Clover Restaurant at Howard Vineyard - The Land of the Long Lunch

Howard Vineyard - Lot 1, 53 Bald Hills Road, Adelaide, Nairne, Adelaide

One of the greatest things about living in South Australia (SA) is the access we have to great wineries right on our doorstep. A 30 minute drive up the freeway and you can find yourself in the middle of some beautiful vineyards, eating in a restored barn and sipping on some delicious wine. Where is this wonderful place? It's Howard Vineyard, and we were lucky enough to be invited to try the Clover Restaurant Summer menu one Sunday lunchtime in February. Of course, it's not just the setting, their new chef is Heather Day, of Masterchef finals fame, and she's definitely mastering the dishes at Clover.

Howard Vineyard

Seating

2016 Clover Pinot Noir Sparkling Chardonnay - $28 retail from HV online store
Utilising the relaxed feeling you get from Howards, and whilst we "cleansed our palates" with the sparkling Clover Pinot Noir Chardonnay, we asked the very friendly and knowledgeable staff to give us a guide on what they liked, and the wine to go along with it.

Left: Fish Tacos with Asian slaw and Lime (4 per serve) - $18
Middle: 2016 Clover Pinot Gris - $28 retail from HV online store
Right: Prawn and Pork Dumplings with soy and shallots - $18
We all agreed that the tacos and dumplings would be the best starters. We were advised to match these with the Clover Pinot Gris.

Prawn and Pork Dumplings
So up first, is a fan favourite (indicated by the love it got on Instagram) - the dumplings. They were filled with delicious bits of pork and prawns, and you could tell the meat was hand cut from the variety of sizes of the meat bits. The skins were a little thicker than those you would get from a Dumpling King dumpling - something that wouldn't be an issue for most except for the true connoisseur. The surrounding sauce was delicious, thick, rich and salty with lots of chives - plenty to keep going back between bits. Overall, a fun and tasty start to our lunch, that matched the Pinot Gris well, contrasting those salty flavours.

Fish Tacos 
The fish tacos were our other choice, and were delivered at the same time as the dumplings. This dish is a totally different experience. The fish tacos are more delicate, with more contrasting flavours and textures than the dumplings. The fish is crunchy and moist and the "finger" sized pieces helps to keep the fish in the taco and make eating a lot easier. The cabbage is crunchy and creamy, there's fresh lime and chilli to zest and spice it up, and the soft tacos to hold it all together. We loved these, and would order a double serve next time. And they perfectly suited the Pinot Gris, the tart and spice of the taco matching well with the pear and floral notes of the wine.

Left: BBQ Pork with pickled cucumber, Asian herbs and iceberg cups - $24
Middle: Clover Cabernet Franc - $28 retail from HV online store
Right, rear: Coconut and Ginger Rice - $3pp & Asian Glazed Pumpkin with toasted dukkah $11
Right, front: Major Toms Spicy Chicken with sweet and sour glaze - $25
Having had a fantastic start to our lunch, we were happily enjoying watching the rest of the restaurant chat and enjoy their wine and food, when our mains arrived. We ordered two mains to share, Major Toms Spicy Chicken and the BBQ Pork. On the side, we tried the Asian glazed pumpkin and some coconut and ginger rice. We matched this with the Clover Cabernet Franc.

Major Toms Spicy Chicken
Major Toms Spicy Chicken is a combination of so many flavours and textures, it's hard to describe! The sweet and sour glaze is fantastically balanced, combining so well with the crunch from the chicken and the spicy hit of chilli that it contains. It's such a great meld of flavours, it's hard to stop at just one piece. Here is where we found the rice to be handy, using it to break up mouthfuls, and to finish all the extra sauce off. The savoury spice from the Cabernet Franc was a great combination with this dish.

BBQ Pork
The BBQ Pork is similar to the Pork Belly dish we have had previously at Madame Hanoi. It's a sharing friendly meal, and one that you really get to be hands on with. The pickled cucumber, combined Asian herbs and hoisin sauce all worked well with the pork, and the assembly and eating of the dish with the lettuce cups added a little fun. The pork was well seasoned and had a great bark on the outer, however, was a little dry for us. Some of the dark fruit flavours of the Cabernet Franc, especially the dark cherries, helped balance out the strong flavours surrounding the pork.

Asian Glazed Pumpkin
The Asian glazed pumpkin, along with a decent dusting of toasted dukkah was a great side dish. It helped to break up all the meat we were consuming, and the dukkah was a great compliment to some of the other flavours we were enjoying from the other dishes.

Seasonal Sorbets (vanilla and lemon) - $9
To finish with, we chose some seasonal sorbets. The flavours today were lemon and vanilla. Both were cooling and cleansing, meeting our needs to have something sweet, but not having much room to fit it in.

Our experience at Howard Vineyard's Clover Restaurant was a wonderful afternoon. The setting is great, service fantastic, food delicious and the wine just as good. Heather has done a great job creating a menu that at its core is Asian focused, but adds elements from many other cuisines.

The menu also includes many gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options, and, there are two kids choices too. The area outside is perfect for that post lunch run around that the kids love, and you can finish off the last glass of the bottle while they do it. It's a great location, not too far up the freeway, and it reminds us all of how lucky we are in SA, with so many fantastic locations to visit, right on our doorstep.


Howard Vineyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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