CORIOLE, McLaren Vale
The food’s come a long way at Coriole – mind you, the last time I went was about nine years ago for a ‘WAGS’ luncheon and back then, it was all about the platters. It was a memorable long lunch sitting out in the garden in the sun, and the platters were excellent, but for me, Coriole became the place for a platter – not something I’d make the trip to McLaren Vale for.
Enter Tom Reid – a chef who has not only worked in some fine establishments in Britain and Dubai, but some of my favourite Adelaide restaurants – The Wine Underground, Mantra and Maximillian’s. Tom’s transformed the food offering at Coriole with his creative and tasty garden-inspired dishes based on local and seasonal produce – many of the ingredients are grown on the Coriole Estate itself which includes an organic vegetable garden.
This particular weekend I had some interstate guests in town and wanted to take them to McLaren Vale. Deciding on a place for lunch in a region with so many great dining options is difficult but I wanted to try somewhere different. I knew Tom had moved to Coriole so it was the obvious choice.
It was a beautiful sunny day and from the moment we arrived, I knew I’d made an excellent decision. We were shown to our table – under cover, but a nice open and airy space and a view of the very impressive garden.
Wanting to try a few things, we decided to indulge in the ‘Feed Me’ menu – five savoury courses including Coorong mullet, confit duck and oxtail – a no brainer really, and no decisions to be made – and a bonus for me – not having dessert ‘forced’ upon me as with the majority of tasting menus that include sweets. We were even lucky enough to try an extra course – one that Tom was cooking for a special dinner that evening – beautiful beef cheeks.
We enjoyed every single dish – I must say, the Brussels sprouts and confit duck had me weak at the knees! We were pretty full by the end – the others couldn’t even think about dessert! All up, a fabulous afternoon. We were so happy. Tom’s food is inventive and full of flavour, plus the service was friendly and knowledgeable – faultless really. Coriole certainly provides another excellent dining option for the McLaren Vale region so put it on your list as a must-do.