Otis! What a croc! NYC, 30.07.17
A thick-skinned feast of American eating and Australian drinking.
Just like alligators and crocodiles, these two cultures share so much yet are completely different beasts. What a Croc! will dredge up from murky waters unique cultural tidbits which are palatably, audibly and visually crucial to each country. A mouthful of culture shock which highlights both the differences and the similarities of how we dine.
Just alike these prehistoric reptiles the dichotomy may not always be so stark; yet through thoughtful pairings, strategic presentation and frivolous dialog we hope to see each country’s toothy idiosyncrasies (for better or for worse). The event will present a wide stream of considered food, wine and installation destined to stimulate engaged chomping.
What to expect
The Otis Armada team prides itself on approaching a feast in no style but it’s own. Experiences which are to be as gratifying to the eyes and ears as they are to the palate. Over the course of a few hours a parade of curated food, wine and art will be served. Otis Armada salutes communal eating so it is likely you will meet some other reptiles you ought to revel with. All will sit together and be served at once. Before and in-between the 4 courses will be some small snacks keeping everyone hooked. Beverage will be paired and praised with each plate. You won’t leave hungry, you won’t leave empty handed and we advise you don’t drive or swim.
Featuring the chefs of North Brooklyn Farms, Kenneth Monroe and Emma Jane Gonzalez. The majority of the produce used will be grown on site or sourced from nearby.
Are there real gators' involved?
Visually perhaps, but physically, no... By using the comparison of two similar, yet disparate beasts we hope move through many unconsidered cultural duets. Whether it’s the milk-bar meets the bodega, the pumpkin pie versus the meat pie or the sausage roll aside a hotdog; our cultures dip in and out of being related and then being totally estranged. We wish to look at cultural artifacts (edible or otherwise) which are dear to each culture; not so much as to mix them together but to herald each a in a new light.
Only with prior notice can specific allergies and dietary concerns can be accommodated for.
Otis Armada was conceived in 2014 by a group of Melbourne based stomachs who are committed to exploring, re-contextualising and celebrating the ritualistic aspects of communal dining. Pairing thoughtfully curated food, wine, music and installation art together, Otis Armada creates bootleg dining experiences which honor engaging service, artistic collaboration and most of all creative eating.
What is Otis Armada
With any Otis Armada event we strive to be the antidote to rigid hospitality; which despite its intentions, restricts the unpredictable nature of a good feast with friends. Our events aim to give rise to an inspection of food that ultimately lets people feel confident to embrace the new. Whether that's a new location, a new cuisine or a new approach; at Otis we believe no food is sacred and that communal eating is the perfect battleground for pushing important ideas.
With each Otis Armada event there is a theme that envelopes the entire feast. Pricking each sense, all elements engage a concept far beyond standard hospitality. Whether it’s an architectural movement or a specific animal, we look everywhere but the restaurant for inspiration.
Previous project partners
Brooks & Amos
COCO and MAXIMILIAN
The Creators Project
Hunted + Gathered
Open House Melbourne
For the bloody minded
Otis. Brutal. channeled the Brutalist’s triumphant indifference to commonality. A deliberate ousting from conventional ideas of beauty. Brutalism has always sparked vehement debate about the necessity and/or irrelevance of aesthetics. A debate which Otis Armada was determined to bring back to the surface. Otis.Brutal. reclaimed the core elements of food, art, wine and music by avoiding superficiality – honing in on elements that happily triumphed in discordance with the norm. Over six carefully curated sittings the Brutalists delivered a raw barrage of gratifying food, art, music and wine.
Guests were led from the street through the Brutalist facade of the venue to a vacant textile factory where the brutalist fare ensued. Once seated in immovably solid rows, guests were presented with a standard issue prison tray for their first course: cold cut meats, sloe berry jam, cultured butter and grilled chicken hearts served alongside handmade dry crackers. The courses that followed showcased Chef Ali Currey-Voumard's(The Agrarian Kitchen) brutal expression of local produce paired with an entirely organic natural wine list written and beaconed by Campbell Burton. The result was a culinary fare that both challenged the norm of dainty food delivery whilst comforting diners with relatable and traversable flavours.
