As I sit nursing a generous slice of freshly baked sourdough from Clementine Restaurant, I reflect on how fortunate the Yass Valley community is that owner-chef Adam Bantock chose to produce culinary delights over chasing a white ball around the golf course.
Unbeknown to many, Adam flirted with the idea of perusing a career in golf. Adam often swaps his chef’s hat for a nine iron down at Yass Golf Club, in between nourishing the taste buds of Yass Valley locals and visitors alike.
Adam was born in London and moved to Sydney as a four year old. After high school, Adam travelled back to London to undertake a chef apprenticeship, before once again returning to Australia. Adam refined his culinary skills at Coast Restaurant in Cockle Bay and later at the Royal Motor Yacht Club. A chance encounter at a BBQ led to Adam being offered a opportunity to work in Hong Kong, with Australian restaurateur Michelle Garnaut, at her series of fine dining restaurants.
For five years Adam and his partner Brooke immersed themselves in their new Asian lifestyle. Adam worked with Michelle throughout her restaurants in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Adam still found time for golf, exploring world class courses at every opportunity. Working with Michelle Garnaut provided Adam with invaluable experience and confidence, two attributes that he would draw on later in life, when opening his own restaurant.
From Asia, Adam and Brooke moved to Canberra where Adam worked in restaurants such as Dieci e Mezzo, A Baker and Temporada. While Canberra offered a simpler life than the densely populated Asian cities in which they had lived, the couple longed for a quiet life in a small country town.
The search for Clementine
The search for such a life began and it wasn’t long before Adam and Brooke purchased a 1950’s weatherboard cottage in the beautiful town of Yass. Yass offered Adam and Brooke proximity to family in Canberra, convenient access to the Hume Highway and Sydney and of course the relaxed lifestyle they sought. They set about renovating and together they created the charming space that now houses Clementine Restaurant and a private residence.
Clementine is a warm and vibrant regional restaurant which opened in the heart of Yass in 2015, offering seasonal rustic meals with a European influence. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining at Clementine yet, or are looking for another excuse to make that reservation, there are plenty of great events coming up on the Clementine calendar.
A relaxed Friday lunch special or a Pork and Cider Dinner may tempt you. A rolling dinner may intrigue you. Or perhaps a four course Truffle Celebration is more your style? Whether booking for an event or a night reprieve from your own kitchen, call the restaurant on 02 6226 3456 to reserve your table, or visit www.clementinerestaurant.com.au for more information.
– Written by Natasha Maguire