September 30, 2008

Penfolds Magill Estate

Dining Date: June 2006

2009 Rating: 7th in South Australia

2009 Star rating: 1

Chef: Jerome Tremoulet

Location: 78 Penfold Road, Magill (South Australia)


My obsession with eating at top 100 ranked restaurants started at this little winery/restaurant. As a gift to my partner for our third anniversary, I decided to take him to the winery where one of his favourite wines is made. Of course I am talking about Penfolds, and more specifically the famous Grange. We also took one of close friends along on the trip, as she is an avid wine connoisseur.

The location of this restaurant is stunning. Set amongst the Penfolds vineyard, and overlooking the Adelaide skyline. The restaurant itself has beautiful full length windows which takes advantage of the gorgeous view.

The menu at the time, and I believe is still now, is best eaten with the suggested accompanying wines. Some standout wines included the 1982 Bin 820 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz and of course the 1995 Penfolds Grange. Now, onto the important part……the food. We had the degustation menu, an awesome way of sampling a wide range of dishes. It comprised of 6 courses, not including a starter and petit fours to finish the meal. For me, the stand out dish was the twice baked duck confit with spinach mashed potatoes and foie gras sauce. The duck was delicately put together in a stack with the foie gras sauce drenched around it. It was perfectly moist and very flavorsome. This was the first time I had ever tried foie gras, and despite the ethical concerns behind the farming practices used to make this ingredient, I am totally and utterly hooked! So much so, that I’m thinking of buying myself a goose/duck and a couple of bags of corn.*

Other dishes included Raviolo of Barossa Valley Quail, Kangaroo Island yabby tails with crayfish timbale, pear and hazelnut clafouti to name a few. The wait staff were more than professional. They were attentive and did the right thing at the right time, but of course this is what you would expect from one of South Australia’s finest.

At the time, we were all relatively young. All around 23-24 years of age. We really didn’t know what to expect from a “fine dining” restaurant. At first we were on our best behavior, especially since the rest of the restaurant was filled with individuals that obviously looked like they came from money. The reason why we thought they were all wealthy, was not the fact that they had bulging pockets with money hanging out, but at one table there were women that had 1 too many string of pearls around their necks, and another table was ordering bottles of Grange as if they were Coca-cola. As the night wore on, we all drunk more and more wine and became a lot more boisterous.

All in all, this was a perfect restaurant to begin my journey on the Gourmet Challenge. Unfortunately, in the 2009 Australian restaurant guide, Magill Estate does not make the top 100. But it is currently ranked 7th in South Australia.

*I’m only kidding, please don’t set the RSPCA on me.