THE BRIDGEWATER MILL, Bridgewater SA
The restaurant at The Bridgewater Mill has long been known for serving fine food. In fact, it used to be on the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 list. My first meal there was before I’d moved to Adelaide. I was over on a work trip and following my meeting I jumped in a cab from the city (hang the expense!), had a quick two course lunch and then headed straight to the airport to fly home. That was in the days when Le Tu Thai was cheffing. I still remember the superb scallop sausage in seafood bisque – one of my treasured food moments. I’ve been a few times since and I’ve never been let down.
In winter it’s a cosy inside venue but in the warmer weather, where you really want to be is on the deck. It’s a beautiful spot where you are right next to the huge working water wheel, complete with lots of splashy water noise. The site is the old 1860s flour mill and for many years it has also been the cellar door for Petaluma wines and where the Croser sparkling was made. Petaluma’s now moved to a new location at Woodside.
Warren Randall, wine entrepreneur, and wife Nicolla (The Mill’s Managing Director) have bought the venue and after Warren completely transformed Seppeltsfield winery, they now have big plans for the mill. If the renovations are as impressive as at Seppeltsfield, it’s something I’m looking forward to seeing.
And while there’s new ownership, it’s the same chefs – at least for now, which is a good thing. Head chef is Zac Ronayne who’s creating dishes inspired by a number of cuisines.
This latest visit was to celebrate my birthday and the four of us were shown to a well-positioned table on the deck. It was a perfect evening for it. My major concern was mosquitoes – they find me particularly attractive, and I’m allergic to them. Thankfully, I had brought my ‘off’ mosquito spray but it turns out there were no mosquitoes anyway.
The menu is very concise with a choice of four entrees, four mains and four sides, but that’s all you need. The wine list’s also concise and well-priced. There were two entrees I was interested in – the Almond and parmesan crumbed chicken livers, preserved lemon, pancetta, olive and Brussel sprout leave, or the Heirloom carrots, five spiced quail, jamon and ginger caramel. Luckily I was able to convince my partner to share with me. Both dishes were really nicely done. The quail was extremely meaty and I just loved that ginger caramel. The livers were equally good – well cooked, and anything with Brussel sprouts is always a winner for me.
What main to choose was also a difficult decision. I wanted the pork loin with black pudding (LOVE black pudding) but the barramundi came with charred eggplant, miso and dried squid (sing here… ‘these are a few of my favourite things…’). I ended up with the barramundi and was extremely happy with it! To finish, the four of us decided to share the dessert platter. It looked great, but we didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the rest of the food.
The staff that looked after us were excellent and enjoyed a bit of friendly chatter – it really enhanced our evening. We all had a great night!