Current Issue #478

Restaurant Review: Sunset Food and Wine

Restaurant Review: Sunset Food and Wine

Thanks to Jack Ingram’s Sunset Food and Wine there’s another reason to head to Kangaroo Island.

Just a 10-minute drive from Penneshaw, Sunset Food and Wine is located on the former site of Sunset Winery and is the latest venue to be reinvigorated by head chef Jack Ingram (formerly of Southern Ocean Lodge and Shannon Bennett’s Vue de monde in Melbourne).

Overlooking American Beach, Sunset Food and Wine was the first Kangaroo Island (KI) restaurant to be awarded a chef’s hat from the Australian Good Food Guide. Ingram, who trained at British Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le Champignon Sauvage and the Lygon Arms Hotel, moved to KI from Melbourne in 2015 to take on the role of executive chef at the famed Southern Ocean Lodge. Falling in love with KI’s produce, Ingram opened Sunset Food and Wine a year later, and works with as many local producers and growers as possible.

Our aperitif is KI Spirits’ Mulberry Gin over ice. This silky smooth, piquant deep purple drop is a limited release made from the fruit of the state’s oldest mulberry tree (and its propagated island decedents). The Islander Estate Sangiovese Rosé follows the opening act and is perfectly matched with seafood-centric starters including succulent KI oysters and smoked KI snook paté, which resembles a dip of sorts, served with house-made herbed flat breads and a small stack of lightly-pickled cucumber slices, which are a surprising and delightful addition. Next, KI octopus tentacles are tenderly char-grilled Mediterranean-style and served on top of a yellow pepper Romesco sauce, then piled high with a medley of finely-diced chorizo and green olives.

The lightly-roasted flavour of white asparagus is encouraged by tartness offered by whipped goat’s curd and a divine herb and caper dressing. On top of this sits a crumbed egg, broken to reveal a creamy centre and bright yolk that creates a slightly messy but absolutely delicious dish.

Sunset Food & Wine (Photo: Supplied)

KI lamb is given the royal treatment and is served as a tartare topped with a sweet and savoury beetroot remoulade and pea tendrils. Combine with egg yolk jam and scoop each bite with potato crisps made in-house using KI-grown potatoes for a flavour sensation, with the fresh lamb epitomising the ultimate paddock-to-plate experience.

Locally-fished King George Whiting is served ‘Milanese’ style (a fancy term to describe a thin, crumbed fillet) but this is no ordinary fish and chips. Sunset’s version is served with a zingy cabbage slaw and herbed mayo that beats any tartare I’ve tried, with a light squeeze of lemon resulting in a dish that represents seaside perfection.

It seems that the only non-local on the menu is Darling Downs Wagyu sourced from Queensland. The generous slice of rump is tenderly cooked to medium rare and served with sauerkraut and a mustard jus.

The last savoury dish is a Parisienne gnocchi that features flawless pillows of local potato jumbled among cubes of marinated eggplant, tiny semi-dried cherry tomato halves, crumbled ricotta and fresh basil leaves.

Sitting impossibly high above its ramekin, Sunset Food and Wine’s chocolate soufflé is easily the lightest and fluffiest I’ve tried. Its strong chocolate flavour teeters on bitter but tapers off sweet. On top sits a dollop of quince paste and a surprising miso and koji ice cream, which melts across the piping hot surface and offers an umami flavour that cuts through the chocolate with each creamy bite.

KI may have gained a reputation for having some of the world’s finest produce but after eating at Sunset Food and Wine it is now obvious that they keep the best for themselves and their fortunate guests.

Sunset Food and Wine
4564 Hog Bay Road, Kangaroo Island

Opening hours:
Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 4pm
Dinner: Thursday to Saturday, 6pm to 10pm

 8553 1378
sunsetfoodandwine.com

Header image:
Heidi Lewis

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