Today on the Dining Diaries,

We experience moo-verlous or moo-velicious steak ,
I find out that rare is better than medium-rare and
We try Black Onyx Beef for the first time and we like it!

carmel-s-cafe-bar-andDiners today we were at Carmel’s in McLaren Vale. A restaurant in the heart of South Australian wineland.

Hubby and I have been here many times before although it had been at least a few years since our last visit.

Although we arrived fairly early – 6pm – on a Thursday (steak specials night) I was surprised that there weren’t many people there. Last time we came was on steak specials night too and it was packed! When I got the menu I understood why. While the steak specials are ok, they are not what they were last time I was here. Last time I’m sure they were under or around $20 each, this time they were about $5 – $7 off the regular price.
Still, I knew the quality was going to be good so I didn’t mind too much.

I love the ambiance inside this place. Music playing softly, dim lighting, lots of wooden tables, an enclosed and added on paved outdoor area and a lovely fireplace going right behind us.

I thought the menu had lots of great options even for non meat eaters. I was intending to eat steak tonight seeing as I was here so I had a look at the specials and noticed a 300 gram black onyx rump. I probably don’t get out much but I hadn’t heard of black onyx before so I asked the waiter. He was very lovely and said he’d go and check with the chef as he didn’t want to misinform me.
They even have a link to it on their menu and if you’re interested, and it is interesting, you can find out more here

The waiter told us simply that it’s a cross between Wagyu and Black Angus beef. That sold it for me so I decided to go for that. Now every time I’ve ordered steak I’ve asked for it medium-rare but always thought it was cooked too much. I was just a little afraid of what I’d get if I asked for it rare. I mentioned this to the waiter and he said they could always put it back on the grill if I thought it was too rare so I chose to have it cooked rare.

Hubby went for the 350 gram scotch fillet which he chose to have cooked medium rare.
We also ordered some bread with a trio of butters.

The bread was really nice. Very toasty warm and crispy and those delicious butters just melted on it when we buttered it on. My only complaint was there was not enough bread to the butter! We were hungry and went through those few slices very quickly.
From the bottom up, the butters were seeded mustard, tuscan herb & garlic and bacon jam.

I liked the herb and garlic one the best. The seeded mustard was ok but I didn’t notice a strong taste. The bacon jam was also ok but it had a strange sweetness to it.
It was a great starter though, accompanied by a delicious house cabernet sauvignon.

The mains looked soooo good when they came out!

The Black Onyx is on the left and the Scotch Fillet is on the right.
I’m not going to review them separately as we both were in raptures with our meals. The meat was just so gorgeously tender and I definitely made the right choice in ordering it rare.
The waitress who brought the food out to us came back a few minutes later to make sure it was ok but the original waiter who’d seen us at the door, also came back a little while after that to make sure it was ok for me and that I didn’t want it cooked a little more. I thought that was really great service.
I honestly wanted to go into that kitchen and shake the chef’s hand. I don’t have steak very often so I want it to be good when I do and this was really exceptional. I didn’t try any of hubby’s but gave him some of mine and he said they had similar seasoning but mine tasted “meatier”. I’m not sure what that meant but he liked it.

The fries and salad were really good too. You can tell they source quality ingredients and are proud of what comes out of their kitchen.

As mentioned, this was not our first trip to Carmel’s and I have to say we have been impressed every time we’ve gone, whether we’ve had steak, pasta or pizza. The food and service have always been great and I would definitely recommend this place if you are wanting a nice night out.

Have you been to Carmel’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…


4 thoughts on “Carmel’s

  1. Have been to other places in McLaren Vale but not Carmel’s. Now on my to taste list. I love MacLaren Vale. It still has the rolling hills and vines and it is a lovely place just to get away and feel happy.

    Liked by 1 person

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