Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant

Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant – Mount Lofty House, 74 Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers SA 5152

With a view of Piccadilly Valley like no other, Mount Lofty House was built in 1952 as a Summer retreat home for Arthur Hardy – British born Australian pastoralist, barrister, businessman and politician. Impressively located on the highest ridge of the Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty House quickly became the go-to venue of Hardy’s lavishly spectacular parties for only Adelaide’s most elite high society.

Fast forward 165 years, and Mount Lofty House has undergone a multi-million dollar redevelopment and is now the stylish home to Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant and the Arthur Waterhouse Bar and Lounge. This February, the stunning venue is ready to open it's doors to reveal a whole new culinary experience in Adelaide - and we were lucky enough to be invited along for a sneak peak. All food and beverages were provided on behalf of Hardy's Verandah Restaurant.

The Degustation Begins
Built upon the remarkable historic features of the existing building, both the Arthur Waterhouse Bar and Lounge and the dining area in Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant are filled with natural light to create a fresh and ambient atmosphere for fine dining. To stay true to the heritage building and to honour the sophistication, refinement and grace of Arthur Hardy himself, Executive Chef Wayne Brown and Head Sommelier Patrick White have crafted a phenomenal menu which will allow diners to experience many ingredients they may not have tried before.

Combining Wayne’s two passions, ‘French technique and Japanese flavour and balance’, the sample menu we tasted consisted of seven courses, each unique in its own right. With a focus on highlighting the abundant produce found on the Mount Lofty House property and in the surrounding Adelaide Hills areas, Wayne Brown and his talented team take great pride in growing and foraging many of the ingredients that appear on the menu to stay true to their ‘valley-to-verandah’ ethos.

Chicken Skin (left) & Southern Squid (right)
The menu commenced with four small snacks of chicken skin, southern squid, wagyu and caviar and fermented daikon. Topped with pâté and fresh chives, the chicken skin was crisp, light and perfectly salty. The cubed local South Australian squid was presented on a squid ink cracker with a touch of chilli, providing a satisfying crunch and a good hit of heat.

Wagyu & Caviar (bottom left) & Fermented Daikon (back right)
The second plate of snacks took things to a whole new level, with a mouthful of paper thin dried wagyu beef dolloped with crème fraiche and caviar creating a symphony of flavours. To finish off the snack course, we sipped on fermented daikon broth from a small vessel on our plates. Acting as a palate cleanser, this broth was refined and fresh, yet had an incredible depth of flavour which left us wishing we had a whole bowl to drink.

The first full course presented was Kingfish, cultured cream and yuzu kosho, perfectly paired with a refreshing glass of 2015 Clos Clare Riesling. This dish was a light and well balanced start, with the addition of pickled kohlrabi, seaweed and Japanese chilli paste (yuzu kosho) not overpowering the delicate fish in the slightest.

Ocean Trout Confit
Following with another seafood course, the ocean trout confit, beetroot and fermented blueberry was a true standout of the entire menu. The ocean trout had an incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture, as well as desirable crispy skin from being seared to finish. A generous dollop of brown butter sour cream gave this dish an indulgent richness, while a fermented blueberry and beetroot purée and fresh spring peas brought the needed acidity and crispness to leave our palates feeling clean and ready for the next course. Paired with the Turon Chardonnay from right here in the Piccadilly Valley, it was a mix of new and old age Chardonnay that cut through the delicious richness of the trout well.

Fermented Milk Bread & Butter
In between courses, a basket of the most exceptional bread was brought to the table. After experimenting for three months, Wayne has perfected his version of the Japanese inspired sweet fermented milk bread. Served with house made butter that was equally as jaw-dropping, this bread was undoubtedly amongst the best bread we have ever eaten in our lives.

Smoked Ox Tongue

Longview Fresco Nebbiolo
The state-of-the-art, $3 million kitchen at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant features an impressive custom-built charcoal pit which is responsible for the delicious dish we enjoyed next. Ox tongue smoked over binchotan, apple ginger and wild sesame soy was the course that left us all wanting more. After being slow cooked to retain tenderness, the ox tongue is brushed with a sesame glaze and char grilled over binchotan, a traditional Japanese white charcoal, creating a superbly caramelised piece of meat. The rich flavour was accompanied perfectly with ginger pickled pink lady apple and a glass of 2016 Longview ‘Fresco’ Nebbiolo from the Adelaide Hills.

Dry Aged Duck

Noelia Ricci Sangiovese
The last savoury course of the outstanding menu was dry aged duck, foie gras, apricot marmalade and kinome. The duck breast for this dish is aged in-house to enhance the flavour of the delicate meat, which was perfectly pink. Although the foie gras was rich on its own, when eaten with the duck and apricot marmalade, it created a sublime match of savoury and sweet. Kinome leaf, which we later discovered is a popular Japanese herb from the Prickly Ash tree, added a slightly minty and citrus flavour to finish the dish off nicely. Paired with a 2014 Noelia Ricci Sangiovese from the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy, the fruitful wine balanced the richness and complex depth of the aged duck and foie gras.

Soured Plum
For dessert, a beautifully presented dish of soured plum, custard crème and citrus wizz fizz was placed before us. A delicate quenelle of soured plum sorbet sat upon the bed of custard crème as the house made wizz fizz was dusted over the plate at the table for a dramatic finish. Spotted with candied citrus shards, this dessert was refreshing, exciting and comforting all at once, and left us all begging for another serve. Paired with the lightly bubbly, fresh and zingy 2015 Bera Moscato d'Asti from Piedmont, a region of Italy at the foot of the Alps, was semi sweet and so easy to drink.

Sweet Treats
Just when we thought our dining experience could not get any better, a large wooden log spotted with sweet treats was placed in the middle of the table. We each had a taste of a passionfruit meringue pie, seeded chocolate, nectarine pop, and wattleseed crunch – all of which were favourites!

Wayne Brown’s undeniable passion for the local area, produce the Adelaide Hills can provide, unique Japanese ingredients and time-honored techniques has led to a wholeheartedly crafted and indisputably brilliant menu at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant. Not to mention his impressive experience in previous assignments at Urbane (Brisbane), Quay (Sydney), Two Rooms (Tokyo), Waku Ghin (Singapore) and Sake (Double Bay).

Arthur Waterhouse Bar & Lounge
Simplistic to the eye, each course had admirable attention to detail and depth of flavour that is almost indescribable. Whether you decide to choose The Short Story Menu for $109 per person or The Full Story Menu for $160 per person, the food at Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant will not disappoint. The highly anticipated addition to Mount Lofty House is set to open on 23 February 2017, and is sure to set new standards for fine dining in Adelaide.

Hardys Verandah Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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