Añada Bar and Restaurant opened its doors in February 2008 with Jesse and Vanessa Gerner at the helm. Largely influenced by their travels throughout Europe and North Africa, the culinary couple set up shop on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy to serve a tapas menu largely influenced by the peasant food of Andalusia, Southern Spain and the flavours of the Muslim Mediterranean.
In the years since its opening, Añada has grown to be known as a neighbourhood staple, offering a menu that pairs authentic Spanish foods with an extensive wine and sherry list. The warm, intimate atmosphere is complemented by knowledgeable, friendly service.
Jesse & Vanessa Gerner, Founders
A regular visitor to Spain, Jesse has cooked in some of its finest restaurants. Whether cooking alongside the chef at Barcelona’s Michelin-starred wine bar Monvinic or celebrating 150 years of culinary heritage with the ancient Mutriku Gastronomic Society near San Sebastian, Jesse has honed his Spanish cooking techniques from the best chefs in Spain.
The couple’s hands-on approach to all of their businesses means their influence extends from the kitchen to the floor to the décor of each of their restaurants. They highly value green efforts and community outreach, and champion local farmers, producers and provideurs as often as possible.
MARIA KABAL, CHEF
Maria Kabal is a Melbourne-based chef who promotes the use of quality ingredients from small, local farmers and utilises rare and interesting meats and offal to add flavour and texture to her peasant fare cooking style. As head chef at Añada, she adds a modern, artistic styling to traditional Spanish fare.
Maria grew up in Estonia with a family that emphasised travel and cooking, sparking her interest in culinary arts from a young age. “I think my food is really inspired by the part of world I come from,” Maria says. “I’m from the northeastern part of Europe, which means I’ve got a wonderful mix of influences. My cooking is really about simple peasant style cooking and making something out of nothing. The added influence of clean Scandinavian flavours and plating allows me to bring in some creativity.”
A fierce advocate for women in the culinary scene, Maria runs an all-female kitchen at Añada and looks forward to taking the restaurant into its tenth year of business.