“Hyper-seasonal,” in a single word is how Owners Kirsty Marchant and Ben Ing would describe Alberta’s Kitchen and Store
in Busselton. With resumes that include Noma in Copenhagen, it’s fair to say that there’s some expectation around the new opening. Kirsty was formally the head gardener, and Ben the head chef; reputations are preceding! But behind all the reviews, news articles, and blog posts, at the centre of it you have a couple who are very clear in their approach. It’s all in the name!
Alberta’s Kitchen and Store; yes, it’s really that simple. They’re not a restaurant; that would require a sommelier and formal menus. They’re not a café; not all Australian-style brunch foods are always in peak season. In this venue there are no shackles; Kirsty and Ben just want to create items that celebrate the long list of relationships that the couple have worked to cultivate over their decades within hospitality.
“It’s about telling a story through produce and people. We need to remember that the hard work doesn’t start at a ‘hello’ across a counter. It started months ago, meeting dairy farmers, coffee roasters, and citrus growers.”
Upon arriving at Alberta’s you’ll instantly feel a sense of warmth and belonging. Heavily inspired by the homeliness you’ll feel inside a kitchen in the French countryside, with the cleanliness and straight lines you’ll find in Scandinavia, everything is on show for you. The produce is stored proudly on shelves, and Ben works in the centre of the venue, over an open flame from a custom-made hearth. The naked flame is drying seaweed that will be added to a chicken and vegetable broth, made perfectly to suit the weather of the day.
Kirsty sees herself as a storyteller. Every decision they make is attributed to their own definition of what luxurious is;
“We couldn’t offer yoghurt until Saturday. The cows were milked on Wednesday, the milk was cultured on Thursday, and received Friday. This is what’s luxurious to us.”
For a coffee offering, Kirsty and Ben needed the same level of connection. Starting with the Modbar by LaMarzocco; no other machine would allow the same level of connection between barista and customer. In choosing the Risarelda Colombian as a single origin for all espresso-based coffees they’ve selected a coffee from a social enterprise coffee exporter where by the producers are guaranteed fixed margins; a pricing structure quite different within the world of coffee exporting – You can read more about that relationship here.
The filter line-up will change with the seasons, and remain fresh and accessible at all times, but will always be exceptional.
Alberta’s opened June 2nd, and are currently opening Thursday through to Sunday.
Photos courtesy of Josh Ball.