Moonacres Kitchen is located in Robertson, NSW, just 10 minutes drive from Moonacres Farm. Where possible we use organic ingredients from our farm, and we also use the finest local produce available from around the Southern Highlands.
At the helm of Moonacres Kitchen is Stephen Santucci. Formerly head chef at Vini, Surry Hills, Stephen learnt his craft in Italy – where he spent a number of years working in restaurants, including under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chef, Salvatore Tassa – and at Sydney institution Cesare’s No Names.
To say Stephen is passionate about Italian food barely covers it. He credits his career to his grandparents, and recalls fondly making ‘dried sausage’ (they never called it salami) as a child with his Nonna in her cantina (in the basement).
“I have an innate grandmother-ness in me which I bring to a kitchen,” he says. “Everybody went to my Nonnas house for bread and polenta. And that’s my place in life too. I want people to smell the food cooking, see the salami drying. At Moonacres Kitchen I want our customers to engage all their senses to make a whole experience.”
And yes, you will be able to taste Nonna’s Salami for yourself at Moonacres Kitchen.
Alex Llewellyn our head chef comes to us from Berta in Sydney. He’s also had stints at Ester and Vini, and has worked in restaurants in Canada and Japan. Alex cites the Italian-style focus on freshness and simplicity of food, rather than elaborate technique, as driving his work, and believes a dish should be “true to what it is – not overdressing it, or fiddling about too much.”
When you crunch into one of our house-made pickles, you can bet Alex is behind its creation. Experimenting with pickling and fermenting, and working with excess produce are particular interests. As are leafy greens. Veggies are often the heroes of Alex’s food, and once you try his steamed cavolo nero, you’ll understand why.
Headed by Dougal Muffet, our bakery uses only stoneground flour that’s been responsibly and sustainably grown, nutritious and alive. Dougal comes to Moonacres Kitchen from Ester in Chippendale where he spent a couple of years in the kitchen, including making the bread which has been described as having a “cult following”. As well as sourdough loaves, the bakery also churns out pastries (morning buns, sweet and savoury danishes), soft potato bread (used for our bacon and egg rolls) and criossants. As well as whatever else Dougal dreams up at 2am when the bread ovens are fired up.
“What’s interesting to me is being creative within boundaries,” he says. “There are only four ingredients, but the challenge is to use them in imaginative – and ultimately delicious – ways.”