Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Salopian Inn - McLaren Vale - Feb 2014

Stunning location for sunset, sparkling service, and delicious food - put Salopian on your must visit list while in McLaren Vale.

When I moved to the Vale a year ago, the Salopian was dormant, after a spell as the McLaren Vale Brewery Taphouse. Enter the winemaker, Elena Brooks, and the Chef, Karena Armstrong. With a vision, the two renovated the old Salopian, retaining it's historical features such as an old door converted to a table top. Thus it reopened, reinvented as a fun place to drop in for a G&T at sunset, after work drinks & snacks, a stunning meal inspired by the bounty of the Fleurieu, or to taste Heirloom Vineyards wine.


The iconic welcoming sign. Photo: Willunga Wino


Arrive in style - or under your own steam - the Salopian is easily accessible from the Willunga to McLaren Vale "Shiraz Trail" bike path.



Yours truly arriving eco style. Photo: Willunga Wino


It's almost too tempting to pop in for bar snacks and a G&T from their constantly growing gin collection - no less than a staggering 168 choices now. To narrow down the decision, there's a regularly updated list, with a selection paired to a specific tonic and added-in ingredients. 



The back of the Salopian. Photo: Willunga Wino



The front verandah makes a great spot to admire the sunset, enjoy a tipple and a great meal.

View from the front verandah across Leconfield. Photo: Willunga Wino


Service is friendly, chatty & welcoming throughout.

As the sun started to set, we opted (of course) for a G&T. Kangaroo Island Spirits gin was paired with lime cheek and pink peppercorn, and Mr Wino's The Botanist gin was paired with rosemary and a green olive to complement it's 22 native herbs.



The Botanist gin with rosemary & green olive. Photo: Willunga Wino


We brought along a BYO of the McLaren Vale Winemakers Durif, Shiraz, Grenache and Sauv Blanc blend (corkage is $15 a bottle). An unusual blend, but the result is a lifted aroma, crunchy tanin, medium-heavy body and good balance of fruit forwardness. Cracker of a food wine.



It proved too hard to resist the Louis Roederer by the glass ($15).


Don't judge me (3 at once). Photo: Willunga Wino


With the sun settled low on the horizon, our mains arrived. The dry aged, char-grilled, grass-fed steak with chorizo & green olives ($36) was cooked perfectly rare & Mr Wino was most impressed.


Perfect steak, ethically raised too. Photo: Willunga Wino


The salt & pepper silken tofu San Choy Bau ($26) had a nice chilli hit, tangy lime, and featured crunchy sweet green beans with a garden of Asian herbs, plus crisp iceberg leaves to roll your own flavour bombs. 




San Choy Bau. Photo: Willunga Wino


The side dish of haloumi and grilled corn was tasty and  substantial. ($13)




Tasty side. Photo: Willunga Wino

Dessert was wicked dark chocolate cake with pistachio praline and raspberries ($15). It was dense and rich and perfectly chocolately, complemented well by the fresh & tart coulis.



Don't skip it. Photo: Willunga Wino


You could scarcely hope for a better spot to watch the sun setting over the vines while enjoying a tipple. Likewise for a meal on the verandah, sourced locally and put together with finesse. See you there again soon!



Rating : 5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu – Modern Australian
Meal Size: Satisfying, the mains & desserts are nice & big too.
Atmosphere / Ambience: Historic, welcoming, country chicl.
Standout Dish: The San Choy Bau $26.
Service: Friendly, helpful.
Online Booking: Yes, also by phone.
Restaurant Details and Location:
Corner Main and McMurtrie Roads, Mclaren Vale, SA 5171
Tel No: (08) 8323 8769
http://salopian.com.au/ 
Opening Hours: Lunch Dinner and Drinks 7 days a week. 
Access: Ample Parking on McMurtrie Rd 




Salopian Inn on Urbanspoon

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