As the weather warms up and open courtyards replace open fires, there’s no better way to celebrate the season than getting out of town for a long lunch. Whether you’re looking at an all day trip or a short excursion, there are plenty of wonderful spots to indulge around South Australia – here are three of the best.
Words Alexis Buxton-Collins
Cover image southaustralia.com
The Currant Shed
Nestled between cabernet vines and a lime grove with views of the Onkaparinga hills, The Currant Shed makes the most of its location in the heart of McLaren Vale. The lunch-only restaurant grows as much produce as possible onsite, including limes, oranges, quince, apricots, watermelon and a range of herbs and vegetables.
Restaurant manager Ali Holden describes the dining experience as “informal, yet informed”, so you can expect relaxed service and thoughtful dishes such as ling fish brined in Shottesbrooke single vineyard cabernet sauvignon lees from vines right outside the restaurant window. And if you’re looking for an excuse to linger in the al fresco seating under the vines, the two, three or six course options let you navigate the menu for as long as you like.
Housed in a beautiful 1839 building just 20 minutes from the CBD, the Crafers Hotel was one of the first licensed hotels in South Australia and has seen many changes over its long history. There’s still a rustic air to the historic property but step inside and you’ll find a refined contemporary pub with a French menu helmed by chef Stephane Brizard. The recently renovated courtyard is the perfect place to welcome spring and if you’re looking for a wine to pair with lunch, there’s something for every occasion in the astonishingly well-stocked wine room with 2800 different bottles.
Mr Mick’s Clare Valley cellar door prides itself on producing “affordable wines for everyone to enjoy” in the tradition of K.H. Knappstein, and after you’ve finished tasting them it’s worth sticking around for lunch. The casual tapas style menu is equally accessible and the selection of share plates changes seasonally but favourites such as salt & pepper squid are always available, as are the famously decadent churros served with tawny-infused chocolate and late harvest riesling white chocolate dipping sauces. The location in the old Clare Jam factory means there’s plenty of space to spread out on the lawns or courtyard surrounding the heritage building, and if you find yourself staying for the weekend the lunchtime spot also opens on Friday nights (just be sure to book ahead).