The next chapter of the Adelaide Hills gastronomic evolution sees an old name revived for The Summertown Aristologist. In the 1980s, Jennifer Hillier and Michael Symons defined sophisticated yet simple South Australian country dining at The Uraidla Aristologist; now Basket Range winemaker Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux) has obtained the owners' blessing to adapt their name for a new style of seriously relaxed wine bar/eatery/hangout he has fashioned in nearby Summertown with fellow winemaker Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons) and floor manager Aaron Fenwick (late of Orana). While the modified shop, which has a long timber bench and high stools at its centre, doesn't attempt to copy the original restaurant, its loose-knit array of grazing plates and drinks captures its essential sense of place.
Former Magill Estate sous-chef Tom Edwards presents locally harvested food in its natural glory. Smoked and roasted celeriac with watercress and lamb is perfectly balanced, as is a luscious meld of buckwheat with kombu, beetroot, grated Comté and a coddled egg.
The compact menu warns dishes will change at the chef's whim. Portions are modest, too - the scale of the likes of the 120-gram serve of seared beef is designed to entice the tastebuds rather than overwhelm but the dishes are fairly priced. They're smart companions to the lighter, on-trend styles of wines on offer. The tight list, with a core of the owners' wines (some by the glass or half-bottle) complemented by other local producers and some simpático imports, is supported by a walk-in cellar stocked with more than 500 bottles of wine (many low-sulphur) and sake. It's open from 9am (for croissants and coffee until lunch begins at noon) through to 9pm, from Friday to Sunday.
The Summertown Aristologist, 1097 Greenhill Rd, Summertown, SA, 0477 410 105, thesummertownaristologist.com