I have long heard of this place and finally got to try it a few months back. Don’t ask me why I’ve taken this long, clearly I eat more than I write! It was a birthday that brought us to the famous award winning d’Arry’s Verandah in McLaren Vale. This is a place you need to book weeks in advance to secure a table and on this occasion we had a lovely table by the windows for our party of eight to enjoy a long summer’s luncheon. I was very excited about the menu. Needless to say d’Arenberg winery produces some lovely wine but alcohol is not my friend and so we don’t play together. I’m all about the food baby!
Our long lunch began with indecision over what to order, everything sounded delicious and we know it’s fresh local produce and high quality. Tactical strike operation discussions were initiated between me and Mr. Foodie and here’s what we ended up with.
Beef Tartare with Paprika Pincate & Raw Egg Yolk, White Anchovy & Parsley Salad – $25
We have always wanted to try beef tartare and found it hard to trust just anyone making it but if we were to try it, this place would make a good one and boy was it good. After the first bite we forgotten the whole fact that it was raw. The anchovy and parsley salad complemented it really well while the beef was well seasoned, tender and flavoursome.Absolutely delicious.
Lobster Medallion with Blue Swimmer Crab and Prawn Ravioli in Lobster Bisque $30
Fancy lunch so I had to order the lobster. After all, I love shellfish and who could resist lobster and crab. I was a little bit weary at first of the bisque being too “fishy” but by golly this dish was magnificent. Hands down one of my favourite entrees of all time. Seafood was fresh, the lobster medallion was cooked perfectly, ravioli was al dente and tasted superb with a bit of sweetness from the prawn and crab filling. The lobster bisque itself was divine, flavoursome and a perfect match, it definitely wasn’t overpowering.
After the scrumptious entrees we excitedly anticipated our mains. Presentation of all their dishes certainly made them pretty appetizing.
Inman Valley Chicken Rolled with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme with Herbed Spinach Sauce and Stilton Twists $34
Using local free range produce has always been a plus point to us and the freshness and flavour definitely shows. The chicken was cooked perfectly, a bit crispy on the outside yet still moist and tender. Spinach sauce sounded interesting but it went really well with the chicken. Stilton twist was a lovely addition for a bit of crunchy cheesy bite.
Beef Fillet Steak with Potato Dauphinoise, Parsnip Puree and Peppercorn Jus $37
I stole a shot of this dish from my dinner table neighbour who said the beef was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. Classic done really well with quality ingredients.
Duck leg a l’orange with seared duck breast, citrus coriander salad and pan crisped rice cake $37.
Now this dish just screams Ling! I love duck, but most people screw it up. This duck l’orange was superb. The duck was tender and cooked perfectly (not dry like a lot of places). I loved the aroma and flavour of sweet orange and citrus, it was a good match with good flavour balance. The citrus coriander salad was not overpowering at all, then again I do love coriander very much (have you seen my coriander ‘bush’ in the garden?).
Alas, it is only lunch time and our bellies are filled to the neck so we unfortunately had to forgo dessert. I want very much to come back for another special occasion. We finished off with coffees and tea and I ordered peppermint tea to calm the rich foods dancing around in my stomach. When my glass arrived it came with a little glass of sugar crystals for me to add to my tea and underneath was a bit of advertising for d’Arenberg’s Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon.
What a lovely way to celebrate a birthday, a beautiful location with breathtaking views, great selection of wine and fantastic food. I can definitely see what the fuss is all the about, it is worth booking in advance for. They open Monday to Sunday for lunches only.