At The Bar with Sydney Chef Laura Rheinlander

Sydney-based chef Laura Rheinlander [Fred’s] comes to Melbourne this week to host a special dining pop-up held at wine bar Lumen People in North Melbourne on Friday 5th April. Her culinary share plate feasting focuses on seafood and vegetable entrée-inspired dishes that reflect her love of seasonal produce – with wines to match for the occasion.

A finalist in the NSW Good Food Young Chef of the Year in 2022, Rheinlander started her hospitality apprenticeship at the hatted Brisbane restaurant Gauge and finished it at Stanmore’s Sixpenny before she moved to Bar Vincent three years ago.  She’s currently based at Fred’s, but is off to Paris this month. Catch her while she’s still in Australia if you can.

Laura spoke to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

WHY COME TO MELBOURNE FOR THE LUMEN PEOPLE COLLABORATION?

Emma Sheahan and Marichi Clarke and I have talked about doing an evening together for the longest time and the stars finally aligned. I would say we all have a very similar approach to hospitality. We all have a genuine love for people and love expressing that through the medium of food and wine. The menu is going to feature some lovely late summer produce coming from the small farms Em and Marich are working with, turned into a succinct menu of entree-esque plates. Lots of fresh dishes to compliment some beautiful wines Liz from Vivant is bringing in for the evening.

CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE DISHES YOU’RE WORKING ON.

I love a composed salad. I love making them, I love eating them. I love a bunch of really beautiful simple ingredients thoughtfully put together with enough olive oil so they sing! So, my menu for the day is really just a bunch of glorified salads, but in hot late summer weather, it is truly what I love to eat. Crunchy vegetables and cooling seafood, simple cooking with a considered approach that is both lovely to be shared amongst friends or inhaled on one’s own.

HOW DID YOU AND EMMA SHEAHAN MEET?

I have known Emma Sheahan for years. We actually both lived in Brisbane and met at one of my first hospitality jobs. We both moved to Sydney around the same time so it’s really special that after working together, and a couple of interstate moves, we get to do something together in a space she and Marichi Clarke have opened themselves. I mean there wasn’t really too much thought behind the event other than we thought it would be a really lovely evening and quite special to all work together after not being able to see each other for so long.

MY CITY

I’ve been based in Sydney the last four years now, and have really found a home in it. We have such a colourful hospitality industry here and so many fabulous people doing really wonderful things. Having the beach so close doesn’t hurt either.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

I had such a special meal at Le Baratin in Paris the last time I visited a couple of years back. After being told they were full when trying to book in English, and then magically vacant when calling back in French, you can imagine the waiter’s disappointment when our party of Australians rocked up. However, it was truly one of the most delicious meals I had the pleasure of eating. It felt like you were in someone’s dining room at home, with no music, just calming chatter. Really beautiful simple food, with ingredients that were just unreal. The potatoes were sweet and sugary, the tomatoes so ripe they were almost jammy and a warm cake fresh from the oven to finish. Pretty bloody nice.

FAVOURITE BAR

I always love dropping in at Cantina OK in Sydney. I usually order whatever special they have going for the week, always fun, and always delicious.

A DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Maybe a tequila sunrise, not exactly sure why but it feels right.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

The ‘Al Green” sandwich from Small’s Deli is a lifesaver. Even more effective when paired with a very cold black coffee and an unwavering sense of denial.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR
Loved Public Wine Bar the last time I came to Melbourne a year or so ago. Such a beautiful space, so simple, so great. Glass of wine and an egg drenched in mayo. Heaven.

FAVOURITE WINERY

A favourite to visit is the vineyard that grows in my grandparent’s hometown in Germany. I think it produces about 50 bottles of wine a year, not even sure if they are drinkable but it is the most beautiful nostalgic little spot alongside the river that gets the most fabulous view of the sunset.

NEXT DESTINATION

My next stop is actually Paris! I’m moving over at the end of April.

WHEN: FRIDAY 5TH APRIL

WHERE: LUMEN PEOPLE 2A/520 VICTORIA STREET NORTH MELBOURNE

DINNER: BY LAURA RHEINLANDER [FRED’S SYDNEY]

WINE LIST: BY SOMMELIER LIZ CAREY

MUSIC: DJ STEPHEN CHARLES

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