With a new head chef, new season, and new menu; We just had to get to the Ellen Street Restaurant at Maxwell Wines.
It was a cold wintery day and the cellar door fireplace was roaring, making for the perfect cosy corner to sit back, taste some wines, and indulge in the Chef’s tasting menu.
The degustation kicked off in style with a dish of blue mussels with Granny Smith apple, dill, ice plant, and a garlic wine foam. It had texture, interest, and was served with the super crisp 2015 Little Demon Verdelho.
We loved the next course: crispy skinned South Australian snapper, with Asian greens, pomegranate seeds and a soy butter sauce. It had sweet, salty, sour, and again was full of complimenting textures. A picture paints a thousand words; and this one was a beauty! Matched with the 2015 Barrel Fermented Verdelho.
We were treated to a mid-course teaser, and boy was it a cracker. Same-day picked mushrooms, grown in Maxwell’s very own Lime Cave (we’ll get to that later), chunky brioche croutons, and runny egg yolk. So rich and delicious; I’d gladly have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Next was twice cooked pork belly, with varied cauliflower. Simple tried and tested flavours, but with the very important distinction; executed perfectly. The pork belly crackling was super crunchy, and the meat melted in the mouth. Moving on to the reds (yes!) this one was matched with the 2014 Four Roads Grenache. Perfecto!
Last for the savoury dishes was a sous vide saltbush lamb, wrapped in crispy prosciutto, served with heirloom carrot, burnt leek, parsnip and garlic. The lamb was tender and full of flavour. It was a match made in heaven when sipping on the 2013 Lime Cave Cab’ Sav’ in between bites. Very satisfying!
There was a insanely delicious Amuse Bouche. Olive oil ice cream, with crispy wafers and crumb. I would order this in droves. Incredibly refreshing, and it had us salivating for dessert.
For a winning finish, we devoured a combination of lime yoghurt ice cream, with a passionfruit gel, chocolate soil, and dark caramelised white chocolate crisps. Super yummy, and matched with Maxwell’s liqueur mead. It was like a Christmas party in our mouth!
Maxwell’s restaurant caters for different tastes and dining options. If you don’t have the time to sit down for the full tasting menu experience; there is the a la carte option, which is ever-changing, and determined on the day by the best local produce available.
Head chef Fabian Lehmann is armed with a wealth of knowledge and international experience, including Michelin Star restaurants, and it shows. His food combines modern techniques and inventiveness, with classic flavours and quality produce that shines. We thoroughly enjoyed his creations, and can’t wait to get back.
If you’re looking at visiting Maxwell Wines, be assured the winery has something for everyone and is family-friendly also. There is a hedge maze for all kids (big and small) and plenty of room to set up a picnic amongst the vines if you wish.
The cellar door is cosy and inviting, with friendly staff on standby to keep your glass full and cockles warm.
For something truly unique, Maxwell wines still use a historic lime cave on the property. Built over 100 years ago, it’s a major feature of the winery that sets it apart, and is the growing room for hundreds of mushrooms showcased in many of the Ellen Street restaurant dishes. We had the pleasure of taking a peak, and sampling mushrooms from the source.
In the warmer months, you can visit the winery on Friday evenings for acoustic tunes on the outdoor patio area, take in views of the sweeping McLaren Vale vineyards, and enjoy the super tasty “Street Food” menu.
To top it all off; Maxwell Wines is still very much a family business, which we just love.
Maxwell Wines is located at Corner of Olivers & Chalk Hill Roads, McLaren Vale. For more information; you can head over to their website here. Keep up to date with the food and wine on Facebook and Instagram. The Cellar Door is open daily; 10 am to 5 pm, The Ellen Street Restaurant is open Thursday to Monday from 12 noon.
For more on the stunning food and wine available in the Fleurieu area, follow our writer Lisa Cahill via her blog a fleurieu affair.