Celebrate Australia with food: South Australian dining series at MODE Kitchen and Bar

Francesco Mannelli Mode Kitchen 1

In the hotel lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, MODE Kitchen and Bar rules the roost – along with Grain Bar – in giving its guests and visitors one hell of a ride in gastronomy.

A part of the hotel’s Celebrate Australia dining series, head chef Francesco Mannelli has played with some of the finest fare – and seasonally-based, geographically sourced goods from down under – the country has to offer.

It hails from South Australia, really heroing a lot of what the state has to offer. And for an Italian, Mannelli really loves what it does; adding a lot of variety to food he knows well and loves to work with.

Mode Kitchen & Bar_Melbourne Cup_wagyu rump cap MBS 9+ balsamic onions & almond_2

For Mannelli, simplicity is key when working with such incredible produce. He notes that the best way to highlight an ingredient that is already special on its own, is to create a dish with a good balance of flavour, a contrast in texture and respects the produce. Guests dining on the new menu can experience dishes like sautee Coorong Pippies, served with spicy sausages from Calabria, karkalla and grilled focaccia; a grilled hard to source cut in the form of a Mayura Station Wagyu Tri Tip MB 9+ with roasted balsamic onions; Hiramasa kingfish sashimi with sweet and sour sauce, macadamia and pickled onion and a South Australian kangaroo loin, crusted with crushed Tasmanian pepper, warigal greens and beetroot.

“It is one of Mode Kitchen & Bar’s key philosophy to work with local produce, showcasing to our International and domestic clientele. When speaking in regards to the quality of Australian seafood and meat, the standard is extremely high,” he said.

But shining a light on what’s great in Australian cuisine is as much about letting the food do the talking as it is a steady and love-fuelled process behind everything he and the kitchen team do.

“Months of research, visits to South Australia and idea generation where the first steps to getting this project off the ground.  Next, I had to look into seasonality and available produce, selected key high-quality suppliers and worked collaboratively with them to produce a menu focusing on sustainable South Australian produce,” he explained.

Couple that with a bit of Meditterranean influence, Italian flare and a setting as refined and tempting as Mode Kitchen and Bar and there’s no wonder the menu and its Australian-centricities are so well-received.

Mode Kitchen & Bar_Hiramasa kingfish sashimi, sweet & sour onions, macadamia

Mannelli, being Italian, likes to use a bit of his own influence in what the menu propositions.

“Growing up in Italy, Florence specifically, my mamma, influenced my passion and love for the quality of produce.  To me, my passion is showcasing the high-quality and flavours of the produce, cooking the dishes with respect first to showcase their natural flavours, adding simple yet high-quality ingredients to enhance the dish, for example a nice Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” he said.

What Mode Kitchen and Bar are doing is something truly unique. Primarily for Sydney, but for the hotel largely.

It’s heroing quality over quantity, refined gastronomy over over-the-counter pap and doing something with food that shines a light on local and displays a love for Australian food.

“[Using local ingredients and shaping a menu around it is] challenging at times, yet extremely inspiring to my culinary team to continue to evolve the menu using seasonal produce at its best.  Throughout my career, I have developed strong relationship with key produce suppliers who regularly give me daily updates in regards to produce quality and availability,” said Mannelli.

Needless to say, the Australian series at Mode, the kitchen capacity at the Kitchen and Bar and the culinary influence of a chef as well-versed in texture, flavour, colour and locality as Mannelli; it’s worth a shot. See more at the Mode Kitchen and Bar website.

Mode Kitchen & Bar_ Fremantle octopus, potatoes, leeks & radishes