if you are looking for a incredible restaurant with fine wines and a view that will take your breath away then let me introduce you to one of my favourites in the Clare Valley- Skillogalee.
I have visited this cellar door turned restaurant twice now and on each occasion I have been blown away by the food and hospitality. my most recent visit to Skillogalee was a few weeks ago when my other half and I went to the Clare Valley for a few days of exploring. we booked a table in advance as the tables fill up fast- yes the food is that good.
we sat out on the covered in porch (which was still cosy warm) and took in the view. we reminisced of the last time we visited- we sat under the olive tree in the warmth and admired the purple flowers that hung off the porch. now that we were visiting in winter it meant that the vines were bare but the garden was lush and green and was still a lovely view. our friendly waitress gave us warm bread rolls out of a woven basket and crackers as we sipped on our wines and read the menu. I scanned my eyes over the entrees and the choice was a no brainer- Woodside goats cheese medallion- wrapped in prosciutto topped with poppy & sesame seeds, and oven baked with rye toast and a balsamic glaze. however with slow cooked oxtail and salmon on the menu you may be tempted to have more than one entree.
the goats curd was warm and creamy and the prosciutto was incredibly fine and melted in the mouth. the balsamic glaze was sticky and a little bit chocolaty and was a nice touch on the simple salad. the poppy and sesame seeds added a slightly crunchy element to the dish and the rye was a delicious combo with the curd.
when it comes to mains prepare to fight with yourself about what you are going to choose- think options such as confit of duck leg, chilled vegetable salad and a vine pruners lunch (tried and tested, it was incredible)
on this occasion I chose the pasta of the day which was a locally made pasta with chorizo, mushroom, parmesan and sundried tomato in a light sauce. the other half chose the eye fillet of local beef with anchovy butter, portabello mushroom, green beans and roast garlic and sweet potato mash. we also ordered a side of brussel sprouts cooked in bacon and maple syrup.
I ordered the small pasta but the dish was far from that. the pasta was cooked to perfect and the sauce was creamy and light. there was plenty of chorizo to go around and the flavours were delicious. I loved that there was a handful of freshly sliced parmesan on top- it added that little bit of bityness to the dish.
the other halfs steak was thick and cooked to perfection- and hes a fussy eater when it comes to steak. it literally fell apart in my mouth and it reminded me of a beef brisket. the anchovy butter was sensational (yet I didn’t taste the fishyness) and there’s no questioning why Skillogalee is famous for it. The mash was garlicy but not to overpowering and the mushroom was meaty.
now for the sprouts. I hate brussel sprouts so I was pretty apprehensive when ordering but I was pleasantly suprised. the bacon and maple combination was sweet and palatable and it was such a great change from the steamed ones I ate, well hated, as a kid. they definitely didn’t taste like brussel sprouts at all.
a visit to this beautiful place would not be complete without dessert and coffee. the coffee was just how we liked it and if anything it was to big! we ordered chocolate truffles and a rich chocolate whisky cake with raspberry coulis and double cream and they were so pretty that I spent a good 5 minutes photographing them (sorry boyfriend).
The whisky cake was oh so chocolaty and had a thin layer of chocolate on top- devine. the coulis added a bit of zing to the dish and there was a decent dollop of cream to have with the cake. the truffles were very dense and rich and were lightly dusted in cocoa. the plating of the desserts and every other dish on the menu was like artwork and I loved that they incorporated flowers on the plate.
we loved our visit to Skillogalee. if you go in the warmer months book ahead and try and snag a spot under the olive tree- its oh so romantic and in my opinion the best seat in the house. if you have a entertainment card bring it along with your gold card as they have a buy one main meal get one free deal in there. if your not after a meal it is still worth coming for a tasting- their riesling is exquisite.
you can find Skillogalee cellar door and restaurant at Trevarrick Road, Sevenhill.