By Tsega Assefa
World-class chef Sean Connolly stamps his brand of quality, no nonsense food on the Adelaide culinary scene.
A passing sideward glance of Sean’s Kitchen is all it takes to draw you in from the street. Right away the open expanse; meticulously executed décor, abundant display of fresh produce and warmth of the staff happily working away indicate that this is the place to be.
Having recently opened its doors in early October, Sean’s Kitchen, is already a raving success with locals and after one visit, it’s clear that it’s a dining experience that transports you to the heart of New York City. Taking a step inside you are greeted with outstanding service. Whether you’re in the mood for some fresh outdoor dining, want to be in the heart of the restaurant or prefer an intimate sexy hide-away, there’s a space to accommodate you.
Sean: “Sean’s Kitchen is about creating a relaxed atmosphere with dishes that cater to a variety of tastes, there’s something for everyone. We have taken the idea of a New York brassiere, which works well in this old railway setting, and have put our own little spin on it.”
WHAT KICK-STARTED YOUR PASSION?
Sean: “I’d have to give credit to my Grandma for that one. Growing up I spent a lot of time at her house while my parents were hard at work. We’d have these story times, she’s an excellent story teller, she’d tell us stories about the war and cooking out of adversity and how she’d make some of her war-time dishes. It was the best time. The whole process made me appreciate how much food nurtures people and the way it brings us all together.”
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?
Sean: “More than thirty-five years now, I started out as an apprentice when I was 13 years old. My dad was an academic but he recognised that I wasn’t likely to go down that path myself. He saw my love for cooking, even at a young age, so he helped land me an apprentice position at the Pennine Hilton, a five star hotel. I started out on the prawn cocktails and basically kept progressing from there.”
HOW MANY RESTAURANTS HAVE YOU OPENED?
Sean: “In total I have started nine restaurants, but under my Sean Connolly brand I have what I like to say, 4.5 restaurants, the half is my burger bar.”
Sean: “Why not? There’s a really great food scene. I can’t ask for more than fantastic cooks, exceptional produce and a beautiful location and venue, all of which I’ve found here. When I first came down to visit the site I fell in love, the locations is excellent, we even extended out onto the walkway to incorporate some outdoor dining which added further 40-50 seats to the restaurant.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THIS VENTURE?
Sean: This year has been a big one for me, I’ve opened two restaurants within 12 months and have also been filming for Sean’s Kitchen in New York in the midst of opening the Sean’s Kitchen restaurant. The biggest challenges have been being away from my family and being time poor. Somehow, we have managed to pull it all off but between the restaurants, filming Sean’s Kitchen and guest judging for Master Chef (New Zealand), it felt like there were never enough hours in the day.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH ON THE MENU?
Sean: “I really like the Lobster Roll and the Chicken Waldorf salad; the dishes take me back to our time spent filming in New York. They bring back memories of the whole experience, the people we met and the food we ate.”
WHAT’S HOT ON THE MENU?
The soft-shell crab sandwiches are a definite crowd favourite, perfectly cooked crab with house-made green goddess dressing in a brioche bun, it’s not hard to see why. Accompany this dish with the ever-popular duck fat chips and you have the perfect lunchtime feed.
For those who are in the mood for a little something different the Scampi Crudo is a must-try. Raw scampi split and served with olive oil and chilli salt and as Sean explains, “If you like oysters, you’ll love this dish, most are apprehensive about trying it but when I bring it out for them they always order more.”
If you’re feeling inspired to whip up a culinary masterpiece of your own you can purchase some of the top-quality Sean Connolly ingredients used in Sean’s Kitchen to take home and experiment with. The pasta sauces (Puttanesca, Arrabbiata and Napolitana), freshly made bread, duck fat, extra virgin olive oil, BBQ sauce, tomato ketchup, hot sauce and coffee beans are all available for purchase.
The breakfast menu with options for take-away coffee and select menu items like the bacon & egg roll. Whether you want to dine in or you’re after breaky on the go, kick start your day the best way possible and stop by for a hot cup of expertly brewed coffee. Also for those after a light lunch or just drinks and nibbles, the BBQ corn Succotash Salad, the Museum of hams and the mojitos are must try menu items.
Bookings are available for private functions; the spaces upstairs (with a fully stocked bar) cater for up to 40 people and are perfect for an intimate gathering, birthday celebrations or corporate events.
Station Road, Adelaide
Ph. 8218 4244