As the warmer weather continues to hit Adelaide and the Christmas holidays come upon us, we can’t help but start a list and check it twice. No, we’re not Santa and this isn’t a list of good or bad children, it’s a list of wineries to hit up on our annual Adelaide Christmas wine tour. Right now, we’re writing up our McLaren Vale list, and while there’s plenty of wineries down there to wet our whistle at, not all of them serve up the real day drinking MVP – food.
With the opening of the d’Arenberg Cube last week, there’s now a 10-16 course degustation on the menu down in McLaren Vale, but if you’re looking for an easy lunch between wineries, Harry’s Deli is a place that’s under the radar but still firmly sits at the top of our list of fab places to go.
In just over 12 months since Harry’s Deli opened adjacent to the Wirra Wirra cellar door, the casual dining space has become a favourite for local and international visitors alike. With local chef Rob Kolencik at the helm of the relaxed but humming kitchen, the seasonal menu reflects the high quality values that Wirra Wirra has become synonymous with; every cup, every plate delivers to please. And yet, the space feels relaxed, non-pretentious and inviting.
The café has an eclectic line up of local food producers, some who just started out and others who have been at it for a while, all who share a common passion for what they do. From the girl who got her own organic tea business up and running largely to overcome allergy issues, to the grape grower who combined a love of surfing and drinking to create a cool craft beer brand, everyone has a story to tell. It’s these stories of past and present heroes that really give Harry’s Deli its welcoming vibe; and visitors are invited to step inside and settle in.
With a seasonal menu that currently features slow-cooked smoked brisket panini, Woodside goats cheese, kale and onion tart or lamb, shiraz and kalamata olive pie, plus the famous Harry’s Platter, you might end up coming back again and again, and slowly start writing your own story.
An ode to a much loved character of the Wirra Wirra family and inspiration behind the café’s name; Harry Kilaitis. Harry was a gifted carpenter and spent many of his days working out of Sparrow’s Lodge at Wirra Wirra. While well-known to the locals, Harry flew under the radar, once admitting to never having a Tax File Number. He was your C.O.D. kind of guy. Harry’s work graces the offices and cellar doors of a number of McLaren Vale wineries, but it was at Wirra Wirra where he made his mark transforming Greg Trott’s dreams of oversized doors, tables and arches into timber masterpieces.
He made his way to Australia quite by chance, having planned to leave his war-torn home in Lithuania with a bunch of mates to join the Royal Canadian Mounties. Unfortunately for Harry – but in a turn of luck for McLaren Vale – the boys spent their last night at home celebrating their good fortune with a little too much gusto, only to sleep in and miss the boat the following day. The next ship to sail was heading to Australia and so Harry’s journey began.
Harry’s Deli will be open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm this holiday season, except Christmas Day. Opening hours on Sundays & Public Holidays are 11am until 4pm.