St Francis Winery

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Potential elegance awaits,
Pretty food wows diners and
The specials boards entices us to eat things we wouldn’t normally….

898718-st-francis-wineryDiners today we made a trip to St Francis Winery which is on Old South Rd at Reynella.
The website says the Winery was established around 1852 and if you’d like to know more about the history of the property I’d encourage you to have a look through their website.

As for us, we were just having lunch today although it is a perfectly picturesque place to have a wedding or other function. In fact, I must mention I remember coming here a few years ago when I was part of a female barberhop quartet and singing at one of those functions!

As you walk into the main dining area you get a feeling that you’re walking into an elegant room. On closer inspection you notice that perhaps it could do with a complete refurbishment. The furniture and carpets look a little dated but what this room does have going for it are the pretty green views from the large windows.

The staff were very courteous and guided us to a table. The menu had some really interesting things on there, including a share plate as part of their “specials” board, that had crocodile on there! Well we just had to try that!

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From left we had Peking Duck shanks, Tempura soft shell crab, Salt and Pepper Crocodile and a Crispy Asian Salad. I guess the salad was under the Tempura soft shell crab.

What I loved about this share plate was that we got to try things we wouldn’t have normally eaten. Now I have had crocodile once before, and that was in Cairns. The crocodile on this dish was a much “chunkier” piece and I got to have a good taste. I remembered what I’d said about it the first time I’d eaten it. It seems to have a taste that’s in between seafood and meat. It’s not a tender meat, but it does have a slight seafood taste. It can be tough and stringy and yet there’s something pleasing about it also – That could have something to do with the way it was cooked and flavours that came with it but I really liked it.
The next thing I tried was the Peking Duck. I’m not sure what the “Peking” part actually means but these were cold slices. They tasted ok and as expected were very similar to chicken. It was just a little strange having a cold meat on a dish that had two other hot meats.
The Tempura soft shell crab was also interesting. I must admit it was a lot “mooshier” on the inside than I was expecting. I have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like, I can only comment on what I ate. It was cooked in a very crispy and tasty batter so I enjoyed it, but I can’t say I got to taste a lot of the crab.
The share plate came presented really nicely and again, I’m glad we ordered this and got to try a few things we normally wouldn’t have.

While we waited for our mains I saw other plates coming out, including a few dishes I’d been tossing up between and they looked really good!!! Everything coming out looked so pretty on the plate! I like that they place a lot of importance on presentation, without skimping on the size of the meal.

For main, hubby ordered from the specials board also. He picked the Beef Brisket.
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I noticed this on the specials board too but couldn’t get past a bad experience we had with Beef Brisket at another establishment….
But look at how good it looks! Those vegetables especially!
I offered to trade one of my potatoes for one of those onions on hubby’s plate but he said no way.
He said the meat was tender and had a nice smoky flavour. The vegetables were a great accompaniment and the mash had a nice, subtle, garlic flavour.
I’d probably be more inclined to have this on a cold Winter’s night than a humid Summer day but still, he enjoyed what he had.

For main I chose the Atlantic Salmon
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This Salmon had the best and most crispiest skin I’ve had since I started reviewing. It was really beautiful to eat. If it had been cooked any longer, the Salmon would have been in danger of being too dry but as it was, it was cooked well and had a beautiful colour and taste to it.
I’m not too sure what was on top of the salad but that was nice and fresh. The vegetables were crispy and gave the dish a nice colour variation!

I really liked the way we were treated by the wait staff too. They were present but not so much that it ruined your dining experience.

The one little negative, probably not worth mentioning but I will, was I tried the wine they recommended, and I can’t say I liked it – That’s kind of disappointing when you’re dining at a Winery however it was a minor thing.

Have you been to St Francis Winery?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

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The Pickled Duck

Today on the Dining Diaries,

The size of the chili and the sour cream provided actually match the amount of wedges given,
The size and layout of the restaurant make our hearts go pitter, patter and
The size of the burger make us wonder if indeed, size does matter?

the-pickled-duck-5.jpgToday the team were at The Pickled Duck.

Ever since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had recommendations to visit The Pickled Duck.
Today, as we found ourselves in the area we thought, why not?

It was a strange time to be eating – 3.30pm. We had both missed lunch and didn’t want to wait three hours or so for dinner but The Pickled Duck have all day dining so that was helpful!

The first thing we noticed as we walked in was how large and clean the restaurant was. High ceilings and heavy wood featured in the decor giving us a relaxed, family style restaurant feeling. Maybe something Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch would have designed.  It made us feel comfortable!
We were given menus and told to come up to the bar when we were ready to order.

The menu itself was simple and easy to understand. They mostly have burgers, pizza’s and a few salads as well. They also had desserts on the menu, including dessert pizzas!

From what I had heard, burgers were the specialty so I was eager to try one. Hubby decided to go for some sliders so that he could get a good idea of what a few different burgers would taste like. I think the slider option is a great one for exactly that reason and on this menu you were able to order as many as you want, starting from just one which is great if you have someone with a small appetite in your party.

The restaurant is next to a bottle shop and they have a joining door which could prove to be handy. They encourage their diners to take advantage of the wine cellar where they showcase a fine collection of Australian and world renowned wines. They also have a unique selection of craft beers from some of the finest South Australian microbreweries.
I did think there were lots of great options on the wine menu and ordered one of my favourites.

I did feel a little disappointed when the meals came out. In retrospect, they were very filling and I’m sure the size would be big enough for the average diner but my first impression was that it was a little small.
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I ordered the Swiss Beef Burger.
Beef, sautéed swiss mushrooms, caramelised onions, rocket, gorgonzola cheese sauce.

It was such a tasty little package!! The meat was just gorgeously seasoned and the caramelised onions.. mmmm is there a more perfect combination? They weren’t stingy on the muchrooms either and together, it was really a delight to eat. Hubby was both amused and horrified as he watched me trying to eat this with sauces dripping down my fingers and smeared on my face. But that’s got to tell you that what you’re eating is good right??

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He made a really good choice ordering the four sliders.

BEEF SLIDER- smoky BBQ onion jam
PORK SLIDER- asian slaw, baja sauce
DUCK SLIDER- pickled green onion, carrot slaw
CHICKEN SLIDER -smashed avocado, rocket

He started off with the pork slider. He said he found it a little dry but it was still very good and tasty.
The next one he tried was the beef slider and that was such a brilliant explosion of taste in his mouth that he decided to keep that one till last. He loved the bbq sauce – He said it reminded him of bbq ribs.
His third slider was the chicken slider. He said that was delicious also and was smothered in mayonnaise.
Last of all was the duck slider. We had forgotten that was one of the options and as we don’t often eat duck, were interested in how it would taste. Hubby said it was nice but not his favourite. I’m not into pickled onions in my burgers so I don’t think I would have liked this one myself.

FullSizeRender (35)We also ordered some wedges and I’m just mentioning them as surprisingly, we even had a little sour cream and chili left over after the wedges were gone… That never happens!!

I liked that the server came to check on us to make sure everything was as we’d ordered. I had told him that I’d heard good things about this place and he said must have been because of his great service which I thought was a good response!

All in all we had a nice time at The Pickled Duck. The food is definitely above average and you can tell they really care about what they’re going to present you.
Definitely a recommend from me!

Have you eaten at The Pickled Duck?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…