish

Chef Mal Hanslow (pictured) says that Longshore and Pilot are on ‘the same level’. Photo: Cassie Abraham.

Ross McQuinn says that reaching this milestone is something the team is very proud of.

“Honestly this is pretty overwhelming in a good way. There were definitely times we didn’t think we’d make it,” he said.

But now that they’ve reached the five-year mark, Ross says it’s a good indication that they’re sticking around for the long haul.

“As long as we’re getting better every day we’re happy. We just want to be constantly improving.”

Artsy interior of Pilot restaurant.

Pilot is an award-winning fine dining restaurant in Ainslie. Photo: Lean Timms.

The Longshore X Pilot fifth birthday dinner will be held on Tuesday 3 October. Bookings are essential, visit the website to make a reservation.

Pilot is located at 1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie. It is open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.

Find out more about upcoming events and book your table for the birthday celebration dinner at the Pilot website. Follow Pilot on Instagram.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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