May 10, 2023
5 mins Read
Griffith restaurants have always been one of Australia’s most important food-producing areas. It creates more wine, citrus and poultry products than any other region in Australia, and its incredible agricultural output is only matched by the strong cultural and culinary legacies of its residents, with the highest proportion of Italian ancestry of any local government area in Australia.
With a bounty of quality produce available, as well as the culinary heritage to know how to use it, it’s no surprise that Griffith’s restaurants have championed the paddock-to-plate movement. Here, chefs are using the freshest sustainably produced, locally grown and sourced ingredients in their meals, products, wines and whiskies to create truly unforgettable dining experiences.
Here are seven of the best farm-to-table venues to visit in the western Riverina region.
Set in the iconic Rural Bank building in Griffith, Zecca Handmade Italian prepares fresh, seasonal Italian cuisine made with local ingredients.
The restaurant’s specialty is artisanal obscure pasta shapes and styles, handmade with durum wheat semolina grown and milled locally in the Riverina region. They also cure their own salami, preserve fruit and vegetables, and bottle their own passata from local tomatoes. The restaurant offers a daily changing menu, and packets of their handmade pasta are available in-store.
With a menu limited to a 300-kilometre produce range, and a commitment to showcasing regional partners, Bull & Bell Steakhouse, part of the Gem Hotel, made a culinary splash when it was ranked one of the world’s 101 best steak restaurants.
The menu includes detailed information about the farms that supply their produce, the growing processes, and the beef programs used by the cattle farmers.
A highlight is the Stanbroke Signature Tasting Plate, which allows diners to try three types of beef (dry-aged, Angus and grass-fed). True to the area’s roots, guests can also enjoy an Italian-style bistecca alla fiorentina served sanguinoso (rare) with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, salt and rosemary.
Book a table at Limone for a true farm-to-table dining experience (and a few recipes influenced by Nonna). Chef Luke Piccolo serves meals made with produce gathered from his family’s property, Piccolo Family Farm, including house-made lamb sausages with caponata, zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, potato and herbs, and a margarita pizza served with 24-hour fermented dough, passata grown and made on the farm, fresh basil and traditional buffalo mozzarella.
The enthusiastic farming family have even planted a vineyard featuring Italian varietals to serve in the restaurant.
Limone has a strong no-waste ethos, which extends well beyond the menu; even the building was constructed with almost entirely recycled materials salvaged from around Griffith, right down to the charcoal grill made from reclaimed farm equipment.
Hosting paired tastings with local produce, as well as special events celebrating regional producers, Yarran Wines has carved a niche as one of the best wine destinations in Griffith, earning accolades for its cellar door experience.
The family-owned vineyard, located in Yenda, offers organically certified, small-batch wines focusing on lesser-known varieties. The vineyard also regularly hosts Live in the Vines, featuring live music, picnic boxes with goods from local producers, pizza and bountiful cups of wine.
During A Taste of Italy Griffith festival, held every August, the vineyard hosts paired food and wine events, where they serve up olives grown, picked and cured in-house.
A short drive from Griffith, Whitton Malt House champions the farm-to-plate experience not just in their restaurant, but also in their on-farm malting facility.
The distillery produces small-batch, hand-crafted artisanal malts made from locally grown and regionally sourced Riverina grains, and guests can take part in daily whisky tastings. The restaurant serves locally sourced dishes including Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod croquette with smoked cod, jalapeno and bechamel sauce, and Grunt Pork Smokehouse pork belly with roasted cauliflower puree, jus and apple jam.
Griffith isn’t just known for its farm-to-fork ethos, as it also offers a unique pond-to-plate experience. Despite being 550 kilometres inland, the Riverina is home to one of the country’s most successful aquaculture companies, Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod.
The sustainably farmed fish is exported internationally, featured on fine dining menus across the country, and is showcased on the menu in most of Griffith’s restaurants (including Whitton Malt House, Bull & Bell Steakhouse, Zecca Handmade Italian and Limone). In town, visitors can buy direct from the processing plant.
Forget the fork, forgo the plate: at Naturally Dried Prunes you can pick fruit straight from the trees on limited dates over the summer months.
This innovative family-friendly farm at Yenda boasts the first automated sustainable solar drying system in Australia; using new technology, the farm has reduced its carbon footprint by 95 per cent.
Each summer, the farm opens its gates to the public, inviting them onto the farm for tours of the orchard, demonstrations of the drying equipment and, most importantly, taste tests of their prepacked chocolate-covered prunes. In mid-summer, the orchard also opens for guests to pick their own sugar plums.
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As an old Griffith boy I found the information provided informative and it was great to step through what is available in my/our old home town
We don’t often get back to Griffith but will certainly visit several of the eateries covered in this segment