D’ARRY’S VERANDAH RESTAURANT, McLaren Vale
I hadn’t been to d’Arry’s Verandah for quite a few years. It had been on my radar to go again but it’s always booked up well in advance so it takes some planning. Last time I went I remember my great main course of wild boar so the excitement was mounting on the drive down to lunch. I was catching up with a couple of girlfriends so I was also looking forward to a good chinwag.
When you walk in the first thing you notice is the great views of the McLaren Vale vineyards through the large windows. The next thing you notice is the level of noise and clatter. It’s busy and vibrant, almost to the point that you need to speak in a raised voice to be heard – which is fine by me – just don’t go with a ‘low talker’.
The focus is on local and seasonal produce (but I dare you to find somewhere that isn’t proclaiming that these days). Because I also had a dinner booked for that night, I couldn’t really go overboard food-wise so we chose not to have the tasting menu. I opted for an entrée and a main, the other two went for 3 entrees each. First up, some plump crumbed and fried green olives to share. Yum. Also, we decided to share an entrée – Cauliflower and Gruyere twice cooked souffle. Sounds great, but we were a little disappointed as while the flavour was there, it was a little dry. However ALL disappointment flew out the window when they placed the magnificent Lobster Medallion with Blue Swimmer Crab and Prawn Ravioli and Lobster Bisque down in front of each of us. This is D’Arry’s signature savoury dish and it’s a bloody fine one! This is worth going to D’Arry’s for. The aroma, the taste, the richness all make this the perfect dish, and judging by the reaction when I posted the pic on social media, this dish is pretty famous and much loved by all.
For main there was only one choice for me – the Confit of Duck Leg with Seared Breast, Parmesan Polenta, Truffled Pear Jam and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts. What’s not to like? Duck and brussels – two of my favourite things! I had the scoop from someone leaving the table next to us that you only get a couple of brussel sprouts with that dish so I made sure I ordered extra with mine. You can’t stop at two! This dish was excellent in every way. It looked beautiful, with generous portions of both leg and breast meat, and that pear jam was such a great component.
The girls’ other entrees were good but the feedback on both the scallops and the beef tartare was there were too many competing flavours on the plate. Also, the tommy ruff fillets were overpowered by the jamon they were wrapped in. Having said that though, everyone really enjoyed their meal. It’s good quality, there’s no denying it.
We couldn’t fault the service which was friendly and very accommodating, and of course you get to choose from the vast array of great d’Arenberg wines.
A very enjoyable afternoon. d’Arry’s is certainly still on my list of places to dine in McLaren Vale.