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Food

The taste of the Adelaide Hills

We traipsed around the Adelaide Hills to discover the most divine food offerings in this picturesque wine region.

Just 20 minutes drive from the centre of Adelaide you find yourself in the Adelaide Hills. The ascent from the city is 700 metres, making this a cool climate wine region boasting a range of award-winning wines such as Pinot NoirChardonnay and Sparkling, as well as elegant Shiraz, while it is arguably the home of Australian Sauvignon Blanc.

Alongside impressive wines, the Adelaide Hills has an array of sumptuous dining offerings. Here are some of the highlights recommended to me by locals during a recent trip to the region.

CRAFERS

Crafers Hotel one of the best in the Adelaide Hills

The first village you come to in the Hills along the M1 from Adelaide is Crafers, and it is where you'll find the recently renovated Crafers Hotel. Retaining the 1830s heritage of the original structure, it offers a pub feel with a contemporary dining experience with dishes like beouf bourguignon and duck confit sitting alongside gourmet burgers. There's a range of craft beers on tap, but it is the wine list, or more appropriately, the wine cellar, that is something to truly behold. With an extensive range of local wines and South Australian gems, there's also some hard-to-find wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. With boutique accommodation on site, you could be excused if you called in for lunch, but ended staying for the night.

Crafers Hotel, 8 Main st, Crafers.

Hardys Verandah Adelaide Hills Restaurant

Just up Mount Lofty Summit Road, is Mount Lofty House and the serious new addition to the Hills dining scene - Hardy's Verandah. A recent renovation has seen the long closed-in verandah opened up to become an exquisite dining space with breath-taking views across the Piccadilly Valley. The degustation menu from chef Wayne Brown is edgy and bold with a Japanese focus to local produce and a scintillating wine list curated by sommelier Patrick White.

Hardy's Verandah 74 Mount Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers.

SUMMERTOWN AND URAIDLA

Follow Mount Lofty Summit Road and just a few enjoyable twists and turns up the hill you'll find yourself a culinary world away from Crafers at the Summertown Aristologist. This much-talked about venue is the collaboration of Aaron Fenwick, the former general manager at Restaurant Orana and winemakers Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux) and Jasper Button (Commone of Buttons). Housed in a former butcher shop, the vibe embodies a communal epicurean feel. Produce is sought from the kitchen garden or the community of farmers, while artisan bread is baked on premise. There is no set menu as the chef of the day chooses from what's available, but think grazing plates such as buckwheat, kombu and beets or artichoke, whey and ricotta matched with natural wines sourced primarily from the nearby Basket Range sub-region. Friday, Saturday and Sundays for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Summertown Aristologist, 1097 Greenhill road, Summertown.

Taras Ochota Lost in a Forest Adelaide HillsKeep the communal vibe going and follow Greenhill Road down into Uraidla, where winemaker of the moment, Taras Ochota from Ochota Barrels, has teamed up with a couple of mates to open Lost in a Forest - a wood oven/wine lounge in the beautifully remodelled St Stephens Anglican Church. Marco Pierre White called these 'the best pizzas he's ever eaten' courtesy of chef Nick Filsell's intriguing offerings such as cider braised pulled pork pizza with pickled vegetables, mozzarella and pork crackle, topped with housemade sriracha mayo. The bar features wines from nine Basket Range producers, as well as a range of exotic spirits.

Lost in a Forest, 1203 Greenhill Rd, Uraidla.

STIRLING

If in Crafers you decided to get back on the M1 further into the Hills just a few minutes' drive you'll see the turn off for the impossibly beautiful town of Stirling. Its tree-lined main street features boutique shops and a number of cool eateries including The Locavore. As the name suggests, this intimate venue adheres to the 100 mile rule with all produce and wine sourced locally and used thoughtfully in Modern Australian tapas style offerings.

The Locavore, 49 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling.

Just down the road is the Stirling Hotel, a beautifully renovated pub with a fine dining bistro, grill and pizza bar. Not quite the level of a gastro pub, the food is wholesome and hearty with a substantial wine list. But the highlight is its Cellar & Patisserie. Located in separate premises behind the hotel, it serves a range of mouth-watering pastries, pies and breads and coffee from five different roasters.

Stirling Hotel, 52 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling.

BRIDGEWATER

Historic Bridgewater Mill

Just a few clicks up the M1 from Stirling (or along the more scenic route through Aldgate) you'll find an icon of the Adelaide Hills dining scene, the Bridgewater Mill. The former 1860s flour mill was turned into a fine dining restaurant in 1986 by wine industry legends Brian Croser and Len Evans. A few years ago, Seppeltsfield's Warren Randall bought the venue and gave it a major overhaul including a new wine bar and extending the outdoor deck. Local Hills chef Zac Ronayne delivers delicious seasonal offerings enjoyed by the fire in winter, or on the deck overlooking the huge working wheel in the summer.

Bridgewater Mill, 386 Mount Barker Rd, Bridgewater.

