ST HUGO, Barossa
One of my new favourite places – St Hugo at Rowland Flat in the Barossa. Only one year old, it’s fine dining, it’s degustation, it’s excellence in wine and food matching or ‘wine centric cuisine’ as they call it – and all in a stunningly renovated 1850’s ironstone building, four years in the making.
It’s a classy place, tastefully combining brass, copper and timber. The main dining room seats around 50, plus there’s a courtyard area, a downstairs dining area and a magnificent private dining room for up to 20 guests. The wine lounge and tasting area alone is worth going for with its fireplace, comfy couches and sleek tasting counter.
Executive Chef Mark McNamara develops seasonal 8 course tasting menus by focusing on the wines, and because of this, you really must do the food and wine pairing, and the staff definitely encourage it. Don’t worry if you’re the designated driver, you can opt for the half pour and still get home safely. I should also mention – there’s the option to dine overlooking the kitchen where you can get up close and personal with the kitchen staff and watch the goings on.
Mark is a local with over 40 years of experience, and has a good knowledge of the Barossa and surrounds. He was formerly at Appellation, and also ran a cooking school ‘Food Luddite’. He’s a humble soul, seemingly reluctant to take personal praise, preferring to give credit to his team.
I’ve been for lunch and for dinner – the food, the wines and the service are simply excellent – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but next time you’re looking for a destination lunch or dinner, book in to St Hugo. It’s quite an experience.