Barossa-raised MasterChef star Callum Hann and his business partner Themis Chryssidis kindly invited us to their restaurant, Lou’s Place, at Rowland Flat in the Barossa Valley. The reality television star’s upbringing in the Barossa Valley town of Nuriootpa played an integral role in his decision to set up a Mediterranean restaurant within the stunning boutique winery Lou Miranda Estate.
Callum’s Father worked in a winery for 27 years, his Mother had a homewares store, selling kitchen products and Callum attended the local school in Nuriootpa. Reminiscing on his childhood in the Barossa Valley, which is synonymous with food and wine, Callum explained that it was almost inescapable that he forged a career in hospitality, after working in his first restaurant when he was in Year 10.
Callum’s Mum Deb and his Sister still live in the Barossa, so when an opportunity to return to the area arose, it seemed perfect, not only to have a business in the area where he grew up but to have another reason to regularly spend time with his loved ones in the neighbourhood. After the whirlwind of MasterChef fame, Callum had been dreaming of devoting more time in his hometown in the Barossa, to catch-up with family and friends, so a chance to invest in the wine region seemed too good to pass up.
Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis, who together run Sprout Cooking School, Catering and Health Studio, were in the process of planning their restaurant on Waymouth Street, when the Miranda family approached them with the opportunity of opening a restaurant in the Barossa Valley. The Sprout partners were in a position to jump at the idea, which was their first foray into the restaurant industry, after dedicating their time to expanding Sprout since appearing in the second series of MasterChef Australia in 2010.
“Lou’s place” is named in homage to Lou Miranda, the winemaker behind the eponymous winery. Lou Miranda has retired and stepped down from running the family business, his three daughters now run the show. The three sisters; Lisa the general manager, Angela the winemaker, and Victoria in marketing, work so well with Callum and Themis. The Italian heritage of the Miranda family was an obvious starting point for Lou’s Place. Callum has embraced ideas from across the Mediterranean into his menu. Along with Themis, their focus is on healthy cooking and Mediterranean cuisine. The kitchen is led by head chef Dean Zammit, formerly of Pike & Joyce, with a fabulous menu designed to tie in with the wines produced by the Italian family-owned Lou Miranda Estate.
There’s something special about the drive through the heart of the Barossa Valley. Located at the Southern end of the Barossa, Lou Miranda Estate is impossible to miss. The magnificent building isn’t ancient but has a sense of grandeur and history due to the timber boards and beams sourced from the demolition of a historic railway station and market. With its stunning high ceilings and gorgeous stone and timber features the restaurant has retained an olde world charm. The dining space previously served as the winery’s family-run restaurant but it was forced to shut down due to Covid restrictions. The Miranda sisters subsequently focused on the winemaking side of the business and once they’d outsourced the restaurant to Callum and Themis the hospitality team have been inundated with bookings since the day they’d opened the doors to their Mediterranean restaurant
The dynamic duo welcome guests to enjoy a long lazy lunch in a relaxed setting. Anyone who watched Callum on MasterChef knows he’s a genuine, kind soul, his dishes were cooked with love and passion. Those attributes are felt when you visit Lou’s Place, you feel looked after, you feel like you’ve gone to visit a friend’s house, the vibe is so welcoming and generous, it’s warm and inviting and their customer service is second to none. The dining structure is clever, whilst providing some flexibility with dietary requirements the “Feed Me” menu is outstanding! Seasonal, local produce, wholesome and generous share plates, a laidback dining experience. The feed me menu highlights the best local produce available. There’s no ordering, there’s no stress, there’s no convoluted menu, the kitchen takes care of everything-traditional Mediterranean hospitality!
It all starts with an antipasto spread of House-baked rosemary focaccia, Torzi-Matthews marinated olives served warm, sliced charcuterie-Bresaola from Nino’s Smallgoods, lightly pickled colourful vegetables and a thick, salty, house-made, whipped Ricotta dressed with lemon zest, fresh oregano and extra virgin olive oil. Followed by Halloumi with smoked heirloom tomatoes, picked cucumber and fresh basil. My favourite dish was the House cured and smoked Duck with fresh figs and buffalo mozzarella, it was almost too pretty to eat. We enjoyed the scrumptious Mushroom Risotto with pine nuts, a superb option for those who requested a meat free dish. The Beef Ragu with soft polenta is always crowd favourite, it was served with a thyme pangrattato and grana Padano. Generous servings of Roast Chicken with black garlic hummus was perfectly seasoned and accompanied by picked red onion and cucumber. Chargrilled greens with toasted almonds and chilli garlic confit added a delicious element to our meal. Roasted potatoes with black garlic and paprika salt.. disappeared from our table very quickly! An authentic Italian meal isn’t complete without a fabulous dessert, in this case, an irresistible Tiramisu served with coffee completed our long lunch.
There is a massive buzz about this place, and we could see why it was absolutely packed! We loved the big open space and the long wooden tables. The service was absolutely excellent from the moment we arrived. The Feed Me Menu is all about food and wine, family and fun; which is such an important part of Italian culture and defines Lou’s Place! For a restaurant that’s within a winery, it’s really important that the two work well together. So the first place the hospitality team started with… was the wine list! Their modern interpretation on Mediterranean cuisine compliments Lou Miranda wines perfectly. Lou Miranda Estate has some really lovely Italian varietals. It made sense to extrapolate that out into a shared, generous, Mediterranean-style food offering. The Fierce III wine varietals are magnificent and paired so well with each dish on the Feed Me Menu.
Nestled among the vineyards the stately Lou Miranda Estate cellar door and restaurant has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, this is such a fun and relaxed, cultural and culinary experience.
The family-owned Lou Miranda Estate winery offers a unique location for family functions and memorable events.
Lou’s Place is currently open on Friday from 10am-10pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.
Words by Jacqueline Collett
WHERE: 1876 Barossa Valley Way, McLaren Flat