Two more venues are joining Koto in the much-anticipated second stage of the Lawns of the Lobby precinct in the Parliamentary Triangle.
Charcoal and fermentation-focussed restaurant Ballyhoo will take over the old Pork Barrel space, while a garden kiosk with a deck overlooking the rose garden will host Rosa’s.
The precinct will be headed by group culinary executive chef Shaun Quade, fresh off the plane from LA where he was previously developing protein alternatives for the Silicon Valley food-tech industry. His previous life was at award-winning restaurant Lûmé in Melbourne, and he says he’s excited to be back in Australia.
“Food just tastes better in Australia. We have better produce, and we’re closer to it,” he told Region.
“I’m really excited to be showing off the best produce of not only the region but the best in Australia. I really did miss that when I was overseas.”
Shaun says that he’s excited to see how the hospitality industry is reinventing itself post-COVID, and he’s really keen to be back in the kitchen. Canberrans, in particular, he said, have a reputation for being open to new dining experiences.
“Canberrans love trying new things and the economic climate here is great for restaurants. There are already some great operators doing amazing things, and we want to add to that.”
Ballyhoo will seat around 75 people indoors, and the menu will be cooked over a big charcoal grill or in a woodfired pizza oven. Shaun describes it as “creative but accessible”.
“There will be lots of smoke and fire, but we’re also tempering that with my experience with fermentation – looking to coax some different flavours out of fruits and vegetables that people may not have seen before,” he explained.
“It’s shaping up to be a pretty stunning space.”
Rosa’s will be open from 7 am until late, offering a menu that will evolve from coffee and pastries in the morning to woodfired sandwiches and pizza for casual lunches, finishing with cocktails and charcuterie in the evenings. There will even be gelato!
The precinct has received 2022-23 ACT Tourism Product Development Fund funding to revitalise the National Triangle area. They’re aiming to entice more tourists and locals to linger in the centre of Canberra.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr described the precinct as a “canvas to reshape the future of events in Canberra”.
“As stage 2 of the Lawns of the Lobby precinct is unveiled, we’re opening the doors to a new set of experiences and more reasons to visit Canberra. This infrastructure allows for large-scale events and activations, inviting experiences and vibrancy into the National Triangle.”
To that end, Shaun will also oversee event catering for the space in addition to the two venues. There’s a dedicated events kitchen, and they’re planning a host of ‘experiential’ events in the gardens.
There’s the potential for collaboration with local tourism agencies and the National Gallery and catering for weddings and private functions. Shaun promises to offer something more exciting than “the classic chicken or fish options”.
Shaun is still looking for staff but wants to ensure he creates a positive kitchen culture.
“I want people to enjoy coming to work, and I want it to be a sustainable profession. I don’t want anyone working 100 hours or having that old school attitude of working till you drop.”
The new venues in the precinct are slated to open in early 2024.
Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.