Fairy tale dining inside a 150-year-old fig tree on Kangaroo Island

By David Russell

Truly unique dining experiences are hard to come by, but two Kangaroo Island women have come up with one so good it’s sure to lure visitors across the straight from the mainland to give it a go.

The Enchanted Fig Tree, nestled in the dunes at remote Snellings Beach on the island’s north coast, invites guests under the drooping canopy of a 150-year-old fig tree to feast on the best Kangaroo Island seafood and locally-grown produce.

The team behind the pop-up restaurant – Rachel Hannaford and Sasha Sachs – say the Fig Tree has to be seen to be believed.

“(The tree) is on our property… about 100 metres from Snellings Beach… so the location is spectacular – its one of the most stunning beaches anywhere,” said co-owner and chef Rachel Hannaford.

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“The tree itself… you wont find anything like it in the world. We can seat 30 to 40 people in the tree, and there are five ‘rooms’, so people can come and have their private spaces among the leaves and boughs of the tree.

“From the outside of the tree you can’t see anyone in the tree… it’s all under a great big, huge canopy.”

Sasha, who takes care of operations (and desserts), said The Enchanted Fig Tree was one of three special venues the pair operate.

“We do a lot of weddings and cater to special requests, but we’re really starting to focus on special events,” she said.

“We have three venues here, the Fig Tree, the Shearing Shed and the Beach Taverna.

“We specialise is using all local produce… we hope to appeal to locals and tourists.”

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Guests can expect a Greek-inspired degustation, with plenty of seafood that varies depending on what is available and fresh on any given day.

“We use a lot of fish – we’re right on the ocean where we are,” said chef Rachel, “Plus our family has this 150-year-old fig tree and an orchard, so for our desserts we use figs and mulberries.”

True-to-theme, the kitchen that services the Fig Tree is in, you guessed it, another tree, connected to the dining area by a kind of tunnel. Bad weather isn’t much of a concern; the tree’s canopy is so thick only a serious downpour can penetrate through to the seating area, in which case the almost-as-picturesque Shearing Shed is just a short walk away.

The Enchanted Fig Tree degustation costs $88 and includes nine dishes over four courses. It launches 1 December and runs until the leaves drop (probably late March).

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