The local hospitality industry has been pivoting and changing their business models since March and the start of COVID-19. There have been changes aplenty with each announcement and easing of restrictions. This week, Kingston’s award-winning fine dining restaurant OTIS Dining Hall is adapting once more by growing their offering and launching OTIS at Home.
“At OTIS, to put it quite bluntly, we were brutalised by COVID-19, with restrictions, and the rest of the issues that come with it,” chef and owner of OTIS Dining Hall Damian Brabender told Region Media.
“During the lockdown, I began working on some new and exciting ideas that I really want to ensure are not just short-term solutions. Creating these ideas are my passion, and in this circumstance, they have become a necessity also.”
The results of the first stage of all the behind-the-scenes planning and invention started to roll out in mid-May when dining-in was initially allowed. The team opened their restaurant door to 10 diners for intimate OTIS Chef’s table events. The events are fully ticketed, offering a unique experience and a very different format to regular dining. They’ve been serving up Canberra’s best produce and have refocused the wine list to only display and celebrate local wineries and those affected by bushfires. As restrictions have eased, the number of diners they can welcome into the restaurant has also increased.
The next chapter for OTIS is rolling out this week with a new line from their restaurant kitchen to your dinner table: OTIS At Home.
The OTIS at Home concept is a three-course set menu for two featuring award-winning dishes, ready to be finished and plated at home, while the chef-made pre-bottled cocktails are ready to be shaken and poured. It is date night at home with a side serving of Masterchef sure to score a perfect ten.
“During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown of hospitality, we were asked every day about takeaway food and other possibilities. After many attempts to create menus that we could somehow transport without losing the quality, we decided we were simply overthinking it. I mean, we are trying to maintain a fine dining-level product in a plastic tub, ready to eat. But why? To put it simply, because customers were asking for it, and we have a professional duty to ensure we never let our diners down,” Damian said.
“So, we pivoted our thinking and ideas towards, what we now call ‘OTIS at Home’. It is not takeaway, it is not grocery shopping, it is a dine at home experience. A three-course menu with everything prepared to the point ready for service.”
The OTIS at Home menu will be ever-changing. The menu which is available this week celebrates winter and the abundance of local truffles. The first course is Black truffle Fettucini Cacio e Pepe pasta with plenty of Pecarino, truffle butter and truffle salt so it can be finished to taste. The main course is Wagyu beef cheek, Tuscan cabbage crisp and black truffle mash. To finish a decadent Truffle infused pannacotta, vanilla and organic cream.
“All the prep is done for you by our award-winning chefs. The jus is made over three days, ready for you to add seasoning and truffle butter to your own liking. The pasta is rolled and ready for boiling water, the wagyu beef cheeks are marinated, seared and slowly braised in wine, ready for you to warm through in a pot at home, and the perfect restaurant-quality mash is just waiting for the last touches of heat and butter,” shared Damian.
Damian describes the dishes as a hug in a bowl, which would pair beautifully with a pre-dinner cocktail. For this menu, he would recommend starting with the OTIS negroni, perfectly balanced and warming for winter.
“We think OTIS at Home will be the perfect winter date night at home. Just don’t expect us to come and do the dishes when you’re done eating!”
Visit the OTIS Dining Hall website to preorder now.