Hann and long-time business partner Themis Chryssidis have been inundated with bookings since opening the doors to their new Mediterranean restaurant Lou’s Place, located at the Lou Miranda Estate cellar door in Rowland Flat.
The restaurant launched last weekend and comes as Hann and Chryssidis, who together run Sprout Cooking School, Catering and Health Studio, have also announced a second restaurant to open on Waymouth Street later this year.
Lou’s Place offers Mediterranean cuisine, with a kitchen led by head chef Dean Zammit, formerly of Pike & Joyce, and a menu designed to tie in with the wines produced by the Italian family-owned Lou Miranda Estate.
It is Hann’s first foray into the restaurant industry, having been dedicated to his business Sprout since appearing in the second series of MasterChef Australia in 2010.
Hann says it was actually the Miranda family who first approached him and Chryssidis with the idea.
“They came to us with an opportunity, and we were lucky enough to be in a position that we could take it on,” Hann says.
“I’m always saying that I want to get back to the Barossa more to see my friends and family there, so the opportunity seemed too good to miss.
“I grew up and went to school in Nuriootpa. My mum and my sister still live there, so this opportunity is perfect, not only to have a business in the place where I grew up but to get back more regularly to see my family.”
The restaurant is named in homage to Lou Miranda, the winemaker behind the eponymous winery. Now retired, Miranda has stepped back from the business, which is today run by his three daughters: Lisa the general manager, Angela the winemaker, and Victoria in marketing.
“To have three sisters running the show at a major winery is a really cool story. We’re loving working with them, and I think they’re loving having our food in this space, so it’s a really nice relationship,” says Hann.
The dining space previously served as the winery’s family-run restaurant but was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. The experience spurred the Miranda siblings to place more focus on the wine side of the business and ultimately outsource the restaurant.
With its high ceilings and gorgeous stone and timber features, the restaurant only required some minor kitchen modifications to be business-ready.
“It’s such a beautiful building, to begin with; a lot of it you don’t want to change,” says Hann.
“The menu writes itself, to a certain extent. For a restaurant that’s within a winery, it’s really important that the two gel together. So, for us, the first place we started with was the wine.”
The menu has a focus on share plates, with warm freshly baked focaccia, house-made pickles, marinated olives, freshly made dips, cured meats, mozzarella, chicken, seafood, and pasta.
“Lou Miranda Estate has some really lovely Italian varietals. For us, it was pretty easy to extrapolate that out into a sharing, generous, Mediterranean-style food offering.”
The two-time reality television star, who most recently appeared on MasterChef’s 2020 series Back to Win says that his upbringing in the Barossa Valley town of Nuriootpa played an integral role in his career.
“Tourism, food, and wine are what the Barossa is all about. My dad worked at a winery for 27 years, my mum had a homewares shop selling kitchen products, and my first job was in a bakery as a teenager,” says Hann.
“So, it was inevitable that I was going to end up in food or wine in some way.”
Lou’s Place is currently open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for lunch and will extend availability to Thursday—Monday lunch and dinner in the near future.
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