Variety spice of life

Neil Jackson of Jackson’s restaurant. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d408773
Neil Jackson of Jackson’s restaurant. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d408773

Dispensing with his famous degustation menu, a staple since the venue opened almost 16 years ago, owner-chef Neil Jackson of Dianella said he was moving with the changing dining trends.

‘People tend to be a lot more casual in their approach now ” it’s not a bad thing,’ he told Guardian Express.

‘They seem to be looking for a bit of fun and enjoyment. They still want good quality food and service but they’re not quite so starchy and stiff.’

The beloved Beaufort Street venue, still serving the a la carte menu in the main dining area, has a new front lounge serving small plates valued under $10 and with live music every Wednesday.

Mr Jackson said this fresh approach was ‘a bit of fun’ but removing the degustation had caused ‘a little bit of a stir’.

‘People were still requesting the degustation, but I noticed that it was a bit more than what some were expecting. When diners choose this menu they have to commit to spending quite a bit of time at the table eating and now a lot tend to want to have a little bit of something to eat here and then they might wander off somewhere else for a drink,’ he said.

‘Or they might have a little bit to eat and drink on their way home from work ” I just feel it’s a changing climate for eating out and we’re trying to cater for that.’

Mr Jackson added that his usual clientele were still visiting for special nights but others now popped in for a quick bite without a booking.

A long-time local business owner, the restaurateur said the suburb had changed considerably in the last 16 years and most notably in the previous five.

‘It has become quite a destination for eating and drinking. When I first came here I thought, ‘the place just has to happen because it’s so close to the CBD’,’ Mr Jackson said.

‘There was us, an upmarket restaurant, Siena’s, the Greek place and The Queens and that was it ” the rest was a lot of second hand shops which have all disappeared now.’