Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hentley Farm Restaurant

Living in the Barossa seems surreal at times despite the not-so-pleasant beginning at some stage. Initially, I was very conservative and probably not too game for heading out and mingling with the local crowd, and it does not help that I am an introvert at heart too. Over the span of more than eight months, I began to embrace this foreign realm and cultivated some form of confidence.

I am no longer afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and in fact, I do look forward to exploring the local markets, tucking into some of the finest produces with a glass of moscato/ riesling and connecting with the friendly locals. Coming to Hentley Farm was not only for celebrating a birthday but also to sit back and reflect on how much I have grown in the last few months here. I shall stop rambling on my reflections now and dive straight into this restaurant review!

Firstly, bookings are essential. The restaurant does not open everyday and there is limited seats for diners so please do book at least 2 weeks in advance or face disappointment. It is located near a few wineries around the Seppeltsfield region and isn't too hard to locate unless if you get stuck along the road (we all can understand that feeling when there's just too many bits of temptations around;)

The interior has a touch of modern infused with vintage decor which gives this somewhat relaxed, calm feeling as you step in. Being part of an adventurous group of foodies, we had to sample the Discovery menu.

Tapioca mushroom floss and pumpkin seed ~ a very ingenious creation which reminded me of a cracker but perhaps a bit more refined. A light start to the meal.

Quinoa heritage beef and sweetcorn puree ~ These tiny pieces were delicious and it's too bad we could only have one piece each!

Oyster with rosemary and passionfruit ~ I thought this was a very visually stunning dish and it was a clever idea to allow the rosemary scent to waft around the oysters before tucking in. Fresh oysters and I could only wonder where did they source their supply from.

Cockle with pearl onion, parsley and salmon egg ~ yet another pretty dish to snap. I found this one refreshing, light and packed full of flavour.

Crab, parsnip, wild rice and lemon ~ we were a little confused when this came out but after tucking in, it was difficult to stop. I love how the fresh pieces of crab meat blended well with the lemon's acidity for freshness and crunch from the wild rice. Parsnip puree was silky smooth which made the entire dish look like a pretty posh breakfast bowl:)

Squid, leek, linseed and chive ~ a simple stock with a bed of squid strands on the side. I like how the chef plays with our "expectations vs realities" part of the brain. I was quizzed when this arrived and after unraveling the thinly sliced squid "noodles", I was intrigued by the robust stock flavours which complemented the sweet tasting squid very well.

Trevalla, duck liver, egg, sunflower and butter luttuce ~ I love how much seafood we get with the Discovery menu as too often enough, all of us hardly eats our recommended intake of fish protein. The preserved egg was a first for me which added a nice subtle saltiness to the sweet fish flesh.

Ox, chocolate, pear, mushroom and rocket ~ from memory, this was the ox's tongue. Yes, the non-exotic part of me braved this dish and found it worth the effort. The tongue was soft and when paired with the delicate slices of pear and chocolate, it seemed like the world stopped revolving for a minute. It was that phenomenal and I never imagined myself to rave about consuming this part of an animal.

Pork, sauerkraut, sherry and bechamel ~ one of my favourite dishes of the entire menu. The pork had a lovely chunk of fat attached to the meat, which, was slippery smooth with a slight crunch to the exterior. The sauerkraut and bechamel sauce were not too overpowering for me, which allowed the pork to shine on the plate. Thumbs up!

Crab, kiwi, kimchi and mint ~ so we are slowly moving onto desserts at this stage. This was a quirky invention indeed but we had no problems finishing it off. I did, however, enjoyed the kiwi sorbet which was quite refreshing:)

Foliage, fig leaf, pine needle and honey ~ I have never tasted sorbet (or gelato. I can't remember) this good. It had a good balance of creaminess and flavour. Would loved to have more if only I could. Probably a big hit in summer!

Pear, coriander, soy, coffee and almond ~ I love pretty dessert dishes. The cake was moist and fluffy whilst the gelato/sorbet added a nice bit of moisture to the entire dish. Yet another winner, in my opinion:)

Egg, mango, rice and poppy seed ~ Alas, I get to witness dessert served in an egg. Was so excited to dig in and reveal what hides beneath all the layers but I shall keep it a secret from you guys hehe.

Fortified marshmallows ~ marshmallows? tick. Fortified alcohol? Tick. Yep, the chef did it again. Caramelizing fortified wine around a humble piece of marshmallow and giving it that extra boost of flavour. This ain't a campfire for the kids at all!

Assorted popsicles ~ the crew and I had fun guessing what hides beneath the chocolate wall but do be warned, there are at least 4 different flavours going around. Love this playful take on dessert!

Lemon and dried grape madeleines ~ can never have too many desserts, indeed. A perfect way to end the afternoon.

Mint tea ~ just to cleanse your palate and also to make sure your breathe doesn't reek when you step out hehe:)

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