HAHNDORF

Seasonal Garden Cafe Hahndorf

The main strip of the historic village of Hahndorf is very touristy and you can find any number of German-inspired pubs where you can eat your weight in bratwurst, but there are two gems in Main Road as well. The Seasonal Garden Café celebrates local produce delivered as delicious wholesome meals such as salads, slow-roasted lamb as well as vegetarian options. Be sure to check out the delightful and relaxing kitchen garden out the back.

Seasonal Garden Cafe, 79 Main Rd, Hahndorf

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolate @ Number 5. Famed for its waffles and exotic hot chocolates, there's also a range of decadent desserts, chocolate truffles and pralines and coffee sourced from a small batch roastery.

Chocolate @ Number 5, 5 Main Rd, Hahndorf.

The Laney Vineyard Restaurant Hahndorf

Pay a visit to the iconic Beerenberg farm shop before taking the Balhannah Road north to the The Lane Vineyard and Restaurant, where you are greeted with sweeping views across the region. Chef James Brinklow has created delicious seasonal recipes and also offers the Lane Kitchen's Chef's Table experience - scores of dishes matched with wine across an indulgent three hour sitting.

The Lane Vineyard and Restaurant, 5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf.

WOODSIDE

Woodside Cheese wrights woodside

Woodside Cheese features on many menus around the Hills. Being so close, take the Onkaparinga Valley Road and see artisan cheesemaker Kris Lloyd, winner of over 100 awards, including a Super Gold at the 2016 World Cheese Awards for her Anthill - a fresh goat cheese encrusted with green ants - she's been experimenting with a variation that includes lemon myrtle, as well as doing the country's first raw milk cheese. An innovator in the industry, she is a must-visit in the Adelaide Hills.

Woodside Cheese Wrights, 22 Henry St, Woodside.

Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Restaurant

A bit further along Onkaparinga Valley Road you'll find Bird in Hand winery. Everything about this place is impressive. Picturesque vineyards, incredible artwork and a top class restaurant, The Gallery. Carlos Astudillo has recently taken over as Chef de Cuisine and has introduced a farm-to-table rotation of dishes with produce sourced directly from local growers and Bird in Hand's kitchen garden. Open every day for lunch, take on one of the two lunchtime dining experiences, Signature Flight, a share-style menu or the more immersive Joy Flight - an exciting seasonal culinary journey that unfolds over three delectable hours, best enjoyed with matching Bird in Hand wines, of course.

The Gallery, Corner of Bird in Hand & Pfeiffer Roads, Woodside.

Another winery with a stellar restaurant is Howard Vineyard just 10 minutes drive back up the hill to Narnie. MasterChef alumni Heather Day has taken over the reins at the recently renovated Clover Restaurant and she's serving up some of the exotic, fresh flavours of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and China. The venue hosts acoustic Sunday Sessions and the lush green lawn outside the cellar door is the perfect spot to soak up some cool musical vibes and feast on Heather's delicious Asian dishes.

Clover Restaurant, Howard Vineyard 53 Bald Hills Road, Nairne.

VERDUN

If you follow the signs from Woodside 
back to Adelaide, you'll pass through Verdun, where there are three final additions to your Hills culinary journey.

The Stanley Bridge Hotel is still an 'old school' pub, with a 1970s carpet and undulating floor. And that's its charm. With its cosy inside dining with dishes such as mushroom gnocchi and marinara linguine, it is finding favour with the hip crowds on the weekend who kick on out the back on the petanque rink and frequent the caravan-cum-bar.

Stanley Bridge Tavern 41 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

Only a couple of hundred metres up the road is the Walk the Talk Café. Housed in the old Verdun Post Office (locals still pop in to get their mail) chef/caterer Ali Seedsman and her partner Russell Marchant have opened a funky but unpretentious café. Ali's stellar pedigree (Bayswater Brasserie, Bathers Pavilion, Magill Estate) is evident on the menu - simple but sumptuous shared plates and housemade cakes and pastries.

Walk the Talk Café, 25 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

Still in Verdun, just before you get back on the M1 back to Adelaide, swing up the hill to Maximilian's, acknowledged as one of the best regional restaurants in the state. Casual shared plates, a la carte and chef's degustation journeys matched with wines from the on-site Sidewood Cellar Door. The venue also offers gorgeous views across the lake and vineyard.

Maximilian's Restaurant 15 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun.

