Magill Estate Kitchen opened last year to much fanfare. Does the casual kitchen deliver the quality associated with Penfolds’ Magill Estate brand?
South Australia’s wineries offer something for everyone. Whether you fancy sipping your Shiraz overlooking dusty ranges and rolling fields, getting a taste of Grenache with views of the speckled blue ocean or kicking back with a crisp Chardy on a deck hanging off the side of a hill, it’s all here for the taking. And then there’s the food.
Boasting regional delights has become the thing they do to set themselves apart, and as customers we are the winners. Variety is no longer a distant hope, but an expectation. But what of those wineries and kitchens that don’t really sit in a region.
Who do they benchmark against? Simple. Everyone. To be fair, Penfolds Magill Estate is kind of an Adelaide Hills winery, yet dwells so close to the CBD we can hardly consider them a country kid.
Rolling into Magill Estate and there isn’t a dirt road in sight. Definitely a city slicker. The line up of sparkling SUVs in the car park confirms the fact. We are here for lunch with the little sister (Magill Estate Kitchen) of the Estate’s signature restaurant (Magill Estate Restaurant).
With a menu designed by the Restaurant’s acclaimed head chefs (Emma McCaskill and Scott Huggins), renovations completed last year have allowed an expansion to the cellar door that is now packed with lunchtime diners in the know.
The space is downright beautiful. Sharp, sophisticated and minimalist while still warm. A bonus view over vineyards blocks the sprawl of suburbia just enough – we’ll just ignore the rooftops.
What we can’t ignore is the food and this is why the buzzy venue hasn’t stopped since opening last year. Grilled peaches, radicchio and shaved asparagus hide a scrumptious pile of haloumi, grilled until just done and effortlessly squeaky. Crushed hazelnuts add nutty texture and the sweetness from the peach syrup melds the dish together.
Merino lamb medallions are exactly pink, served with labna (delicious) and just-crunchy carrots. Crispy fried kale makes this superfood actually taste like something while a sprinkle of dukkah seems like a garnish to fancy things up, rather than essential for flavour. This dish is spot on.
Seafood ceviche is a beautifully arranged assortment teamed with crunchy toast. Bursting with freshness, a hit of chilli and zing from coriander – they even include little skewers for a fishing adventure. Cute.
The hero dish of the day is Wagyu beef carpaccio. Slick slivers of beef arranged in a perfect rectangle, the chef using this meaty palette to arrange baby leaves, finely shaved Parmesan and droplets of anchovy mayonnaise with artistry. That mayonnaise needs to be bottled and sold, immediately.
In the same ilk, our next dish (smoked trout rillettes) is intricately plated and almost too pretty to eat. Almost. This is wonderfully robust in flavour – texture of hot smoked trout clashes against the sweet crunch of beetroot and shaved radish and then regroups with delectable fusion.
With the prestige attached to a name like Penfolds comes extra pressure when it comes to offering a dining experience that meets expectation of customers loyal to the brand.
And the delicious team at the Magill Estates Kitchen has delivered in every way; this is one little sister that they should all be proud of.
Magill Estate Kitchen
78 Penfold Road, Magill
Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm