South Australia’s regions are scattered with new must-visit dining destinations that match the state’s amazing produce, natural beauty and wildlife as attractions for those one-day and weekend getaways.
The rise in the number of quality regional dining destinations is proof that the state’s epicurean resurgence isn’t restricted to Adelaide’s CBD and its surrounds. Luxe and special occasion rural dining restaurants have emerged all over the state to accompany acclaimed regional delights such as Hentley Farm, The Salopian Inn, Fino, Appellation and Star of Greece.
What’s intriguing about many of these new destinations is that they are fine or casual fine dining establishments. As Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, St Hugo and the soon-to-be completed d’Arenberg’s Cube are perfect destinations for those special weekend trips. The emergence of these new destinations mean that you don’t have to drive interstate to a region such as Victoria’s Daylesford to experience a cluster of fine-dining establishments, they are just a short drive away in the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley.
Cool contemporary design is perfectly juxtaposed with warm heritage at St Hugo, the restaurant and wine lounge which opened with a bang in 2016. Pernod Ricard’s South Australian base of luxurious wining and dining was, until a few years ago, the home of Grant Burge and has been transformed into one of the most spectacular South Australian gastronomic destinations thanks to Barossa’s JBG Architects and Adelaide’s Studio Gram.
Perched in the middle of spectacular looking vineyards in Rowland Flat, St Hugo houses a restaurant and wine lounge with the slick fitout recently earning a commendation at the Australian Architect Awards (SA). Head chef is Mark McNamara, a Barossa local for a quarter of a century who was previously in charge of the kitchen at Appellation. His four course ($120) and eight course ($220) menus include St Hugo’s wine as part of the experience with McNamara basing all his dishes around the stable of wines. Also available is the four-hour chef’s table experience which is $300 per person (with wine) for a minimum of six people.
Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat
In the beautiful Mount Lofty House, Hardy’s Verandah brings fine-dining to the Adelaide Hills. The iconic 165-year-old Adelaide Hills property has been rejuvenated with six-star accommodation coming to complement the new-ish fine dining restaurant that opened with much fanfare in February.
With executive chef Wayne Brown recruited from Sake in Double Bay, the chef brings experience from many years working in Asia as well as time spent in iconic Sydney restaurants Quay and Tetsuya’s and Brisbane’s Urbane. With its ‘valley to verandah’ ethos, Brown’s menu showcases his French training and experience in Japanese kitchens with the short story ($109 or $179 with matched wines) or full story ($160 or $280 with matched wines) menus. Both menus showcase the Hills with many of the ingredients grown or foraged from the property and its surrounds.
Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant
74 Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers
Winemaker Chester Osborn’s dream will soon become a reality as the soon-to-be-completed d’Arenberg Cube is set to be an iconic landmark when it opens late in 2017. The five-storey multi-purpose building, situated in the middle of Mourvèdre vineyards in the McLaren Vale, isn’t a building that merges in surreptitiously with its surrounds; it sticks out like one of Osborn’s colourful shirts.
The Cube, which has got the wine world talking, will include a luxury restaurant which d’Arenberg says will “challenge convention”. The husband and wife team of Brendan Wessels (formerly of Leonards Mill and the Lake House) and Lindsay Durr will be in charge of the kitchen and will aim to create individual experiences for each diner that aims to engage the guests’ imagination as well as amuse and delight them.
Osborn Road, McLaren Vale
This article is drawn from the 2017 edition of LUXURY. Click here to read the full edition of LUXURY online.