Attica Countryside Pop-Up a Dreamy Distraction
“I’ve been eating at Attica Summer Camp, a four-month pop-up at a winery in the Yarra Valley of Victoria,” New York Times critic Besha Rodell writes. “It’s one of many projects dreamed up by [New Zealand-born] chef Ben Shewry since his much-lauded restaurant Attica was forced to shut down last March as part of Victoria’s initial pandemic lockdown.”
“There is so much here that captures the exact mood of this strange Australian summer,” Rodell writes. “The restaurant is fleeting, it is dreamy, it feels not quite real. It is nostalgic and fun and looks backward to familiar comforts rather than forward to an uncertain future. And it is almost gone – Attica Summer Camp will close on 31 May.
“Summer Camp was born of the pandemic and the need to diversify a fine-dining business, but it was not Shewry’s first pivot: Attica To-Go allowed the restaurant and its staff to make it through much of last year. It included takeaway options that mimicked the restaurant’s usual complex tasting menus and wine pairings – as well as its high cost – but also more affordable family-style dinners.
“‘The great thing about the lockdown is that it drastically and immediately changed our entire customer base,’ Shewry said. ‘We were serving people we’d never served before.’”
Original article by Besha Rodell, The New York Times, March 29, 2021.
Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen.