FINO SEPPELTSFIELD, Barossa Valley
As a blogger, some places you can’t wait to sit down and write about, and with others, it’s a bit of a chore. Fino Seppeltsfield is one of those places that I feel absolutely compelled to write about it. Why? Because it’s got everything going for it – location, ambience, service, wine, and of course, excellent food! In fact, this is the second time I’ve written about it, but my first review was only brief. Both times I’ve been, I’ve left happily glowing from the experience (and no, not just from the wine). That’s what happens when you get good people doing good things. Those people are Sharon Romeo and chef David Swain, the same people who brought us the well-known Fino in Willunga which in past years has graced the Australian Gourmet Traveller Top 100 list.
The location is the old bottling hall at Seppeltsfield winery, established in 1851, which after $3 million of investment, is definitely worth taking a detour for. Fino’s interior is spacious, light and bright and it’s certainly a hive of activity, with Sharon as the Queen Bee. In fact, she’s a human dynamo, energetically buzzing from here to there, ensuring everyone is looked after, along with her friendly service team. If you sit in the glass-walled front section you can see the goings-on in the kitchen as well as watch hundreds of people enjoying the winery grounds. Towards the back and down some steps there is the cellar, another large area which is set up for dining and functions. And for a nice day, there are also quite a few outdoor tables.
The menu consists of 6 Appetisers, 6 Entrees and 6 Mains, and it’s all about the ingredients. The sense of source and locality simply shouts from the pages. Barossa chicken, Tasmanian wakame, King Island sheep’s milk labne, Yorke Peninsula chickpeas… And it’s nice to see the producers acknowledged, for example Domenico Torzi’s olives, Farmer Hayden’s carrots, SchuAm’s pork and Barossa Valley Cheese Co.’s feta.
Sharing some appetisers and entrees is encouraged. We chose not to share, but between us we ordered the Crispy Sardines, school prawns, garlic, chilli and parsley, the Cold smoked Hiramasa Kingfish with wakame, brown rice and sesame, the Salted Snapper with broad beans, cauliflower and beurre blanc, and the Quail with olives, toasted buckwheat and chilli. Everyone is happy. For mains, the Slow cooked lamb shoulder, carrots, pickled chilli and yoghurt, the Barossa Birds chicken, broad bean and almond bistilla and the Local Tommy Ruffs, snowpeas, yellow split peas and vegetable escabeche.
The food is fresh and vibrant with robust flavours where warranted, and it all looks simply stunning arranged on the bespoke plates made by craftsmen at the Jam Factory workshops. And you just have to pay a visit to the Jam Factory which is also located on the Seppeltsfield site where you can buy beautiful ceramics, glassware, jewellery and furniture. They also made Fino’s knives and tables.
Fino also has a good wine list featuring wines from all over Australia and beyond, and if you’re a sherry fan, you’ll be pleased, with over 20 to choose from. We’re a bunch of a sparkling red lovers so we opted for a bottle of the Teusner MC 2009 sparkling shiraz – I’d only just bought a couple of bottles that morning.
Next time you’re planning a trip to the Barossa, make sure you fit in a meal at Fino Seppeltsfield – you won’t be disappointed.