10 December 2021

Five minutes with Adrian Moran, The Durham Castle Arms

| Lottie Twyford
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Barman standing behind row of beers

Adrian Moran, co-owner of The Durham Castle Arms in Kingston. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Who is Adrian Moran? I’m the co-owner of The Durham Castle Arms.

I’ve had that role for five years but have been part of the pub for the best part of 15 years.

Best recent dining experience: I struggle to go past Rebel Rebel in New Acton. Everything they do is so on point.

And kudos to the guys at OTIS Dining Hall as well. During lockdown, we got one of their take-home kits which was just fantastic.

Adam Wilson, Damian Brabender and James Barker.

They are basically neighbours – OTIS Head Chef Adam Wilson, owner Damian Brabender and sommelier James Barker. Photo: Megan Evans Photography.

Most embarrassing pantry item: With me working most nights, I rarely get a chance to cook dinner at home.

But, after a late one, I have been known to indulge in a big bowl of Crunchy Nut cereal.

Must-buy ingredient: IPA. I’ve been a big fan of the craft beer scene for over a decade now, and rarely a day goes by that I don’t indulge in an Australian-made and owned IPA.

READ ALSO The Alby in Woden adds class – and Australia’s first duckpin bowling alley – to the pub recipe

Favourite place for breakfast in the ACT: I really enjoy breakfast at home, but on the occasion that I do go out, I have a soft spot for Bittersweet in Kingston.

My Canberra food secret: I’m a sucker for BBQ duck and pork, and I’m convinced that no one does it better than Tak Kee Roast Inn in Dickson, washed down with a piney, rich, malt-driven IPA.

Big breakfast

Adrian is a fan of the Bittersweet breakfast. Photo: Region Media.

Biggest culinary influence: Not so much a culinary influence, but I do watch a lot of Bar Rescue with John Taffer.

When you get through all the hyperbole, I find he always has great bar concepts and insists on lots of training for staff and a clean workplace – which is something I always adhere to.

Favourite cookbook: These days, I don’t use a cookbook but instead watch YouTube videos.

And nothing beats Joshua Weissman. During lockdown, I made some delicious focaccia bread, key lime pie and a bunch of other stuff that I usually don’t get the chance to do when I’m working.

BentSpoke owners Richard Watkins and Tracy Morgan

BentSpoke owners Richard Watkins and Tracy Morgan are well admired by Adrian. Photo: Supplied.

Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: I always have a great meal at our nearby neighbour OTIS Dining Hall, so certainly Damian Brabender and Adam Wilson come to mind.

On the beer scene, it’s hard not to admire what Richard Watkins has achieved at BentSpoke, as well as Laurence Kain and the rest of the team at Capital Brewing Co.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Damian Brabender, OTIS Dining Hall

What’s on the menu this week: All the usual pub fare like schnitties, steak and fish and chips, but also some slightly different items like a delicious salmon and avocado salad, cheese and cauliflower balls, and a delicious Nepalese vegetarian curry.

Where I’m going next: My birthday is coming up, so we’re looking forward to an – as always – delicious experience at Raku, which is one of my favourite restaurants in Canberra.

Parma

The Durham Parma. Photo: The Durham Castle Arms.

Death row meal: It’s got to be a Durham Parma! Locally sourced crumbed chicken schnitzel, housemade Napoli sauce, lots of cheese, well-seasoned and topped with delicious, smokey Pialligo bacon.

READ ALSO The Big Breakfast: Bittersweet’s symphony hits all the right notes

COVID response: Sadly, we weren’t able to trade during a lockdown, but we were able to do some important renovations to the business, as well as try out some new recipe ideas with the kitchen staff.

We’ve also got a canning machine now so I spent a fair bit of the lockdown playing with that and fine-tuning it.

My really simple recipe tip: If you need to prepare a 30-minute Jamie Oliver meal, allow at least an hour.

The Durham Castle Arms is located in Green Square, Kingston, at 52 Jardine Street. It’s open Tuesday from 4 pm until 1 am, Wednesday through Friday midday until 1 am, and weekends from 11 am to 1 am.

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