What a beautiful drive up into and through the Adelaide Hills. It is breathtaking. While at Petaluma we tried some fantastic wines made locally, in Coonawarra and in Clare. As we finished we asked about where to go for lunch.
Based on our simple brief for something good quality and casual with a fire, the lady serving us surveyed her colleagues and even some of the other tasters got involved. We were sent off in search of Mt Lofty Ranges and its cellar door and restaurant about twenty minutes away.
They were spot on with only one issue – no tables left! We were not left in the lurch by the staff at Mt Lofty and they managed to restructure part of the restaurant and find some chairs to seat us. That kindness and hospitality was a theme of the entire meal.
The menu is brief and focussed, changing regularly as we understand it. Jumping out to Catherine and I were the pot pies. She chose the chicken and I chose the beef. Cooked in the Mt Lofty Chardonnay, the chicken, leek and mushroom are combined in a creamy sauce, topped by a perfectly cooked disk of flaky pastry. The beef on the other hand is cooked in Mt Lofty Pinot Noir. Both are seasoned properly and are full of flavour; two of the most delicious pies we’ve tried in some time. As we enjoyed our delicious pies we noticed the other two main dishes, the lamb shank and the fish, also look tremendous.
I had a glass of the Mt Lofty Shiraz which is a nice cooler climate expression compared to the huge Shiraz from the day prior in the Barossa, and Catherine tried a glass of the Chardonnay her chicken had been cooked in which was a nice balanced version with not too much oak. We were fifty-fifty for dessert but given the taste of the pies we had to have a try to see if dessert could be anywhere near as good.
The Panettone bread & butter pudding includes grappa and sultanas, with a good measure of vanilla ice cream. Again, the flavour of the pudding was more concentrated than most other versions you try and we were left very impressed. Panettone is an Italian slightly sweet bread-like cake which you see more and more in place of bread in this traditional dessert.
We had certainly been pointed in the right direction at Petaluma. The fire was still being stoked through lunch, and there was a full restaurant of equally stoked customers.