Local restaurant has red-hot start

Owners of The Old Saltbush Restaurant and Catering in Broken Hill say business has been heating up since opening last month.

In the last four weeks, reservations and the dining area have been packed with patrons, much to the delight of manager and lead chef Lee Checcin.

“People have been really supportive of the business, which has been very good,” she said.

The restaurant and catering business began service for the public on January 6 after a soft opening event in mid-December.

Mrs Checcin said despite the initial nerves, that event provided an insight into what to expect when it opened its doors.

“Like anything, you got to take a risk to find that gain, and I’m happy I made the decision to open,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of community support from a lot of locals, which has been fantastic.

“That’s all I could have asked for, and we’ve already started to build a regular clientele.”

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The Old Saltbush cooks up modern Australian cuisine and infuses a variety of ‘bush’ flavours.

At this stage, it is only open for dinner four nights in the week and has intentions to expand the menu and trading hours.

Mrs Checcin believes the menu has a range of unique and tasty combinations that cater to all dietary requirements.

She said the restaurant purchases most of its produce locally and maintains a connection with other businesses in town.

“Some stuff we can’t buy here because of the nature of the ingredients, but we try and buy as much as we can here,” Mrs Checcin said.

“There’s a bit of a network happening with local producers and small businesses to try and work together and help each other through the times at the moment.”

The Old Saltbush sources about 90 percent of its products from town and has working relationships with the Broken Hill Distillery and Sufi Bakery.

It can also lean on products from its sister business Pandora’s Palate, a gourmet food and catering outlet.

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Pandora’s Palate has been in the limelight after winning four medals in the Fine Food Show hosted in Sydney recently.

“We were pretty excited; we didn’t expect to win,” Mrs Checcin said.

“We entered out of let’s have a crack, and to win the medals was quite amazing.”

It received a gold, two silvers and bronze for creations that included Balsamic Peppered Fig (native pepper), a non-alcoholic Finger Lime mojito mix and two products from locally grown quandongs.

Mrs Checcin said her love and connection with food has not changed since she was young, and she puts a lot of effort into the bonds formed with staff and customers.

“My passion is still the same as when I started – I still love it,” she said.

“We try and welcome everybody and treat them like our family.

“We look after our staff in the sense of being appreciative of everything they do for us because they are our calling card.”

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The Old Saltbush restaurant employs between 10-17 locals as well as tutoring a school-based trainee from Menindee.

For bookings and enquiries, call or text 0418 841 101.

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