Nestled up in a beautiful setting on a limestone hill in McLaren Vale is the Maxwell Wines Estate. The estate was opened in the 1960s and was one of the first wineries in McLaren Vale with its own in-house restaurant.
The style of food may have changed over the years but the philosophy of using local and seasonal produce has always played a key part. German born Head Chef Fabian Lehmann, former Chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Hotel Jagdhaus Eiden am See in Germany joined the restaurant in 2016. Fabian has kept the restaurants philosophy alive, yet infused it with his own style and experience.
Tempting Palates were lucky enough to be invited to experience the Maxwell-Explored 4-course set menu with matched wines on a sunny Sunday afternoon!
We were started off with a glass of the refreshing NV Envious Sparkling and shortly after were served fresh mushroom scrolls with thyme butter and Mushroom Chicken croquettes. Let's discuss the Scrolls first! Can these possibly be the best scrolls we have ever eaten? Served slightly warm, it really magnified the mushroom flavours and mixed with the soft cultured butter with fresh thyme was just a heavenly mix.
The croquettes were slightly crunchy on the outside with a soft filling of chicken, mushrooms and pine nuts on the inside. These were so delicious we wish we could have asked for another serve!
Next up was our first dish of our 4-course adventure: Port Lincoln mussels with dill and granny smith apple paired with the 2017 Little Demon Verdelho. This dish didn't only look like a piece of art but was also put together using different textures and flavours to tempt your senses. It was no surprise that it went perfectly with the fresh and vibrant notes of the Verdelho. Absolutely amazing!
Our second course was a dish of soil cooked baby beets, caraway and burned cream paired with the 2016 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay. This dish was plated up beautifully and the vibrant colours of the baby beetroots had us in awe. The earthy flavours were lifted by the burned cream and the fruity aromas of the Chardonnay. Another standout dish!
The palate cleansers that were put in front of us next really were not what we expected it to be....our eyes made us believe that we were about to eat marshmallows with a coconut coating, however, taking our first bite we tasted tomato and Parmesan cheese! Expect the unexpected.
Our third course was the Saltbush Lamb, celeriac and yoghurt paired with the 2014 Eocene Ancient Earth Shiraz. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the yoghurt gave it a Mediterranean kick. The Shiraz with its blackberry and plum flavours was a match made in heaven.
Finishing this dish was a bitter sweet moment knowing there was only one more dish to go but we were also excited as it is no secret that we love our desserts! Our final dish was the Orelys Valrhona, banana and peanut butter paired with the Maxwell Liqueur Mead. This was another stunning looking dish with two creamy parfaits sitting on top of a caramel smear and crunchy biscuits on top for added texture. The mead was rich in flavour infused with nine secret herbs and spices.
This was hands down one of the best meals we have had in a long time. Fabian is an absolute perfectionist when it comes to his food paired with the award winning Maxwell wines and meads make this a one of a kind fine dining experience in McLaren Vale.
Next time you are down this way stop by the cellar door for a wine & mead tasting and while you are at it let Fabian Lehmann take you on a culinary journey guaranteed to tempt your senses.
Where: Maxwell Estate, Corner Olivers Road and Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale
Restaurant Open: Daily Lunch
Cellar Door Open: Daily 10am-5pm