“lt’s not European, it’s not Mod Oz, it’s not Contemporary: it’s Homage. It’s all about the smoke, fire, and coals – it’s a restaurant with its own unique identity.”
Fire pits and wood ovens have always shaped the menu at Homage but they’ve since become a major feature. When a fire in the ceiling destroyed the original homestead, the kitchen fully embraced a ‘cooking with fire’ concept and it has since become key part of the dining experience.
Two years on, the wood ovens in The Barn remain and are complemented by a Milbrasa grill in the new homestead which opened earlier this year. “A farmer supplies olive wood charcoal for the grill to produce a mild, sweet flavour for Murray cod and chicken. Ironbark is burned in the open fire for intensely flavoured meats like pork and beef brisket,” says Martin.
Chef Martin takes his inspiration from the culinary and visual landscapes of the Scenic Rim, Darling Downs, Granite Belt, Lockyer Valley and Ipswich, and works with local farmers who supply much of the produce used in the restaurant. It’s a collaborative arrangement.
“9Dorf Farms were a sustainable fish farm when we first started working with them. They asked what else we needed for the menu and we said good local chickens. Now they’re supplying those for us as well. Every time we find a great new producer it gets the kitchen buzzing”.
Locally sourced produce is complemented by the Homage market garden and on-site fruit orchard, beehives, free-range farm and hen house. For example, beef brisket from nearby Rosevale is teamed with cabbage from the garden and citrus from the orchard. The on-site smokehouse is used to preserve the market garden’s often bountiful produce for use throughout the year.
“We have a huge amount of eggplants at the moment so we’re going to smoke them down and use them when summer comes around,” explains Martin. “In times of abundance like spring and autumn, we can use the smokehouse and in the summer we call on the preserving room.”
When you’re in the dining room watching the distant Little Livingstone Range take on a soft blue hue and looking forward to the meal to come, it’s hard to imagine anywhere else you would rather be. In many ways, the beautiful new homestead echoes the country yet contemporary style of the cuisine at Homage. It’s rustic yet refined with an attention to detail that elevates it from good to truly great.