A visit to d’Arenberg | McLaren Vale, AUSTRALIA

With breathtaking views of the lush green rolling hills of McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg is without a doubt one of the most prominent wineries around the area, and the new addition of the multimillion-dollar building - d’Arenberg Cube only fuelled my desire to see this place even more, so we made sure that this was our first stop during our recent visit to McLaren Vale.

At noon, we arrived at d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, which is housed in a restored 19th-century homestead. Being the first table to arrive, we were seated by the window which offered a sweeping view of nothing but green vine-leaves and blue sky.  The menu offered both a la carte and degustation options, showcasing seasonal and local ingredients.

While we waited for our mains to arrive, Minibun George received his pasta. He was happy and content. At the waiter’s suggestion, we enjoyed our meal with two glasses of d’Arenberg wine. Both main dishes were presented beautifully. I loved the baked barramundi fillet ($38) that I ordered, served on a bed of squid ink risotto surrounded by a creamy aromatic sambal and coconut broth, topped with garlic Asian greens, the fish was a 10/10 and I wiped the plate clean in no time. The other travel bunnie opted for the aromatic pork fillet with black bean smash, corn, avocado, green apple, crackling salad and jalapeno verde ($38), which was on a heavier side, but equally as tasty.  In the middle of the table, we shared a side of fried smashed potatoes with lemon and smoked garlic butter ($9) and they were smashing! Already feeling pretty stuffed at this stage, we decided to share the restaurant’s signature dessert - a soft-centred chocolate pudding with chocolate ice cream, d’Arry’s aero and cocoa nibs ($19). It was definitely a chocolate lover’s dream come true.

Other than the fact that the kid’s meal (pasta and a glass of apple juice) had a hefty price tag of $45 (which was pricier than the most expensive main dish on the menu), I thought our lunch was really pleasant and marked a great start to our trip. 

After lunch, we walked over to THE CUBE -  the building looked like un-solved Rubik’s Cube that dazzled in the middle of the vineyard as the sun hit the building’s glassed exterior, reflecting the vast green space. Entry to the building cost $10 and included wine tasting, but as we dined at the restaurant, the entry fee was waived. On the ground floor, we found the Alternate Reality museum. As we entered the first room which was covered in flowers on one side and fruit on the other,  all of my senses became overwhelmed. On the walls were little glass jars and each contained an object representing aromas and notes that can be found in wine, and with a squeeze of the bicycle horn attached on the jar, you can get a whiff of the object inside.  Without giving out too much information, I think the museum is a must if you go to McLaren Vale, it’s just so random and bizarre, but you won’t want the experience to end. I know this might sound weird, but make sure that you also check out the bathrooms (yep) before you head to the top level for some wine tasting. 

Get your camera ready for d’Arenberg, you might need an extra battery too. 

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $147

d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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