TOP 100 QUEST: MAGILL ESTATE RESTAURANT, Adelaide
Magill Estate can be found at the home of Penfolds – only a short cab ride from Adelaide city. As we taxi up the long vine-bordered driveway, the excitement is building. It’s not the sort of place you go every week, or even every month for that matter – the last time I’d been was just after it re-opened in its current form.
The occasion is my friend’s birthday. We’re a party of six and we decided to have a pre-dinner drink in the lounge area. It’s a perfect evening – not even a breeze, and we’re about to witness a magnificent sunset. We embark on a good ol’ chin-wag and some laughs over some champagne before we head to our table.
The interior is definitely different to the Magill Estate of old. It’s modern with blackwood tables and substantial high-backed chairs, and there’s plenty of space between the tables so you don’t have to worry about whispering for the fear you’ll be overheard (don’t you just love Adelaide’s two degrees of separation!). The lighting, a construction of glass spheres, is definitely a feature and of course, they’ve maintained the glass frontage for the excellent view, which is just as impressive in daylight as it is once the lights of Adelaide come on. This place oozes class with a keen attention to detail – you even get a little chair just for your handbag!
We decided to have the Tasting Menu with Sommelier’s Choice Wine at $275 per head ($175 for the food, $100 for the wines). If you opt for the Icon and Luxury wine match, you’re looking at a total of $425 per head. The food includes 9 courses if you include the snacks and the substantial petit fours. Plus there’s the damn fine bread! I’m not going to bore you with the details of every single course (you can check out the pics and descriptions below) but what I will say is it’s elegant food with mostly subtle flavours that really highlight the hero ingredients – tuna, marron, quail, pork, Wagyu beef. Head chefs Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill’s vision is “to deliver a clean and natural cuisine with complex preparation however never complicated on the plate or palette.” On this, they certainly deliver. The Penfolds wines were, as you’d expect, very well matched. One of the group opted for the non-alcoholic option ($50). What do you get for your dollar? Really tasty concoctions including pear, plum and lemon, apple and cucumber, ginger beer, rose and cranberry – a combination of juices and teas.
The service is professional. You’re well looked after and everything is well timed, and as opposed to my first visit, I wasn’t left feeling hungry. You certainly leave with a lighter wallet than when you arrived – with pre-dinner drinks we ended up spending around $300 per person, but, for a special occasion, it’s worth it.