about-the-region-heading

South Australia’s Limestone Coast is one of Australia’s most productive agricultural regions.

At its heart is Coonawarra, one of the country’s smallest, oldest and finest wine regions.

This is the home of Penola’s Royal Oak Hotel, and the region from which its food, wine and hospitality are drawn.

Since its establishment in 1848, the Royal Oak has been an integral hub of this farming community. A good country pub is invariably a place to catch up with friends, dine, have a yarn with a local or simply rest after a long journey with a cold beer or wine.

Our Team

Publicans - John Rymill & Mary Harvey

John Rymill’s family have farmed around Penola since John Riddoch arrived in 1861. Riddoch founded the Coonawarra wine region in the Royal Oak Hotel in 1890, and his descendants have been involved in farming and viticulture ever since.

John Rymill managed his family’s grazing business, and subsequently the wine business, taking on the Royal Oak Hotel in 2018 with his partner Mary Harvey. His strong links with the region’s farming and viticultural families underpins his desire to share the remarkable produce of this region with locals and visitors.

Executive Chef - Kirby Shearing

Born and raised in regional South Australia, Kirby honed his craft at the renowned Windy Point Restaurant in Adelaide. Having qualified at just 19 years of age, he set off to see the world, working in restaurants in England, New Zealand, Melbourne and country Victoria.

Kirby settled in the Limestone Coast and worked with nationally acclaimed wagyu producer Mayura Station to establish their on-site restaurant, The Tasting Room. 

Armed with a thirst to further utilise and promote our region’s amazing produce, he and his wife Biddie established Soul Projects which has allowed Kirby to cater for many esteemed guests and work in some beautiful locations.

His locavorian lifestyle shows through our seasonal menus, and has influenced many who have worked with him.

Kirby Shearing - Head Chef

Experience Coordinator - Jess Teakle

After training at Regency TAFE in Adelaide, Jess worked at the Hilton Adelaide and moved on to manage a Funk Coffee & Food venue.

Returning to her home on the Limestone Coast, Jess has found her way to the Royal Oak where she brings a professional front of house to our country hospitality.

Jess loves welcoming visitors and locals to the Royal Oak and organises our events. She is the main contact for anyone wishing to organise a function at the pub, or off site with our sister catering company, Soul Projects.   

Get in touch with her on 08 8737 2322 or feed@royaloakpenola.pub with any queries (beware, unpredictable hospitality hours apply to Jess’s work week so she may not be in the office when you are!)

Bottleshop - Barry Dixon

Bomber has been a fixture at the ROAK Bottleshop for nearly 30 years. You know you’re a local when Bomber has your regular order waiting on the counter before your car has even stopped in the drive thru! Beware though, Barry is often up for a yarn and the express lane only entitles you to a short chat!

Producers

These are some of the wonderful Limestone Coast farmers and suppliers we love to source produce from when seasonal conditions permit.

Drop us a line if you know of someone we should work with.

Wonderful Limestone Coast farmers and suppliers