Richard Moffatt of Pastorale restaurant is set to host Wagga Wagga’s largest outdoor dinner party under the stars on the iconic Wollundry Lagoon Bridge.
The 200-person, four-course, set-menu Pastorale Dinner Party will be held on Friday, 27 October, at 5 pm on Wollundry Lagoon Bridge in Fitzmaurice Street.
The team at Pastorale is set to close the entire bridge and design an outdoor kitchen for the dinner party, allowing the guests to experience the cooking process.
“The concept behind [Pastorale Dinner Party] is to showcase our regional produce and promote the city better as a foodie destination,” Richard said.
“The area has delicious produce, but when Sydney and Melbourne people are looking for regional trips away on the weekend, they’re not thinking Wagga.
“They’re going to Orange, Bowral or Beechworth. People don’t tend to come to Wagga for foodie trips or even leisure. Wagga relies on corporate travellers.”
Through his dinner party, Richard is determined to change how visitors see Wagga.
“We’re using all the regional supplies – salami from Griffith, olives from Wagga, Coolamon Cheese, Junee Lamb, Trail Street coffee, Riverina Gin, Borombola Wine and CSU Wines,” he said.
“We just want to have one big dinner party that uses everything from the region but match it with Pastorale’s style of fine dining and service and have it in one of the most picturesque locations … have a cool party and showcase the region.”
Richard has been planning his dinner party for the past 18 months.
“I’ve had the same team with me now since we opened the business. We’re a strong little unit and finally got the skill set to pull something like this off,” he said.
“Doing a standalone restaurant, taking it off-site into the middle of the CBD, is a lot of work. We’ve had to work with road closures, Wagga Wagga City Council (WWCC), liquor licensing and Destination NSW.
“Our business has always been passionate about trying to better Wagga Wagga.”
Depending on the success of the dinner party, Richard hopes to host a yearly event.
“Council [WWCC] has been extremely supportive of the concept and has been backed by them,” he said.
“Both our ways of thinking is that it is something we should be doing every single year.”
When Richard approached all the regional producers, he did not ”ask for any discount” and purchased their product at full price in an effort to support them (farmers and producers).
The restaurateur said it was vital for Wagga to up its game when it came to tourism.
“We have a huge untapped market for tourism and leisure travel,” he said.
“We need to lift our game with high-end professional hospitality offerings within the city.
“Wagga does really good pubs and family restaurants, but if we want people to come from the cities, they’re expecting a certain calibre of hospitality venues and events … and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Pastorale Dinner Party will be held at the Wollundry Lagoon Bridge on 27 October at 5 pm. Click here to book. Ticket sales close on 15 October.