Foodie Secrets for Secret Foodies


Heads-up food lovers! The Sydney and Melbourne dining scenes are keeping a secret. And is about to let you in on it. Amanda Chebatte tells you more:

With an aim to bring an element of adventure to our otherwise ordinary dining routines, Secret Foodies are the mastermind creators behind surprise dining experiences. People gather in secret locations to consume amazing food from uniquely created menus. Even more interesting, no two events are the same, and the location is only revealed two hours prior to commencement via text message. Is it a park? Could be. Is it a laneway? Possibly. The menu itself also remains a secret until you take your seat. Then it’s, surprise! For dinner tonight you’re having smoked beef with garden veg cooked in the earth it’s from.

That was part of the delicious feast I enjoyed recently when I stepped into the world of ‘Secret Foodies’ and attended their ‘Winter Forage’ dinner.

It was Thursday night. The clock read 4:59pm. I held my phone, waiting eagerly for my message. At exactly 5:00pm my phone chimed, signaling a text, just as the invitation instructed. Quickly, I opened the message. It gave an address but nothing more. Intrigue sent a wave of excitement through me (and I unashamedly let out a little squeal) as this address would lead me to the feast I had been waiting all week to experience, and it was now only two hours away.

The map guided me to the back streets of Potts Point to a residence that had been repurposed into a restaurant called The Powder Keg. For the night though the restaurant was transformed into an exclusive space with ambient lighting and swing jazz music playing in the background.

The host welcomed diners at the door, ushering us towards the bar where a ‘foraged’ cocktail made with gin and dandelion root syrup waited for us. As I walked past the kitchen, the chef gave a friendly nod as he applied garnishes to what I would later discover to be the wild boar, cactus and parsnip appetiser.

Our dinner was no ordinary spread. All the food and wine was sourced locally from Krinklewood, a biodynamic and organic vineyard and farm in New South Wales. Pesticides are forbidden there, the food is planted according to a lunar calendar and to make sure those good vibes permeate through his products, the winemaker serenades his wine! Yes, he sings to his barrels – what passion!

Our chef visited the farm up to seven times in preceding weeks, foraging and gathering seasonal ingredients to design a seven course menu that took the diner on a culinary adventure through each course. Drawing inspiration from the native Australian landscape, thick wooden discs were cut by the chef himself from branches of wattle trees and used to serve food on. Every bite was filled with unfamiliar and unexpected flavours, and it was only upon making reference to the menu that you realised it was pickled unripe berries or stinging nettles you tasted. There were some ingredients however you were left to distinguish on your own and that made for lively conversation amongst diners, as we guessed the peculiar flavours (I stand by my claim it was finger limes used in the dessert course).

I left with my belly full that night and my sense for foodie adventure satisfied (for a short while anyway). So if you’re keen, check our their next event – I have no idea where you’ll be going or what you’ll be eating but it will certainly be an adventure…if you’re hungry for it, that is.

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Words by Amanda Chebatte