If you’re looking for a special place to go for an exquisite lunch in a beautiful setting, then take a look at The Currant Shed at McLaren Vale. This is one to keep in mind for a special day, like a birthday, anniversary, or…a Tuesday!
The Currant Shed is tucked away off Ingoldby Road amongst a vineyard and is a very unassuming building from the outside. But, after all it used to be a shed for drying currants undercover, before they were exported to the UK, in the days before refrigeration and when dried fruits were a booming business.
Today it’s the setting for relaxed fine dining, which uses its own garden grown and other local fresh ingredients in Modern Australian dishes. As you’d expect being in a wine region, the wine list is extensive with lots of local wines but also those from further afield.
As you approach the shed you enter the restaurant through a grapevine covered pergola which in summer provides a beautiful green cover of leaves and dappled light to sit outdoors and enjoy. Inside, the polished concrete and old red brick floor gives a relaxed and comfortable feel, with some of the features of the old currant shed setup still visible.
The restaurant is part of Shottesbrooke Winery and guests are encouraged to visit them for tastings before or after your lunch booking. The cellar door is open from Thursdays to Tuesdays from 11am to 5pm and it’s only a short walk from The Currant Shed to the cellar door. Restaurant guests are also welcome to explore the property and enjoy the vineyard views including the kitchen garden.
The front of house staff are really attentive to diners and with every dish ordered they explain in great details the explicit details and intricacies of the menu items. I’m glad I studied the seasonal menu online before we arrived, and knew pretty much what I would be ordering, because the menu you are given is very scant in details. I must admit I felt a bit sorry for the staff who repeated the details of every dish, for every order. It does add to the personal service feeling you get though, but if you’re not good at remembering details it can all become a bit confusing. The staff were all amazing.
There’s nothing to criticize when it comes to the food though. You are given the choices of 2 courses for $70, 3 courses for $90 or a 6 course chef’s selection for $135, and then there are wine pairing options as well. When you book online you can select the option that suits, and I suggest you do book ahead, as even on a Tuesday, out of holiday season it was very busy.
To start off our dining experience, a surprise selection of appetizers was delivered to the table (we weren’t that special though, each table received them). This wasn’t something that’s mentioned on the menu so it was a delightful treat and one I wish I could do justice to the food explanation better, but again the details were reeled off by the staff and I couldn’t retain it all. But…it doesn’t matter, it was just completely delicious, especially the falafel and homemade bread rolls with the softest butter I’ve ever tasted which had a Shiraz salt garnish.
Our following two courses were absolutely divine too and (as per the menu) starting with an entrée of pork belly braised in master stock & finished with fish sauce caramel served with satay sauce, bean sprouts, kaffir lime leaves, spring onions, chilli, mint, coriander, vietnamese mint & thai basil.
For mains the chicken roulade served on a bed of egg fried rice and asian greens, topped with crispy chicken skin, spring onions, cucumber and a nouc nam dressing was incredible. Light, fresh and delicious.
As each dish arrived, what I found immediately noticeable were the aromas of the fresh ingredients and the absolute artistic feast for the eyes each plate presented. A truly special dining experience thanks to Head Chef Wayne Leeson.
The Currant Shed restaurant is open 6 days a week, not on Wednesdays, and bookings can be made from 1130am up to 2.30 pm on weekends.