This wood oven wine bar in the Adelaide Hills is so cute it rivals Prince George. Found in the gorgeous, little (and little-known) town of Uraidla, Lost in a Forest makes it worth travelling all the way into the Hills for pizza.
Since opening in January 2017, there’s been much fuss made about Lost in a Forest. So, on a recent Adelaide trip to see the fam, I was excited to see what all the noise was about.
A pizzeria in a church
Three blokes – Adelaide Hills winemaker Taras Ochota, designer Charlie Lawrence and chef Nick Filsell (from Jamie’s Italian and Red Ochre Grill) – have teamed up and turned Uraidla’s old St Stephens Anglican Church into a place to worship the art of pizza-making. And worship you will.
The 130-year old church has a new lease on life. The stained glass windows and peaked wood-panelled ceiling may still be here, and the building definitely still looks like a church from the outside. But inside, the space is modern, the wood oven now stands where the alter once was and a collection of tables have replaced the pews.
An Adelaide Hills adventure
Lost in a Forest is only 25 minutes from the Adelaide city centre, straight up Greenhill Road. This sounds like a straightforward drive but it’s anything but straight. By the time my friend Shanna and I arrived, winding our way through the Hills in the dark, we indeed felt lost in a forest.
Generally, I love driving through the Adelaide Hills. The scenery is spectacular and I feel like Jeremy Clarkson. But, at night, I seem to transform into a 78-year-old lady who’s chin may or may not be grazing the steering wheel. This is what happened the night we visited.
Then to make it a real Adelaide Hills adventure, I had a friend join us for the ride home. Pity I hate Huntsmans more than I hate babysitting a football team of children. (Note: the moral of this story is if you’re abnormally terrified of spiders, like I am, don’t park near any trees).
Pizza from another planet
Lost in a Forest’s lunch and dinner menu is exclusively pizza. No starters in sight (except for the free olives plonked appreciatively on the table). Personally, I’m not normally a huge pizza groupie, but by the time we left Lost in a Forest, I’d indeed converted to the religion of margarita.
Lucky the pizza was totally worth our brush with death.
The pizza here is gooood. Everything is organic and full of flavour, with ingredients coming from Ochota’s home garden and the herbs are grown on-site. The flavour combos are unlike anything you’d find at your local pizzeria. Your traditional ham and pineapple is replaced with a ‘swinapple’ variation, using wood roasted pineapple and sweet roasted bacon. Then there’s the banh mi pizza of 12-hour cider braised pork, mozzarella, pickled vegetables, coriander, pork crackling and sriracha mayo. And, you can’t forget the breakfast pizzas served between 8–11am on the weekends.
We shared an ‘ol smoky and it was just divine. The perfectly thin and crispy base was topped with chipotle passata, smoked prosciutto, crazy smoked cheddar (in their words), mozzarella (because one kind of cheese is never enough) and salsa verde. Yum, yum, yum.
But, it was the dessert pizza that stole the show. Roasted brown sugar and strawberries, finished with cinnamon vanilla cream and mint from the garden – an absolute dream boat! If the idea of a non-savoury pizza sounds horrifying, there’s also housemade gelato for dessert, coming in all kinds of flavours and made using organic Adelaide Hills ingredients.
The wines at this self-proclaimed wine bar don’t disappoint either. There’s plenty of biodynamic wines to choose from, along with a lot of unknowns from the nearby Basket Range area, many from the Adelaide Hills more broadly and Ochota’s own experimental wines from his label Ochoto Barrels. If that doesn’t please your palate, there’s also a selection of spirits, beers and local ciders.
Lost in a Forest is…
Imagine attending a dinner party at that really cool friend of yours. The one who listens to vinyl and brews their own beer. They probably play guitar, have a beard and are amazing in the kitchen. That’s what dining at Lost in a Forest feels like.
The small 48 pax restaurant is intimate, fun and inviting. And ridiculously cheap (in my book). Our bill came to $50 for two bloody good pizzas, two equally good glasses of wine and a pot of tea. Clearly Lost in a Forest is worth making the trek to Uraidla for. The night I visited, the place was heaving, which was shocking given how cold and wet it was. I’m convinced, Lost in a Forest deserves its cult following.
Lost in a Forest | 1203 Greenhill Road, Uraidla, South Australia
Phone: (08) 8390 3444