“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





23 January 2016


Faaaarkin look at em!  The great Fino at Willunga served its last meal yesterday

It was the feast day of St Vincent, the patron of viticulturers and winemakers.

For ten determined  years, Fino forged itself into the dining intellect of South Australia, showing the lot of us what a proper regional restaurant can be.

I managed to drink too much, get a few snaps, indulge in a meal that will die on my lips with me, and leave without paying my bill, after finishing Shazza's last bottle of grappa. 

Above is master chef David Swain and the brilliant Sharon Romeo and their lovely lovely crew after they'd polished that tiny kitchen for the last time. I cried for about three hours. 

I tried to explain to David how important it was that the night we couldn't get a cab to take us to the Victory he wiped his hands on a towel and drove us there safely and how one afternoon he took me into his kitchen and showed me all the pigs' heads he'd got curing in brine for sausages instead of wasting them and how everything he'd ever cooked for me was delightful and stimulating and bright and light and memorable.

My black gizzards loved David Swain's food. I always woke feeling better. 

And now I'm blubbering again.

Not pushing the head thing too hard, I ate all the sardine heads that were left on my table, and managed to get this shot of Shaz and her loving Mum, who warned me "She's got a girlfriend you know!" 

I left, like the big boofheaded bloke I am, promising to guard them with my life, trying to explain how this restaurant, along with those various great eateries of Cheong Liew and Tony Bilson, had forever changed the way I appreciate food. 

Grazie, Shazza and David and wondrous crew. 

Sadness and delight. 

McLaren Vale never deserved you. Go kick some sense into the Barossa.

My delicious memories will outlive me.

JUST IN: Who's a lucky boy then? (That's Howard Twelftree's white shirt with me in it ... Shazz is the very popular winner of the Howard Twelftree Award 2015)

Silly to end all sad and wistful, though: the new owners, Tarik and Sandrine Maltret, the south-of-France couple who have run the popular La Terre around the corner and up the street say they should have their  rebranded acquisition open in a week or so, after they've made it theirs. Because the local breezes remind them of home they'll going to call it Le Mistral, after the drying wind which blows down the Rhône across the delta to the Mediterranean. The Willunga wind, of course, blows across the vine-filled embayment into the Gulf St Vincent ... DRINKSTER will report on their new business once they've settled in.

The Fino crew will continue with their big bold new restaurant at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa. DRINKSTER wishes both teams the very best in their new enterprises!

Tarik and Sandrine Maltret


Too Far Away said...

I thought you were romancing when you said that when you sit down you're taller than Sharon standing up but there you are. Talk about putting a lot in a small package. And it looks like her Mum's even smaller. Lovely photos and sentiment Whitey. You're right. Lucky Barossa. Wish I could have been there. DC xxx

via collins said...

All the things we miss but not hot-footing over to the Vale proper. God I hope we make it this year. Sounds like you have a more than serviceable replacement in the Provencal there Whitey - good luck, and may the mourning be shortish for ya.

tubby justice said...

It's not as if you don't give us enough words - already.
But getting back to the poetry in Howard's shirt is another song.
Fuck the band. You make music without them. Sometimes they are there - most times not. Most times the people we love are away or gone.
This is the remembering.
This is making it now when you write the poem, when you wear the shirt.
This is not forgetting. That is love. Not forgetting is love.
Bleaching the shirt in a bucket. Making it white and good and new.
Like the taste, the smell, the sound, the touch.
Sometimes an echo of trying to find something. There in the lunchbox, the record my best friend destroyed, too much gin in London in 1977 - Silver Jubilee.
I sang lot's of songs.............. with or without an audience.
People don't have to be around. You can comfort yourself.
You wear his shirt.
You remember.
You wrote the words.
No one else did.
Just you Philip.
Thank you.
Tubby Justice.

Philip White said...



After the funeral I took all your shirts
and scrubbed the collars and cuffs
with lemon and eucalyptus, so they shone
brighter than they’d ever done before.

I soaked your work trousers then washed them,
edging the temperature to the boil,
feeding the copper with kindling you’d cut,
while that old wringer surged and sang

like you did as we laughed those years
away, surprised at our hunger and lust.
The starching came next, and the iron.
Handkerchiefs, cravat - even your ties.

Now that they’re hanging on the rack
it’s obvious: you’re never coming back.

Philip White