A new restaurant opened in Clare, South Australia, just before Christmas, 2014, and with it came a lot of hype about how great this “new place” was going to be. The rumour-mill was in overdrive and since it opened i’ve not heard anything but high praise on everything it has to offer. Like everyone else, i’ve been ‘hanging out’ to try on this place so with an invitation from a couple of girlfriends to check out Seed Winehouse + Kitchen yesterday, we (myself + Husband) decided the time was right to give this ‘new kid’ a go.
It’s an understatement to say my Facebook timeline has been inundated with Seed check-ins. Locals keen to brag about being at the latest and next best thing in Clare. So i figured i had a fair idea of what to expect but you still need to get your own feel for a place & the people.
I’d also heard Seed was on the high-end of the price tag so on that respect i did enter with a bit of trepidation. I’m pleased to announce however, i can squash that rumour right here as the prices were on par with the couple of hotels & wineries in the district who offer a gourmet/restaurant style menu. None of these places, including Seed, are out of reach for those wanting a great dining experience with food on your plate you most probably don’t treat yourself to at home.
With my introduction out of the way, here’s my experience of Seed Winehouse + Kitchen, The New Kid in (#ClareValley) Town.
Although dining doesn’t start until 6pm, Seed opens its doors on Saturday & Sunday at midday for drinks at the bar and ‘Spuntino’ treats to share. Beautiful rustic boards and earthy stoneware laden with gorgeous local produce presented in a way that you simply can’t not take a photo.
We already had drinks under control with our first of a few bottles, the Florita riesling, by Jim Barry. Oversized wine glasses gives the impression you’ve temporarily stepped out of Clare & taken a little trip to Italy while still enjoying a beautiful crisp riesling from one of the oldest wine producers in the Clare Valley.
The Spuntino (snack) menu isn’t huge (it doesn’t need to be) but we still found it hard to decide so we let the lovely Drew & kitchen experts surprise us with what they thought we’d like. First up, grissini, made from local producer Pangkarra paired with the most beautiful green olives & orange peel. The only criticism i have of the olives is, there’s not enough meat on those beauties. They were delicious and very moreish for those who, like me, love them.
Next up was the most heavenly fried calamari with fennel & aioli. If i was a teenager I’d be describing that as; “Oh Em Gee”, as it truly was a gastronomical delight and paired very well with the Florita riesling.
Our third Spuntino board was a selection of cured meat, pickled vegetables & toasted ciabatta, which we lovingly spread with the aioli. Sorry to report i didn’t get a photo of boards 1 & 3 as they were swooped on before this novice blogger could get her shit together!
By this time we had well and truly settled in at our spot at the slate top bar by the front door and chosen our second bottle, my recommendation, a Polish Hill riesling from Shut The Gate Wines. A lot of people were starting to flow in the door and take a seat on the other side of the bar or at the randomly placed wine barrels, also near the front door. The atmosphere was great and as it’s been a long time between catch up drinks for the four of us, it’s fair to say we were providing the entertainment with our hilarious attempts of trying to take selfies and a decent photo of H with the girls. None of which was working at all for H’s sabotaging of said photos. Like most men, he is not fond of his photo taken at all and will do anything to get out of it. Bugger
With the second bottle under our belt by 6.30ish and the dining section filling up fast, we decided we should grab a table and go the whole Seed experience. We did hear one of the staff say they were booked out and were halfway through making other plans when we were told the could indeed fit us in for dinner. Phew! But we were lucky, you definitely need to make a booking for dinner at this early stage of Seed’s existence.
The owners of Seed have made few changes to the building that was, for many years, a Chinese restaurant. Beautiful slate floors which i’m sure one of the true locals would tell me came from Mintaro Slate or somewhere not far away, but as i haven’t lived here long enough (not quite 20 years) i am far from being local & have not investigated the origins of materials used. Needless to say, it’s a beautiful building with true rustic charm. Complementing the slate floor are solid timber beams and window treatments. There is an upstairs section but i didn’t notice whether that was being utilised. Again, novice blogger boo boo, sorry, but the upstairs section was certainly used when the chinese restaurant was in its hey day.
The dining section was close to full when we were seated just before 7pm, a nod to the new establishment as i could tell (from facebook check-ins) many were already repeat customers.
Once again we were faced with the difficult task of choosing what to have but to our delight, Seed has just introduced the option of having your wait staff choose your dishes going by the wine you have chosen or you pointing to a few things you like. Brilliant idea!
In less than 30 minutes we were making room in the middle of our table for several dishes and all of us gasping with delight as we took in the sight of the amazing food that adorned them.
Radicchio salad with fennel, two plates of black linguini with zuchinni, crispy baked potatoes and the absolute hero of the meal, a slow cooked pot lamb with fig. And again the teenager in me comes out with, “oh em gee”. It. Was. Divine.
Novice blogger apologises for lack of photo quality……First blog blunders!
Our wine with dinner was a Kilikanoon ‘Skilly Valley‘ Pinot Gris. An excellent choice by our friends as it rounded off our wine & food experience superbly.
Sometimes when you’ve heard a restaurant is ‘fine dining’ or at the ‘higher end’ of the price tag you can’t help but assume the meal sizes will be a little on the small side. Very pleased to say this isn’t the case at Seed. The dishes we were treated to had an abundance of food and even though we did our best to devour every last morsel, we fell slightly short of our goal. The theme of rustic earthenware continued which, to me, helps with the relaxed atmosphere for your ‘fine dining’ experience. I can almost hear the owners discussing what they would use back in their planning stages with the conversation going something like; “We want to treat Clare Valley to amazing food but present it in a way that’s not intimidating. We want them to feel like they are dining in the comfort of their own home but enjoying fabulous food they wouldn’t probably take the time to prepare for themselves”.
If that’s how it went, they definitely hit the food & wine nail fair and square on its head.
That’s not to say though, they haven’t included some tasteful little additions such as; individual hand towels in the bathroom with lovely hand wash & hand cream. Tealights adorning each table and on the bar and randomly placed rustic jars with cut flowers that looked like Nonna had been out in the garden that morning gathering whatever took her fancy.
With our amazing meal finished and the Pinot Gris well and truly tucked away, it was time to settle our bill & there was a bit of discussion as to what the ‘damage’ might be. Somewhere between $300 & $400 was the general concesus and we were bang on. About $80 a head was all we paid for a fabulous 5 hours of exquisite food matched with gorgeous Clare Valley wine.
Of course we couldn’t possibly leave an Italian restaurant without throwing back a Limoncello. Not to everyone’s taste, with two out of four screwing their noses at the strong flavour. I was not one of them, and enjoyed two of the tasty little devils. A perfect finish to a fabulous experience.
My only comment about Seed is; i hope in the excitement of this, New Kid in Town, the locals don’t forget all the other wonderful eateries Clare Valley has to offer. It’s fantastic to see it getting so much support and i don’t mean to sound greedy but i want to make sure they all keep their place on our dining out list!
Not sure where i’ll head next but thank you, Seed Winehouse + Kitchen, you were amazing in every way and i truly hope you stick around for a long while yet.
Until next time…..