From the wearable napkins to the synchronised service, a comfortable control was imposed throughout the feast. A Brutalist's utopia allowed people to learn about Brutalism and engage with dining in a completely new way. Otis.Brutal. deprived guests of non-essential niceties, heightening their appreciation for the basics and arresting their attention. Function was everything – durable tarp aprons designed for Freitag, heavy duty tables and chairs designed for the event and a menu which listed every single ingredient. Each guest received forged steel knives specifically created for the pork course which was carved in the center of the space for immediate dispatch. Throughout the sittings a generous barrage of unfussy food and wine ensued, whilst bespoke soundtracks matched the meat.
122 Roseneath Street, Clifton Hill
5 courses + snacks + beverages
6 x sold out sittings of 50
Hors d’oeuvres: Alex Albrecht/ Julian Cairns
Bread service: A.r.t. Wilson
Wet course: Francis Inferno Orchestra
The Pig: Tamil Rogeon / Otis Armada
Cheese / Pudding: Elliot Munn & Gregor
Otis Brutal playlist
Campaign photography: Phebe Schmidt
Event photography: Ben Clement, Nadeemy Beetros
Event film documentation: Caity Shannon, Freya Esders
Identity: Lloyd Mst
Wearable napkins: Macmillian-Yenn
Apron design: PSP
Take-home knife: PSP & John Hall
Coding: Sam Hains
Play With your food
Otis Spring celebrated the most affable aspects of both childhood and adulthood. Held in a light-filled small-goods factory, the OA team served up an open-ended banquet of joyous offerings centered around a four course feast created by Clayton Wells (Automata, Momofuku Seibo). Wells delivered a menu which like the feast, was hard to pigeon hole yet vivid in colour and playful in flavour. Fermented cherries, Hapuka under a blanket of seaweed, clear pork broth live with edible flowers. Each sitting saw a most artful mix of snacks such as salt and vinegar fish skins, eccentric wines poured by our frivolous booze teachers and a live mixed soundtracks we are still listening to.
The underlying theme of Otis Spring ‘Play with your food’ sought to channel those all-too-often suppressed urges of mess-making and childhood play. Custom built communal tables lined with sketch paper and wonky ceramic cups evoked feelings of being at the kid’s table, whilst guest wine guy Ned Brooks (Moonpark, Brooks and Amos) embraced adulthood as he free poured a selection of small-batch beverages, scrawling their names largely onto the tables with hand gripped crayons.
At the end of lunch, guests were invited to sip on a digestive tonic inside the industrial refrigerator room that housed an installation of six films by COCO and MAXIMILIAN. Otis Armada Spring was a true slew of edible and interactive art. An afternoon of sophisticated springtime flavours, childhood nostalgia and most of all a triumphant tabletop mess.
68 Gwynne St, Cremorne
5 course + snacks + beverages
3 x sittings of 40
The first feast
The Winter of 2014 saw Otis Armada give birth to the first in a series of seasonal bootleg dining experiences in Melbourne. To fight the cold this event channeled feelings of bacchanalian gatherings, Rothschild’s surrealist dinner parties and gluttony. Over two nights in July, the Otis Armada team served up a brilliant composition of considered music, small batch wines, installation art and a ten-course winter feast that encapsulated all the warmth and amity of the season.
The dinners were held in a retired motorcycle workshop in Carlton where guests gorged communally under the ambience of a six-meter long hand stitched tent. Each course was delivered in unison to pieces of specifically composed music reflecting the dish’s produce and temperament. As a the duck left the pass and flew onto the floor, a crescendoe of duck noises arrested our guests before drifting off into their subconscious.
The creative team worked closely with head chef Ali Currey-Voumard (The Agrarian Kitchen), Moon Under Water) and Pete Cooksley (Embla, Supernormal) to fortify aspects of the Macabre style menu. For example, two hundred resin cast bullion bricks in hues of duck blood sauce were created. Each guest left the event with a unique red bullion embossed with 'Otis Armada' making the main course of ten-day-aged-duck and steel cut oats a centrepiece not to forget.
4 x sittings of 30