South Australia is famous for its wonderful wine regions. Hentley Farm is located in the Barossa Valley and won the best winery of the year for 2015. Set on the corner of Gerald Roberts and Jenke Roads in the beautiful land of Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. Enjoy a nice drive with amazing vineyards on either side.
We were welcomed by a few friendly staff members who kindly showed us to our table. We were admiring the rustic look inside. It looked like we were dining outside but we were actually seated inside. I loved the use of wide wooden tables and comfortable chairs. You don't see that often.
We chose the discovery menu which was designed to be a surprise menu that the chefs have put together for you. This menu is prepared for you and will take you 4 hours to complete. We also chose to pair our food with matching wines. You can choose the option to do half pairing if one of you is a driver, therefore you get half the amount of alcohol. Yes you heard me, that is 4 hours of wine and dine.
First up was soy roasted scorched almonds served with canola leaves. I have never tried canola leaves before, so it was an experience for me. Apparently you dip the leaves into the thick cream and eat it. Check out the logo on top of the cream, it's Hentley Farm. I was pretty impressed. The starters were paired with 2014 skin contact riesling from Eden Valley.
Another starter was crisps made in house. Crispy thin crackers with three different toppings served on logs. One was lamb tartare on rye crackers. I have tried beef tartare before but never lamb, the taste was not as strong as I thought it would be. Everything just melted together, it was delicious. Next was salmon which was thinly sliced on potato crackers and last but not least quinoa crackers with quail eggs. The quail eggs were soft and creamy and it was definitely my favourite out of the three. These crisps were all bite size with all different flavours and textures, a brilliant way to open up my appetite.
As we moved on to the next dish, a chef came out with a pot and opened the lid in front of us. Two beautiful oysters were seated on a bed of rocks with rosemary inside. I could see the passionfruit dressing on top of the oysters. As the chef explained to us, he started to pour water onto the rocks, smoke came out from the pot and oh my god, talk about theatre, the whole table was just covered in smoke. It was absolutely amazing, as the smoke slowly disappeared, the rosemary became the aroma. There is no better way to eat Smokey Bay oysters than this. This was definitely an eye opener. I was so excited to see what there was to come. The oysters were paired with The Skinbone 2014 Grenache rose from Barossa Valley.
What came next looked simple but it tasted very sophisticated. It was strips of snapper fillet served in a bowl. The fish was soaked in Maggie Beer's verjuice and Greenock olive oil. This gave it the extra sweetness. The little crunchy bits on top was the puffed rice. It was very well balanced with the saltiness of the mettwurst. To finish off oxalis leaves were picked from the garden at the front as we were informed by the chef. He said sometimes they will just go out into the garden and then decide what they include in the menu, all organic, why not?
I wonder what was hiding under this piece of iceberg lettuce, it was bluefin tuna with was slightly seared. Tuna was very soft and just melted in my mouth. It was served with chicken liver pate which was very subtle and the yellow bits on top was egg yolk which was cured. What an interesting combination I say, but it worked very well. To finish off this plate, toasted sun flower seeds were sprinkled on top. Amazing!! Tuna was paired with 2014 Pinot Gris from the Adelaide Hills.
Next was the Japanese pumpkin with fried chicken hearts topped with cucumber terrain. The chef came to our table and made up the garlic butter milk in front of us before pouring onto our plates. It was a refreshing course, the butter milk was actually very light and all the elements on the plate married so well together. The pumpkin was paired with 2014 The Stray Mongrel from Barossa Valley.
The final main course was the barbecue pork and ox tongue which left me speechless. The meat was tender and was marinated very well, the colour, textures, flavour were all there in two bowls. The ox tongue was nothing like what I have eaten before. It hasn't got the roughness of some other ox tongue that I have tasted, it was smooth, soft and tender. Sushi rice was also served with kohl rabi. The kohl rabi itself undergoes a long and tedious process. Once they grow the kohl rabi, they pump out the juice from two litres down to 200 mL, you can imagine how concentrated this would be, hence the wonderful taste. This course was paired with the beauty and and beast which were both from Barossa Valley from 2013 and 2012.
Onto the dessert courses, egg shell filled with jersey cream was served in an egg carton. Inside the shell was passionfruit dressing. We were instructed to dig into the shell to enjoy the best bit. It was like an egg yoghurt and at the bottom was passionfruit curd. The sourness of the curd was well balanced with the brown sugar on the top layer sprinkled with poppy seeds.
The next plate that arrived at our table was almost too nice to eat. It was a cheese plate served with quince paste. A piece of linseed crackers with a little bit of cheese and a dab of honey served with yellow sour sob, it was a match made from heaven. That quince paste was just unbelievably tasty, it was not too sweet but just right. I licked that wooden plate clean.
The pastry chef was the third chef whom arrived at our table for the day. She explained carefully to us how she got her ideas. She said this was an overlooked vegetable so she decided to do something with it. She was talking about rhubarb, one of my favourites and how it goes so well in a dessert. The rhubarb was the character in this dessert. It was soaked in a lemon base sauce with fennel. It was cooked to perfection. Just right so that you could cut your spoon into it without difficulties. Yoghurt in a quenelle was nicely executed. To finish off the crispy meringue was light and sweet, it was no ordinary meringue, it was Italian meringue as I have learnt. The desserts were paired with 2013 The Noble Exception Botrytis riesling from Eden Valley.
To finish off we were served a pot of tea with mint leaves, apparently these were just picked from the front garden. It was a great way to finish off and to cleanse our palates. I love mint!
We finished off with assorted popsicles which were served on a tree branch, it looked amazing. The marshmallows on sticks were toasted and coated with wine. On the side was the cutest kitchen buns that I have ever since. Even though they were so small, they were very impressive. I must say I was indulging so much that I forgot to take a picture of the popsicles and the kitchener buns.
Oh boy oh boy, I am speechless with the amazing experience I had today at the restaurant. I couldn't thank anymore to the team at the Hentley Farm restaurant. I loved every single bit, from the moment that I walked in until the moment I left the restaurant. In case you forget what you ate from the discovery menu, they would give you a little menu at the end which you can take home with you. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to celebrate a special occasion. It will definitely take you on a gastronomical experience!
Visit Hentley Farm Restaurant - Jenke Road, Seppeltsfield, SA 5355 - (08) 8562 8427