Providore, farmer and occasional GT contributor Hugh Wennerbom and his wife, architect Mary Ellen Hudson, have found a more permanent home for the food that has won them a legion of fans in Sydney via their traiteur mailing list and guerrilla dinners around the city's eastern suburbs. Following an extensive renovation they've just opened the doors on The Argyle Inn, an 1870s pub in the small Southern Tablelands town of Taralga, not far from the land they farm, about half an hour's drive from Goulburn.
Wennerbom's Holmbrae chickens grace menus at every second good restaurant in Sydney, and his partners in the inn are cattle and sheep farmers Keith and Maureen Kerridge from Bannaby Angus, so the provenance of the birds and meat is impressive, and Wennerbom's experience in the kitchen at Sean's in Bondi should mean good things for the quality of the duck rillettes and chicken liver pâté on the grazing plate. Other potential hits on the bar menu include ravioli with goat's curd, pea and mint, and pappardelle with broad beans and beef ragù.
Sunday lunch is a $45 set menu, taking in the grazing plate, spatchcock, potatoes and salad, followed by meringue, ice-cream and berries, while the $65 Saturday dinner might open with goat's curd, rocket and chilli, the pâté, and some pickles, and then segue through another four courses that could include smoked duck breast with beetroot and fig salad, and frozen nougat, mango and passionfruit.
The dining room seats around 40, but if country weddings (or parties or mitzvahs) are your thing, it's worth noting that there's room to seat 200 if you include the courtyard and veranda. And there's accommodation upstairs - book now if you want to get in for the Australia Day Rodeo weekend.
The Argyle Inn, 80 Orchard St, Taralga, NSW, theargyleinn.com.au; bar and bistro open Fri-Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-5pm. Dining room open Sat 7pm-10pm