Hot Plates: Hardy's Verandah, Crafers, SA

Author: David Sly
Photography: Meaghan Coles

The Adelaide Hills has funky innovation in abundance thanks to Basket Range winemakers, but flash hospitality has been pointedly absent up until now - the makeover of Hardy's Verandah restaurant at Mount Lofty House brings the bling.

Kingfish with cultured cream and yuzu kosho.

The aim of the property's owners, David Horbelt and Malcolm Bean, is to combine contemporary dining smarts and an air of colonial grandeur. The extensive makeover began with a transformation of former suites and an original long, enclosed veranda into an airy formal dining space and bar with gorgeous views across Piccadilly Valley. With heavy timber furnishings and discreet service staff, it's stately and politely dignified. Superbly balanced d├ęgustation menus by chef Wayne Brown are more daring, drawing on Japanese inspiration to inform his measured treatments of local produce.

Luxurious air-dried wagyu topped with cultured cream and caviar is the star of a quartet of snacks, followed by sublime confit ocean trout with peas in a piquant soup of beetroot and fermented blueberry. Long, luscious flavours and silky texture define ox tongue cooked over binchotan charcoal and dressed with apple ginger and soy, and foie gras parfait melting into slices of dry-aged duck atop a sauce of jus blended with apricot. A clever dessert of soured plum dusted with popping citrus candy leads to a fun final note of torched mallow-coated passionfruit gel.

Ocean trout confit with beetroot and fermented blueberry.

A far-reaching international wine list and cellar developed by sommelier Patrick White is a key attraction, his careful recommendations perfectly in tune with the kitchen offerings. It all adds up to a significant, serious new player on the Adelaide dining scene.

Hardy's Verandah Restaurant, 74 Mount Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers, SA, (08) 8130 9263,

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