Going Back

mesa lunga

I mentioned how much I loved Adelaide, right? Since I got back, every time I see a sale airfare I ponder the possibility of going back over there soon. South Australia has some of the best local produce in the country and the high standard is truly evident in the quality of the restaurant dishes. One such example was Mesa Lunga, a tapas bar and restaurant on Gouger Street in the city. For lunch, we decided to try some pizzas, though their menu spans tapas, pasta and substantial mains as well.

The Margherita Pizza with tomato salsa, fiore de latte, tomatoes and fresh basil leaves with garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and sea salt ($16.50) was gorgeous, fresh and full of flavour. But what really caught my eye was the Pizza Anatra with confit duck leg, raddichio, pecorino and orange dressing ($21). I can’t go past a beautiful duck pizza, and the combination of flavours and textures here was really interesting and delicious.

But what I loved most of all was the dessert – panna cotta with vanilla bean, gianduja bunelos and coffee ice cream. The flavours all worked so well together. The bunelos were perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside, and I liked that the ice cream wasn’t too sweet or artificial tasting. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph my glass of sangria ($8) but I’d like to make a mention of how special it was, delicately flavoured and dangerously easy to drink!

Mesa Lunga – Corner Morphett & Gouger St Adelaide

hoffman's winery

One of my favourite parts of the trip was the few days we spent in McLaren Vale. I love visiting wine country and seeing the grape vines line the roads left and right. Unfortunately for us, the Kitchen Door at Penny’s Hill was fully booked, but I did pick up a couple of bottles of my favourite Mr Riggs sticky. After driving through steep and slightly scary dirt roads, we found a winery called Hoffman’s. The restaurant there is a converted old shed with lots of character.

The Chicken Roulade was served on a bed of pan-fried polenta, baby spinach and apple slices. It was a great blend of flavours and he really enjoyed it. I had the braised Duck Legs, with pear, almond and paprika, served on a white bean mash with steamed spring vegetables. It was full of flavour and well cooked – the meat literally fell off the bones. I also liked that the white bean mash had some texture to it, to keep things interesting.

For dessert, there was a banana pudding, served warm with figs and vanilla ice cream. It was a classic, comforting dessert on a drizzly day. I had the chocolate mousse cake. It was served with a tangy lime yoghurt that was interesting, though I’m not sure it worked as well as it could have. The cake was delicious and rich, and we left with happy, full tummies. Surprisingly, the only let down about the meal was the glass of wine I ordered, which unfortunately overpowered the subtle spices in the main course.

Hoffman’s McLaren Vale – Ingoldby Rd, McLaren Flat, McLaren Vale

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