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The Best McLaren Vale Wineries and Cellar Doors
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The Hugh Hamilton Wines cellar door is not to be missed during your next McLaren Vale visit. The unique setting, perched above the vines with near 270 degree views is remarkable, as is the passion for wine on show by the cellar door staff. There is a great range of wines available for tasting from their classic Shiraz through to the eclectic blends and new alternative varieties for which McLaren Vale is so famous. We recommend booking for one of the great hosted wine and cheese flights of their single vineyard wines. 94 McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Hugh Hamilton website Battle of Bosworth
This charming boutique cellar door is a must visit in the region, particularly so if you are curious about learning about  organic wines . Winemaker Joch Bosworth took the reins for the family business in 1995 and began the conversion to organic practices. There is a real pride in doing things the old-fashioned way, which comes through in the fantastic examples of Touriga Nacional, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cellar door is located just outside historic Willunga, in their restored 1850s stables, with views over the vineyards and west to St Vincent. 92 Gaffney Rd, Willunga –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Battle of Bosworth website D’Arenberg
d’Arenberg is an institution in McLaren Vale, with d’Arry Osborn and his chief winemaker son, Chester renowned for their fantastic Shiraz and Grenache. For now, the d’Arenberg cellar door is housed in their beautifully restored 19th-century homestead. In this charming setting, you can enjoy an extensive range of great wines, guided by their always entertaining cellar door staff. But not for long, soon the daring and ambitious ‘d’Arenberg Cube' will be complete. At the moment, it is more of a sight to behold, than the multi-venue cellar door it will become. But, if you’d like to keep an eye on its progress, you can watch one of their regular  construction time-lapses . Find out more about The Cube and d’Arenberg in our interview with  Chester here . Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the d’Arenberg website Gemtree Wines
Husband and wife , Mike and Melissa run  Gemtree Wines   with a simple philosophy – minimal intervention in the winemaking process and a more environmentally conscious farming system to produce wines which are powerful, concentrated, and expressive of the true characteristics of each grape variety and the region. This relaxed and simple outlook translates through to the cellar door experience on their outdoor verandah with views all the way to the sea. Here you learn more about  organic  and biodynamic farming practices while sampling their fantastic wines, or get adventurous and explore the 10 hectare wetland eco-trail. 167 Elliott Rd, McLaren Flat –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Gemtree website Leconfield Wines
Nestled amongst the vineyards with magnificent views to the Willunga escarpment, the  Leconfield  cellar door is the perfect place to sample Richard Hamilton’s Estate, Single Vineyard Reserve, and select Leconfield wines. With family owned vineyards in McLaren Vale, as well as the lovely vines surrounding their McLaren Vale cellar door, you are able to sample and appreciate the difference that the natural environment has on the wines. You can find out more about Chief Winemaker,  Paul Gordon’s process in our recent Q&A . With platters of local regional food on offer and sweeping lawns and verandahs, the Leconfield cellar door is a delightful stop during any visit to the area. 439 Main Rd, McLaren Vale –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Leconfield website Mr Riggs at the General Wine Bar
Part restaurant, part cellar door, this McLaren Vale institution is a collaboration with Zonte’s Footstep, another noted McLaren Vale winery. It is the perfect place to stop for lunch or Friday night dinner. There are fantastic wine flights on offer in which spectacular Mediterranean varieties, Shiraz, and whites are matched with morsels of contrasting and complementary dishes from Chef Ben Sommariva. Winemaker Ben Riggs is able to use his extensive contacts with growers to cherry pick fruit from McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, and other premium South Australian sites. This, combined with Ben's considerable European experience, is evident in every wine available for tasting. 55a Main Rd, McLaren Flat –  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Open Daily Sat-Thur 10 am to 5 pm, Fri 10 am to late Visit the Mr. Riggs website Oliver's Taranga
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Coriole is situated in the undulating hills of McLaren Vale, within sight of the sea. The small and boutique cellar door is found in the old ironstone barn built in 1860 and is surrounded by the Estate vineyards.  Coriole is famous for pioneering alternative varieties in the region, namely Sangiovese in 1985 and the release of Australia's first Fiano in 2005. Their diverse range includes Sangiovese, Barbera,, Fiano, Picpoul, Nero d’Avola through to exquisite examples of the classic varieties, Shiraz and Cab Sav. Chaffeys Rd, McLaren Vale -  view on our McLaren Vale winery map Mon – Fri 10 am to 5 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Coriole website Penny's Hill
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Pacific Reef Fisheries Best of the Best RAS President's Medal
Words by Words Ed Halmagyi on 12 Jan 2017
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The Top 5 BYO Restaurants in Sydney
Words by Ben Hallinan & Patrick Haddock on 27 Mar 2017
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Possibly the cheapest yet well loved BYO in Sydney where industry folk pair Grand Cru Burgundy with pizza. Recommended Wine: When thinking of Italian food and wine, always consider ‘what grows together, goes together’. That means  Sangiovese ,  Nebbiolo , Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola for reds and  Vermentino , Fiano or  Pinot Grigio  for whites. Corkage: $2.50 per person 135 Crown St, Darlinghurst Visit Bar Reggio website ONE PENNY RED
Offers superb modern Australian food, and once a month they tailor a four-course dinner to match wines from your cellar. Recommended Wine: A savoury  Tempranillo  would be a good choice. But, just bring that special bottle you’ve been saving and see what the chefs come up with. Corkage: $80 per person inclusive of BYO and 4 course custom menu. Minimum 4 people. Last Tuesday of every month. Bookings essential 2 Moonbie St, Summer Hill Find out more about the One Penny Red raid your cellar door dinners
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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