The Summertown Aristologist

On the face of it, The Summertown Aristologist is a restaurant that acts as a bit of a cellar door for owners Anton Von Klopper (Lucy Margaux) and Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons). But it’s a lot more than that. A whole lot more. Von Klopper sat on the lease of an old shop on Greenhhill Road for four years, until his ideas cohered, and the right partners revealed themselves. Button and former Orana manager Aaron Fenwick eventually joined Von Klopper as owners, while chef Oliver Edwards took up the pans when the concept sharpened into focus.

What makes The Summertown Aristologist so unique is the depth of commitment to its core principles. Principles that appear uneconomic in the extreme. But making big dollars was never the aim here, far from it. Every single decision is based around balance, around harmony, around the handcrafted over the mass produced. One need only look at the fittings, fixtures and flatware to see the level of bespoke detail. This philosophy floods through every aspect of the business, with the restaurant only open three days a week, both to provide genuine work/life balance, as well as allowing time to carefully tend and rear produce on a micro-level to supply the restaurant, with the aim of one day being self-sufficient.

This balance is seen again in the ever-evolving menu, with a strong focus on vegetables, supported by some sustainable seafood and ethically reared meat. All produce is organic, with local farmers supplementing what they don’t farm themselves. Everything else is made in-house, from salumi and charcuterie to butter to bread to… well, plenty of wine. And while Von Klopper and Button’s wines are all on offer, they occupy a fraction of the 450-odd list, which captures the best of like-minded producers of the Adelaide Hills, as well as those from around the world.

There’s no mistaking the wine philosophy here, with the selection following on from Von Klopper and Button’s own practices. But, just in case there’s and doubt: “Winemakers committed to 100% organic fruit, producing wine without filtering, fining or heat treatment and minimal sulphur additions (<20ppm) and preferably none – ‘vin nature’.” Whether or not The Summertown Aristologist can shift the culture of how restaurants operate or not (a stated aim) is yet to be seen, but it shimmers as a very real platonic ideal of what a restaurant can be.

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