One of the great pleasures in life, I think, is taking time out from our busy day-to-day lives and getting back to nature. Recently I spent two consecutive Sundays wandering the Adelaide Hills, in particular, Stirling, Crafers and Mt Lofty.
I was lucky enough to see the Wairoa and Beechwood gardens, part of the Open Garden scheme with my mum, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. While it’s always nice to see flowers in full bloom in spring and the sun shining through the tree canopies, it’s equally as delightful seeing the colour range of the autumnal leaves – from the rich reds through to orange, yellow and greens – gracing the impressive trees. Wandering the gardens in the cool of the hills, with rain falling on us, the leaves were piled up high on the ground creating a soft walkway. Shiny green leaves glistened from the rain and bright, fairytale-like red-and-white mushrooms poked through the earth.
The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens are close by and after a short walk through I returned a week later with my family to explore further. There are 100 hectares of native bush land broken down in to smaller gardens with plants from different areas of the world. I’m not much of a gardener, but I really enjoyed wandering around seeing the many varieties in one place. It’s now definitely in our calendar to return in spring to see the changes the seasons bring.
Lunchtime saw us in Stirling, with many choices. We decided on The Locavore as we liked their philosophy of abiding by the principals of the 100 Mile Diet – all produce sourced from within a 160km radius.
There are three seating areas at The Locavore – outside, the ground floor and the mezzanine level. On both occasions I ate there we were seated on the mezzanine level. I loved the natural interior and they have made a good use of the space with plenty of glass and natural lighting.
The first time eating there, I tried the Wagyu burger with speck, cheese, roast beetroot and horseradish sauce on a brioche bun served with hand cut wedges. The burger was a good size in my hands and filled with a generous amount of ingredients but I don’t think the bun could cope with the filling and soon fell apart. The tomato sauce certainly tasted homemade and the hand cut wedges with hot, crispy and salty. Very moreish! I enjoyed a Lobethal Bierhaus Hefeweizen with my burger.
Another person in our group tried the Carnivore gnocchi, veal bolognaise with crispy pancetta, fresh basil and pecorino shavings. The gnocchi was light and fluffy and there was a nice balance of tender veal pieces, salty pancetta and fresh basil.
For dessert I had the chocolate, orange and mascarpone tart with Tweedvale double cream. The slice was very rich but flavoursome and it was also served with some lemon curd on the plate, which cut through some of that richness.
Others had the espresso and Aldgate honeycomb panna cotta with minted berry salad, which was beautifully soft and creamy. But when ordering we weren’t told about a change in the menu and received a minted pear salad instead of the minted berry salad. It went well, although the pear had an unusual texture.
Upon returning a second time with my family, they chose the burger while I had the fishcakes; a fusion of SA’s finest seafoods, blue swimmer crab, prawn and snapper with roast garlic aioli, wedges and salad. The patties were dense with seafood and a surprise whole prawn in the middle – they were close to being the best fishcakes I’ve ever had! The salad was fresh and the wedges were just as I had them the first time. I preferred the aioli over the usually offered tartar sauce.
We also shared the warmed chocolate and almond brownie with Tweedvale double cream. This was just divine; moist and warm and I should have eaten the whole piece myself! Yum!! I really enjoyed The Locavore on the two occasions I ate there and look forward to returning in spring for lunch and to revisiting the beautiful gardens.