I think it’s quickly becoming a tradition that we make a visit to d’Arrys Verandah Restaurant in McLaren Vale every year, just so we can get a taste of their delicious and famous lobster medallion dish. If you haven’t tried it yet… then you must… pronto! It was my third visit here in three years, and finally, I had my camera with me as our group of five had a relaxing and delicious lunch over one weekend this past summer.
Our beautiful view during lunch
I made a booking for our lunch date weeks in advance, just to be on the safe side cause like they say… you snooze you lose with getting a spot at d’Arrys! 😉 A secured lunch reservation for the first sitting at 12pm was made, we just had to be out of there by 2pm for the next lunch sitting.
We were seated towards the far end of the restaurant, right by the kitchen door with views overlooking the outdoor seating outside and the rolling McLaren Vales hills in the background. Gorgeous!
2010 The Love Grass Shiraz; $40.00
After perusing through the menu, we settled on having 2 courses each at $65.00 per person with an option to upgrade it to 3 courses at $80.00 per person depending on whether we could fit in some dessert towards the end of our lunch. But first off, bread—always.
d’Arry’s bread with salt crusted house churned butter; $5.00
Fresh and crusty d’Arry’s bread with discs of Murray River butter encrusted with salt. Carb loading at its very best for us carbaholics!
The pièce de résistance and the sole reason for why we came, the delectable and faultless lobster medallion.
Lobster medallion with blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli and lobster bisque; $35.00 (extra $10.00 on top of the 2 or 3 course lunch menus and an extra $20.00 if ordered in the main size)
Perfection! What a beautiful plate.
A perfect blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli floated in the most creamiest and flavourful lobster bisque your taste buds will ever experience, topped with a beautiful piece of lobster medallion. What a treat! We made sure we saved some bread left over to mop up the bisque, but even that wasn’t enough so another serve of bread was quickly ordered to ensure that our plates were sent back spotless.
Szechuan quail with cured scallop and carrot salad and coriander, sesame dressing; $25.00
Everyone but I ordered the lobster medallion, and thankfully, the stranger and tiger—the sweet hearts that they both are, shared some of theirs with me cause I ordered the quail with cured scallop—just to try something different. A beautiful dish with perfectly cooked quail on a bed of a fresh and crunchy carrot salad with cured scallop pieces that were buttery in flavour. The sesame dressing was light and bright with a lovely touch of citrus from the segments of orange throughout the dish. Beautifully balanced and incredibly flavourful. To tackle the quails, I had to get my fingers dirty but was able to clean them after with the accompanied bowl of lime and water.
Onto our second courses…
Baked snapper with candied eggplant, green mango salad and seaweed sago chips; $38.00
A generous serving of baked snapper with a fresh and vibrant green mango salad; a lovely combination of textures with a snappy crunch from the mango and crispy airy seaweed sago chips.
Fillet steak with anchovy, parsley butter, red capsicum relish and crushed kipfler potato; $37.00
Carnivores will not be disappointed with the sky high stack of fillet steak on top of a crushed kipfler potato and finished with a vibrant red capsicum relish and a disc of parsley butter that one of us mistook for something other than butter and had a chunk of it… haha!
Sautéed mushrooms with pan fried hazelnut gnocchi, cauliflower custard and lemon, parmesan bark; $33.00
I ordered the gnocchi as it sounded different yet quite appealing on the menu, and also cause the stranger suggested it considering how quickly I get ‘full’ if I was to order a meaty dish, assuming that this one was ‘less filling’. I’m so glad I did cause it was splendid! The parmesan bark was wafer thin and stood tall in the middle of the plate amongst the gnocchi and mushrooms. A variety of mushrooms were used, all with varying textures, sizes and earthy flavours; and the main component—the gnocchi was pillowy and perfect which contrasted well with the crunchy hazelnut pieces and wilted greens throughout the dish. The cauliflower custard was enjoyable, creamy and rich yet not too heavy. Overall, a very tasty dish with the textural surprises keeping the palate interested and satisfied.
We may have been full after our two courses each with our pant buttons all on the verge of popping off, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity on ordering some of their desserts. I mean, we travelled all that way to McLaren Vale, so we might as well make the most of it, and with that mentality, we made room for some chocolate and sugary goodness—all in moderation of course!
Soft centred chocolate pudding with chocolate ice cream and d’Arry’s aero; $18.00
I might even classify d’Arrys soft centred chocolate pudding or fondant as the best I’ve ever had. A perfect, moist cake with the ooziest, rich chocolatey lava centre. The chocolate ice cream was sublime, you’d think that there may have been too much chocolate on the one plate, but no, it was just perfect. Chocolate in varying textures, forms and temperatures; the most surprising component out of the lot was the chocolate coated popping candy clusters—a lovely element of surprise and fun—scattered on the plate amongst d’Arry’s aero pieces, which by the way, was also delicious and crisp!
Passionfruit soufflé with pouring cream; $18.00
It was well past 2pm by this point, so we kind of overstayed our lunch sitting and ordered a souffle as well! Luckily the second lunch sitting wasn’t a full house so our table wasn’t needed. Phew!
The passionfruit soufflé was ethereally light, fluffy and cloud-like complemented with swirls of sweet and tart passionfruit flavour throughout with an accompanied small jug of pouring cream, just in case we needed it to cut through the tartness. It was not eggy at all and was an absolute winner for the tiger.
The food at d’Arry’s was amazing as always. Head Chef Peter Reschke draws inspiration from local and seasonal produce to complement the award winning d’Arenberg wines so if you haven’t been to d’Arrys yet, then get to it! You won’t be disappointed.
d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant
McLaren Vale SA 5171
P 08 8329 4848
7 days Lunch from 12pm