Jan 8, 2012

Red Poles Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA - 28 December 2011

Well, I know I am hardly an independent reviewer, being a sibling to the chef, but I always love coming here.

The food is always interesting and great tasting and the venue is just wonderful. On a sunny day, it is just a delight to sit in the garden and nibble on tasty treats.

We started with bread and dukkah (both house made of course). The bread was great, chewy, full of flavour, just like a real french baguette, and I loved the sumac with the dukkah; it provided a great shot of lemony flavour with all the spices.

Chef sent out a little starter of the goat rack (apparently there wasn't enough left for a full serve). Beautifully cooked, lovely and tender, great flavour. I think I almost prefer it to lamb - less fatty. And the dauphine potato...divine!

For mains I had the zucchini and pancetta rotolo, with marron and zucchini flowers. Great seasonal produce - I adore zucchini flowers. Beautiful marron. And such a pretty plate.

My paramour had the gnocchi - great tasty gnocchi (as always) no gluey-ness. Lovely assortment of veg creating flavour.

Mother had the rabbit jalousie - like a rabbit pasty, with a caper berry leaf tabouli. I am not a big fan of caper berries, but the leaves are really quite nice. And the rabbit was melty, succulent and really yummy.

But the star of the meal on this visit, was the unexpected dessert. Brother chef sent out Ouzo soused mango with licorice icecream and lemon ice. I would never have ordered this (I like, but don't love licorice and ouzo) but it was amazing. The licorice icecream was inky black and wonderfully smooth. It had a delicate licorice flavour, not overpowering, which was enhanced by the lemon ice and the baby basil leaves scattered on top.  Unexpected, surprising and very delicious.

And as always, there was attentive service, an opportunity to window shop and play ball with Archie.

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