Saturday, 6 September 2014

Just a short drive from Adelaide: one of Australia's best vineyard restaurants

The Lane Vineyard cellar door and restaurant at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills - just a short drive from downtown Adelaide - is a great choice for anyone who enjoys going gourmet while taking in great views.
The elevated dining area offers stunning views across the vineyards to Mount Lofty and Mount Torrens and you can eat on the veranda in summer or in front of a log fire in winter. 

The Lane is the brainchild of jovial winemaker John Edwards, his wife Helen and their children Ben Tolstoshev and Marty Edwards.

The family are all bon vivants who will encourage visitors to try just a little of this and a smidgen of that, and there are some delicious morsels to try on a menu that ranges from snacks to a five-course degustation meal. 

In my opinion this is one of Australia's best gourmet experiences - a chic but never stuffy spot that’s busy even during the middle of the week, which is always a good sign. 
The wines are excellent across the board, there is a keen young team and changes are on the way. 
I remember attending the opening of the facility five or so years ago but when I popped by unannounced a couple of weeks ago Ben and Marty were bubbling with news about the new, enlarged kitchen and a tasting facility directly overlooking the winery where guests will pay $20 for a flight of four wines and four gourmet morsels; and get their money back if they purchase wines. 
Executive chef James Brinklow's menus touch all bases, and feature local seasonal produce when possible. 

The brilliant freshly shucked oysters are a must, and then think tasters and starters ranging from Waygu bresaola with celeriac remoulade and peppers; spiced whitebait with vanilla aioli and blue swimmer crab ravioli with basil and black pepper. 

Mains may include confit pork belly, artichoke, roasted chestnuts and golden raisins; grilled kangaroo striploin with beetroot, curd, lardo and tarragon or a vegetarian risotto verde with buffalo curd. Whatever your order a side of crunchy hand-cut fries is a must. 
All the dishes on the menu are matched with one of The Lane's wines; with the Gathering Sauvignon Blanc, the Beginning Chardonnay and the Block 5 Shiraz all food friendly. 

The kitchen also offers some delightful little surprises, including croquettes, while sweet tooths are catered for with dishes like caramel peanut popcorn; vanilla ice cream, honey brittle, honeycomb and oats and passionfruit curd-filled madeleines. 

There is a selection of cheeses, too, and The Lane is open seven days for lunch, making it a great destination early in the week, when a lot of the other local restaurants are closed. It pays to book at all times, however. 

The Lane, Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf  5245. (08) 8388 1250. www.thelane.com.au 

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