The “chef’s table” experience at a restaurant is typically an exclusive, relatively costly option for groups to get an up-close experience with chefs, try their hero dishes, or just get amongst the action of the kitchen. I’ve sat at many of these over the year: some have culminated in the ultimate experience while at others I’ve felt like I was in the way. The behind-the-scenes seats can expose you to some of the best kind of culinary entertainment, but also some of the worst. There’s not always a set menu, you’re often guided by seasonality or the daily whim of the chef, or in eleven’s case – chefs.

There are a few names and familiar faces behind this venue, and it’s the joint effort and energy that has brought this place to life over the last couple of years. The first is Callum Hann, former Masterchef turned actual chef. Next is Themis Chryssidis, a dietician and cook who really knows his stuff. Together they work with the kitchen team to develop a menu that is very obviously designed to tick every box.

Like any good journey, tonight’s starts with snacks. Three petite bites, each a burst of flavour and texture, provide the introduction to eleven’s chef’s table menu. First is a single plump Gazander oyster topped with a foamy mignonette. The lightly sour dressing just barely masks the flavour of the mollusc beneath. Next is a scooped-out baby potato filled with smoked eel, caviar and chives. Not usually a fan of eel, I’m impressed by the balance of this bite, with salt offered by caviar taking control over the mild smoky flavour of the fish. And then, a gruyere cheese puff is dusted with truffle. Pungent and earthy, this introduction to eleven has us hungry for more, and thirsty too. Fortunately, the extensive wine list has plenty of interesting drops to keep us occupied. There is a pairing option, matched with each course but tonight we’ve hit the Giant Steps Chardonnay.

Snacks at eleven. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

Our selection matches perfectly with the next course. Impossibly thin slivers of Hahndorf Venison are presented as carpaccio, in a pool of good olive oil sporadically splashed with chilli oil. There’s a puree that seems to be pickled onion (revolutionary) and crispy fried slices of Jerusalem artichoke to add some woody flavour. I’ve had some good carpaccios in my time, and this one’s up there with the best.

Venison carpaccio. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

Next is a luscious, shimmering bisque made using shells of marron. A single marron tail swims in the soup, with slices of confit leek and lightly charred broccolini rounding out another excellent dish.

Marron in bisque. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

The only thing more excellent is the bread: eleven’s signature milk bun. Two thick fluffy slices are served next to a generous ramekin filled with chook fat-infused butter. My only complaint tonight is that it disappears too quickly.

eleven’s milk bun with roast chook butter. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

Our next dish disappears quickly, too. It’s 9+ grade wagyu, cooked perfectly, sliced and splayed alongside charred baby turnips and a dollop of housemade mustard. Yes, it’s steak, but this is next level. A translucent jus heightens this dish further, but regret creeps in again. Why didn’t I save some of that bread? This sauce was made for mopping.

Wagyu with mustard baby turnips and jus. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

And then they serve a palate cleanser – an old-school dining tradition that I wish still happened more often. It’s not fancy, but it is tasty. Blood Orange granita. Yogurt Sorbet. Oil infused with bay leaf. They could have just called this dessert and I’d be satisfied.

Palate cleanser. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

But, dessert is even more interesting. Perhaps a little challenging. But I decide after a few bites that I like it. Shards that look like meringue are actually dehydrated chocolate mousse. There are lightly poached quince slices on top of a hazelnut crunch. The challenging bit is a porcini ice cream. Yep, mushroom for dessert. A slight adjustment to sweet expectations and we’re there. It’s silky and savoury, lightly salted and a balanced counterpoint to the slightly sweeter mousse-shards.

Dessert at eleven. Photo: Paul Wood/InReview

A couple of petit fours (a chocolate filled with whiskey and something that tastes exactly like apple pie) and we’re done.

Over the night, we’ve made single-serving friends with other duos eating their way through the menu, giving us some preview tasting notes (and sharing their bottles of wine). This chefs’ table is a shared event, but it doesn’t feel like your average communal table. It’s definitely an experience, and it’s clear after tonight that at eleven, that’s what it’s all about.


11 Waymouth Street, Adelaide (enter via Post Office Pl)
08 7008 0222

Restaurant opens for dinner Monday – Saturday and lunch Wednesday – Friday


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