Feature image courtesy of Wickham Marketing
Ahhh, island time. It’s a phrase that can be used as a bit of a dig by mainlanders who are used to the now, now, now of city living. Where trains run like clockwork, and workday lunchbreaks are capped at half an hour.
But island time is a way of life on sleepy Kangaroo Island (KI) – just a 45 minute Sealink Ferry ride from SA’s Fleurieu Peninsula – where the hours are measured in sips of local wine; flips on a towel while relaxing on one of the many secluded beaches; or simply by the number of roos who hop past your bedroom window each morning.
Give yourself a day or two and see that it’s surprisingly easy to succumb this slower pace of things. And what better way to begin your education than at a long, lazy lunch at one of the Island’s newest and most coveted destinations – Oceanview Eco Villas.
Situated on a north facing clifftop in Redbanks, Oceanview Eco Villa’s environmentally conscious design principals are defined by sumptuous furnishings, natural finishes and cool straight lines.
Hosts Tim and Tamsin Wendt have gone to great lengths to ensure their two exclusive villas are not only a lesson in luxury, but that they work with the land and weather here, to be kind to the environment. Considered building practices like using temperature regulating concrete floors, composite decking made from recycled milk containers, and carpet from recycled fishing nets, make for an experience that’s lush, without the guilt.
Because preserving KI’s natural beauty is deeply embedded in the psyche of the locals. From the villas to the Wendt’s stunning home, where guests are invited to enjoy their seasonally dictated long lunches, conscious living runs deep.
Arrive down a windy metal road, passing spring lambs and myriad birdlife on the way, and be greeted by the Wendts’ affable daughter Rumer, who deftly takes the lead front of house at Oceanview during the school holidays. Rumer cut her teeth at the currently closed fine-diner Sunset Food & Wine, and her skill is obvious in both the naturally warm welcome she gives and measured pace of her service.
Lunch begins – as all good lunches should – with a cocktail. At Oceanview, this could mean a briny martini, or playful spritz, both made using Kangaroo Island spirits and botanicals. After some mingling, overlooking the Wendt’s private access, white sand beaches, it’s time to take a place in the main dining room ($300pp) or at the exclusive chef’s table ($450pp) and be spoilt with six courses of precision cooking. Each wonderful dish is as clever as food can be, whilst remaining simple and never overwrought.
Everything that reaches the plate at Oceanview is anchored in a deep sense of place, because the Wendts and their guest chefs make a point of sourcing everything they can from the Island. This is possible thanks to the unprecedented quality of the produce on KI, which is celebrated on menus state-wide.
On the day Glam Adelaide dines, we’re cooked for by Laura Sharrad – runner up on Masterchef 2020 – and husband Max Sharrad, both of tiny Adelaide pasta bar Nido. Alongside them, Kangaroo Island Chefs, Dylan and Yolandi Pitallo, previously from Southern Ocean Lodge and Sunset Food and Wine. They showcase KI’s bountiful seafood in dishes like oysters topped with cucumber and iceplant and King George Whiting sashimi with curry oil, carrot and yoghurt – a marriage of salty, sweet, umami.
Each plate tells a story. Like warm egg custard atop plump pieces of sea urchin, served inside an eggshell. The eggs are from an organic farm, run by 11-year-old chicken-enthusiast Adam Willson. Who moves his chooks around his family’s property, in purpose-built chicken caravans. Adam, who started with only a handful of hens, now sells his eggs across the island, and at the Adelaide Central Markets.
The Wendts also invite an Island winemaker to each seasonal long lunch that they host. In Glam’s case, this was 5-star winery Island Estate Vineyards. Winemaker Yale Noris was on hand to guide each table through his thoughtful pairings which ran from crisp and clean, to rich and multidimensional.
Dessert – a decedent wedge of honey cake – circles back to the beginning of the meal. It’s matched by a honey and spice-noted Kangaroo Island Sprits liqueur. A rich finish to a long lunch that will leave you thinking long after boarding the Sealink ferry back home.
The next Oceanview Eco Villa long lunch is scheduled for December 6, 2020.