It’s not been a straightforward journey, but chef Gavin Swalwell and partner Fiona Myers are now settled in their new restaurant and wine bar, called Tidal at 118 Imlay St.
The couple owned several hospitality businesses in Rutherglen, including the highly rated Taste restaurant, and decided to move to Eden, selling everything to a timeline in order to move into the Hotel Australasia with their brewery.
When the timeline didn’t work out, they started looking for alternatives and after an initial hiccup, when it was thought the Halfway Motel, which includes the restaurant space, was to be sold, the couple opened on Thursday, January 27 to a full house.
The space hadn’t been a restaurant since 2014, Gavin said and so there was quite a lot of work to do, electrical, a kitchen upgrade and decor, before opening.
But after three nights of trade, Gavin talked excitedly about the venture and with a passion for his art.
“This is nirvana; I just do the food I love, French, seafood and I dabble in Japanese,” he said.
“Everything is made from scratch. I have a 70-year-old ice-cream maker from Bologna. Last week I made a mille feuille of summer fruits with a puff pastry recipe from (French chef) Paul Bocuse. It has an obscene amount of butter in it but you have to raise the oven racks because it expands so much,” Gavin says with obvious delight.
With 30 covers and one chef, they don’t turn over the tables but focus on good food and service and an experience which isn’t intimidating, Fiona said.
It’s not just a formal restaurant – Gavin dislikes the term ‘fine dining’ – but also a wine bar where people can have a starter and a glass of wine. They have more than a passing interest in wine having run their previous restaurant in the wine-growing region of Rutherglen.
“We’re not where we want it to be at the moment because we’re struggling for staff, like everyone else, so we have to limit the numbers,” Fiona, who looks after front of house, said.
But they are enjoying the lifestyle Eden offers and the access to fresh seafood.
“We enjoy going for a swim in the mornings and we love to forage and I love getting fish straight off the boat,” Gavin said.