Former Public Wine Shop and Agrarian Kitchen chef Ali Currey-Voumard brings the aïoli-scented good times to A Table Bistro.

Ali Currey-Voumard has a very clear picture of how you might experience her new eatery, A Table Bistro in Castlemaine. “I love the idea of people getting in on a Saturday night, coming down for a Martini and some terrine, and then maybe you’ve got a slightly sore head the next day and you come down for a long Sunday lunch.”

It’s not that she’s trying to recreate the experience of Auberge de Chassignolles, that French country dining landmark, in rural Victoria, but it’s on the broader mood board for what she has in mind for the pop-up restaurant she and her partner, Mali Mitchell-Court, are running at the newly renovated Temperance House in Castlemaine this summer.

If you’re familiar with Currey-Voumard’s work, this news alone will already probably have prompted you to start flipping through your calendar thinking about how soon you can get there. Currey-Voumard’s brand of genuinely produce-focussed and deliciously nourishing cooking at the likes of Public Wine Shop in North Fitzroy and The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania has won her the loyalty of a great many fans.

The kind of food she has in mind for this new caper will certainly please the faithful, with the harvest from small, organic farms driving her choices, as always.

“In thinking about this menu, I’ve been thinking about how much I like the taste of aïoli,” she says. She’s picturing a grande aïoli with pieces of boiled cod, boiled eggs and “correctly cooked” summer vegetables around a pungent aïoli. “Jonai Farms is nearby, too, so I can definitely imagine cooking big cuts of their pork to share, or serving it cold and thinly sliced with an anchovy sauce. I want to get an ice-cream machine to make the most of all the berries around here before the birds get them all – a nice blackberry sorbet, say.”


Ali Currey-Voumard's aioli
Ali Currey-Voumard’s aioli


Currey-Voumard and Mitchell-Court plan to open from early January, serving set menus in the hotel’s dining room Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then offering a shorter, more relaxed à la carte menu in the evenings. Temperance House is owned by Sally Roxon and Christian Gattermayr, the couple behind Austro bakery in South Melbourne, and under their care it has become a six-room boutique hotel with a handsome bar open for walk-ins. “Think hotel bar not pub bar,” says Currey-Voumard. “The kind of place where you can get a really good Martini.”

Evenings will be something along the line of “one hot dish, a really livery terrine, great local cheeses, a fresh tomato salad, that sort thing, and lots of wines and amari”. On the list, expect at least half the wine to come from Victorian producers, and the remainder to be from smaller producers. “It’s not going to be the biggest list in the world, so we want everything there to be farmed well and made with intention.”

The couple get the keys this Monday and hope to be open in early January. Their residency at the hotel will run through till Easter.

“It’s just good country cooking,” Currey-Voumard says, “accessible and as inexpensive as we can make it.” Amen.

A Table Bistro at Temperance House, lunch, dinner and drinks, Fri-Sun, from January 2024, 68 Mostyn St, Castlemaine, Vic, @atable_bistro