Photos by Josh Geelan
Howard Vineyard’s new Janchi menu brims with moreish dishes carefully crafted from fresh, Adelaide Hills produce.
Executive Chef Chang Koog Lee, known affectionately in-house as Cookie, lets his Korean heritage dazzle in the dishes, with a focus on punchy, salty, tastebud-tingling food.
Janchi is Korean for ‘party or festival of food, celebrated with family and friends,’ and the experience at Howard, served in the fairy-light adorned Clover + Stone restaurant, certainly takes inspiration from this. The dishes are designed to be shared, to incite a discussion of flavours, and leave you vying for the last bite.
To start, we are served Yaki Pork Dumplings, Zucchini Flowers, and Bibim Arancini. As a pescatarian, I am unable to try the former, but am informed the salty sauce is an ideal accompaniment to the umami of the dumpling.
The Zucchini Flowers are fresh, filled with chickpea and ricotta and paired with a yuzu mint yoghurt. Cookie’s care for fresh produce is apparent in this starter; natural flavours are heroed in this quietly complex dish.
Arancini is generally a crowd-pleaser, and Cookie’s iteration is a cracker, featuring spiced pumpkin, basil aioli, and kale dust. The arancini itself is oozy, ideal for scooping up, smothering with aioli, and devouring.
Next is the Salt and Pepper Squid, served with wombok nuoc mam salad, and roasted sesame. It’s salty and slightly sweet, and the squid is tender, a lip-smackingly good kind of dish.
We are also served the Quinoa Roll, which features nori, asparagus, grilled corn salsa, olive tapenade, and vegan aioli. This is an immensely accessible vegan dish, bursting with freshness and just enough salt.
Main course is Wild Caught Barramundi. Again, Cookie’s care for his ingredients is evident. The barramundi is served with an orange quinoa salad, braised daikon, and jorim sauce.
Jorim is a classic Korean dish, traditionally made by boiling vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, or tofu in a seasoned broth until it reduces. The barramundi is soft, the infused flavours carefully crafted to epitomise both freshness and punch. This dish is a love song to both the ocean and Cookie’s Korean heritage.
Fried Silken Tofu is also on the agenda for main course. It’s a delightful dish, comprised of crispy enoki mushroom, confit baby king oyster mushroom, and nori.
It would be amiss not to comment on the wines we tasted to accompany the Janchi menu. The Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay, with notes of raspberry, cherry, and strawberry, was ideal to start the meal, and the wine of the day was the zesty Pinot Gris, a white that celebrates Granny Smith apples and Nashi pear.
Clover + Stone offers a dining experience ideal for an occasion or a casual weekend lunch in the Adelaide Hills, with dishes that play on your mind and tongue in the days to come.
You can get the Janchi menu for $60 per person (group of four minimum) with six dishes to share.
Find Howard Vineyard at 53 Bald Hills Road, Nairne.