Foodies in Katherine can rejoice as the town welcomes native tucker-inspired sit-down dining restaurant Kumbidgee back into business.
For new residents, the restaurant becomes an exciting and unique option for a Katherine economy suffering from business closures even before COVID-19.
With tables set in front of a water-lily rimmed dam, the restaurant is unlike anything else in town as modern Australian fine-dining meets native and Indigenous influences.
Nowhere else can guests can enjoy 'Crocodile Dumplings' or 'Kangaroo San Choy Bau' with a 'Davidson Plum Whiskey Sour' or 'Lemon Myrtle Gin Fizz'.
Yet for Katherine's elder stalwarts, it is a nostalgic return to one of Katherine's favourite eateries from the late 90's.
Originally started by Carmel and Alf Walley in 1995, it had been shut for 11 years until the location drew the attention of Carolyn Grace and Chris McManus.
Ms Grace said there were plenty of fond memories from locals at their recent launch party.
"We've been coming up seasonally for quite some time to work and spend time with our daughter," she said.
"We often stayed about four doors further down from this place, so we became aware of the history by speaking with people.
"We worked at Nitmiluk one year, at the 'Big Fig' another and then I also worked at what is now the Katherine Holiday Park.
"We were running a Bistro in Penrith at the time but thought why not, why don't we try open this place back up?"
"It took us about a year and a half to purchase the place, but we realised how many people still recognised the place so we kept the name and everything.
"The people who came to the opening, they were all long-term locals who knew this place back in the day so it was special to hear their stories.
"People have come here as kids, others have been married here which show the history of this place," Ms Grace said.
Both have a long background in the industry, with Chris a head chef for 40-plus years focused on fine dining and Carolyn moving into hospitality management roles since 2004.
They now live on the same property where the restaurant is located, and Ms Grace says becoming a permanent resident of Katherine was the culmination of many years' enjoyed visits.
"We're aware of the community which we're coming into so we're mindful not to step on the toes of other businesses," Mr McManus said.
"There's already a number of excellent businesses doing external catering services here so we won't be stepping into that space.
"We can of course host functions or weddings here in front of the dam, we've been blessed by all kinds of birds here and we've even got some freshwater crocs on order to put in.
"We will be changing our menu around regularly to keep things fresh, and running a breakfast service as well on a Sunday," he said.
The restaurant is open 5:30-9pm Wednesday through Sunday, with additional breakfast 8-10am and lunch 12-2pm services on Sunday as well.
It is essential to book for dinner service in particular, and bookings can be made at 0477 230 604.
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