With 2 English friends flying over to visit from Melbourne for the weekend my key objective was to show them some of South Australia’s (if not Australia’s) finest wine and where better to do this than the Barossa. It was recommended that we stay at The Lyndoch Hill Retreat which only left the question of where to eat? As I had eaten at Appellation (The Louise) before, my other option was ‘1918’ in Tanunda. Due to the sheer distance to Tanunda, lack of taxis in the Barossa and the fact that we were looking to sample some of the wines we decided on staying within the confines of our accommodation and booked a table at the Lyndoch Hill Restaurant.
After visiting a number of the world class wineries throughout the Barossa we freshened up and meandered across to the restaurant with our pick of the day’s wine tasting in hand. We were greeted warmly by our waitress Shae and showed to our table in the middle of the wooden domed restaurant. We had brought 1 bottle of white wine and 2 bottles of red and we politely asked to start with the Rockford’s Semillon (white) and have the Rockford’s Frugal Farmer and Charles Melton Nine Popes decanted, to which we received a glowing positive response and prompt service.
As we had eaten minimally during the course of the day, we were absolutely famished and were keen to devour some scrumptious food. We were delivered some bread with the ever so common oil and balsamic accompaniment to nibble while examining the menu. As an avid oyster lover, I decided to try some of the Coffin Bay oven-baked oysters with garlic butter topped with Carême puff pastry for a starting stomach liner. Also being a fussy Virgo, I asked Shae if they were fresh as I refuse to eat frozen or jarred oysters, which to my delight she replied affirmatively with the knowledge of the delivery date and age. I must say I was a little bewildered when I initially saw them, but the first mouthful confirmed my affection for another subtle alternative; each was like eating an individual garlic oyster pie.
For entree we ordered the following:
Helen: Sautéed scallops, pea puree, parmesan mousse, crisp prosciutto.
Amanda: Baked homemade beef cheek pie with pea puree, beef jus.
Myself: Duck galette, rice cake, pickled ginger, fig jam, parsley, coriander salad.
The serves were a good portion size with the beef cheek pie almost being a little too generous for that of an entree, especially with the doughy outer casing. The scallops were elegantly presented as a trio on a slate board and cooked to perfection. Unfortunately my duck galettes were far too salty and a little over cooked, which dried them out to a stringy consistency. The accompaniments didn’t balance the saltiness, as something more earthy and light may have stabilised the over seasoning, but it certainly didn’t stop me from finishing the dish.
For our main course we ordered the following:
Helen: Beef eye fillet, mushroom & potato pave, roasted garlic butter, red onion jam, jus.
Amanda: Five spiced roasted pork belly with garlic, eggplant & cherry tomato relish, spring onions, apple fritter.
Myself: Slow braised goat leg, resting on polenta cake, gremolata and root vegetables.
Side(s): Crispy fried brussel sprouts with mint, lentils and lemon dressing and Broccoli, fresh chilli and garlic.
Once again, the dishes were ample and decoratively garnished. All 3 were complimented well by our choice in red wine. The lack of discussion during this course gave damning evidence that we had all chosen well. My slow braised goat leg was absolutely divine and completely dissolved in my mouth due to its tenderness. The side dishes were varied; the brussel sprouts being a little over cooked giving off a slight burnt flavour, whereas the broccoli was fresh and livened up the tastebuds.
I’m not sure if it was the constant “oohs” and “aahs” projecting from our table between mouthfuls or the length of our dining experience that left us on our lonesome, but we had truly reached a cuisine cloud nine. With a rally of compliments being offered to the chefs, I thought it was only fitting that I also send the crew some of our wine to enjoy their night’s success. Upon Shae’s return from the kitchen with our offering, she asked if we would mind being joined by the kitchen staff for a drink instead. With no hesitation and great excitement, we were joined by Julian and his kitchen team who were more than happy to receive not only our praise but also my constructive criticism as outlined above for the duck galette.
We were asked to try their array of desserts to which all 3 of us replied that we felt our stomachs couldn’t possibly cope with anymore food. The answer was clearly incorrect as we were told they were a must try delicacy, to which I agreed and prompted that a tasting plate would be sufficient for the 3 of us to share. Clearly my idea of a tasting plate differs from that of the Lyndoch Hill as we were served 3 plates containing one of each of the following:
Honey & vanilla cheesecake with lavender ice cream, almond crumble, candied violets.
Baked chocolate mousse, double cream, strawberry compote, rich chocolate sauce.
Steamed banana pudding with peanut butter ice cream, salted caramel, chocolate pashmak, popcorn.
Now I must be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet food, so luckily my hesitation and slight feeling of intimidation was overwhelmed by the infusion of wine in my system. Thankfully I took the plunge as all three were devastatingly delicious. The desserts weren’t overly sweet and had a beautiful balance of saltiness - perfect for the palate of a non-sweet tooth. My only worry is that these charming dishes may be what unleashes my inner dessert beast.
The mains could be a tad cheaper and it is a steep climb from the entree prices, but without doubt I would be very happy heading back to this country retreat time and time again.
In closing, I can only say that this is the clear-cut reason I enjoy travelling out of the city; the opportunity to eat at a well-established restaurant serving earthy, wholesome and hearty meals enhanced by the friendly, inviting and good mannered staff – just what you would expect from any restaurant of this nature.
Average Menu Pricing
Entree $13 - $18
Sides/Salads $7 - $8
Main $32 - $39
Dessert $13 - $16
Children $8 - $12
Where: Corner of Barossa Valley Highway and Hermann Thumm Drive, Lyndoch, SA 5351
Trading: 7 nights a week, lunch Sat + Sun (bookings essential)
Contact: (08) 8524 4268
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