Penfolds Magill Estate
This is an interesting place. You take an unlit turnoff, into a field, and follow a long road through the vineyards, until you reach an abandoned-looking complex. It’s like a technology park. I follow the signs, and find my way in. There is a very high ratio if staff here, who introduce themselves personally. The two options here are five-course, for $135 ($265 with wine), and 8-course ($185/$435.) I like to grab a bargain, so I opt for the five-course.
The mandarin base here is very refreshing, and fairly savoury. The buttermilk snow is an interesting experience. It’s like little balls of refreshing milky sweets, but not sweet. When combined with the mandarin and carrot base, this was savoury, but was almost a dessert, in terms of the taste and texture. The dragon carrots probably just pushed this over to the savoury side enough.
I’m instructed to crack the egg yolk here, and mix the flavours. Nice, mild tuna here (some cooked, some raw) creates a kind of a soupy taste, when combined with the sous vide egg. The green vegetable here is soft and broccoli-like, but the whole dish is pervaded by a salty, tasty source I can’t identify. Turns out it’s one of the types of tuna – the tuna loin – that was soaked in soy sauce.
I want to eat this tasty and super-crispy bread I’ve been given, but I resist the temptation. I have my own mini-loaf all to myself. It’s like a peasant’s dream.
I don’t manage to cut through the pork, so I just eat it whole. It has so many layers, and they’re all full of flavour. I normally avoid pork belly, but this was like the best ham sandwich possible.
I also don’t like celery, but in this micro-salad, it’s lost its sour taste. The salad had an interesting mix of crunchy and crisp textures, with the nuts and celery.
Each course brings new cutlery.
For this course, the chef comes out and does the explaining.
I normally don’t eat meat this lightly cooked, but here I’m just eating everything. The meat is very red, but doesn’t exude blood, so I’m quite happy to eat it. It’s very chewy, and only has a faint meat taste, but with the garlicky sesame sauce, and its own soy sauce coating, it becomes smooth and tasty, though it’s an unusual taste for a piece of meat.
The wild watercress has a bitey and inedible taste, as though I had walked outside and randomly munched on a garden plant.
With vanilla bean ice cream.
This is a complimentary “pre-dessert.” I’m advised to plunge the spoon of ice cream into the soufflé. The dessert is about a contrast of hot and cold.
The soufflé is actually fairly moist. It has a sweet, lemony taste, and the egg is a strong part of the flavour here.
The pastry chef is “guest explainer” for this course.
The hay ice cream really does taste like one would expect hay to taste like. Not being a horse, I’ve never really tasted hay before.
The walnut crumble in the bottom doesn’t really taste like walnut. It’s like crumbs and a few tiny pieces of honeycomb. It doesn’t add anything to the ice cream, even when eaten in large amounts. The coffee linseed pieces have the opposite problem. They’re kind concentrated shards if coffee, and must be eaten in careful proportion to the scoop of ice cream, or their taste overwhelms everything.
Free tiny box of choccies and beautiful picture book at the end.
Coming here is an experience as well as just a chance to eat food. There are only a few places in Adelaide this fancy. If it were daytime, I’d probably have a look around the estate, for some extra amusement. I’ll definitely be back here when my Top 50 begins.
$143 all up.