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St Hugo Restaurant @ Rowland Flat, South Australia

Good Day! Well this month I have the pleasure in embarking on an amazing journey to the land of amazing wines that would be music to your palate and soul!
Yes! It's the land of Shiraz- Barossa Valley!


It's an hours drive to the Barossa that is actually comprises of Barossa Valley and Eden Valley that has a graceful and picasso worthy of a view that would pinch yourself on the exquisite gift of the mother nature that promises impressive wines of amazing structure, complexity and bouquet! 


In this picturesque venue, we stopped by for our very first stop which is the St Hugo Winery located at the area called Rowland Flat and it was all surrounded with an endless streams of vineyards lining up to the skies! 
And in the middle of such a magnificent view, there lies a vintage appearance of a cottage that is the gateway to wine heaven! 
The gateway to wine heaven is called St Hugo Winery which is the heaven for all red wine lovers especially their Cabernet Sauvignon which is the holy grail of Coonawarra!
The outdoor scenery is amazing as you park the car at their driveway with the endless rows of vineyards framing the whole setting which complemented with the clear blue skies! With a beautiful weather that consists of sunny days with cooling winds that is great for the grapes and the vines growth!
The interior of this cottage exudes classy and a cosy feeling that has a living room of fireplace, the warm leather couch and a bar of wine that serves endless combination of wine flights for your drinking pleasure!


A little history about the St Hugo winery is that it is actually named under one of the grandson of the Gramp family which owns the Jacob's Creek winery; Louis Hugo Gramp which at a young age took over the family winery and business.. With his great skills and a proven prodigy, he brought the winery to a great height of success and excellence in its wines. Sadly, tragedy happens to the great Hugo that led to his early demise in 1938 from a plane tragedy that took lives of 3 greatest wine makers of the Barossa region.. To honor his great legacy, they have named after this winery his name additional St for good fortune. 

"Don't get me wrong, I admire elegance and have an appreciation of the finer things in life. But to me, beauty lies in simplicity."-Mark Hyman
Back to the present time!

After a historical walk through with Daniel the sommelier of St Hugo and alongside the impressive wine tasting session that features on the concept of past, present and future on both Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon wines that they made.. The tasting is an eye opening and fascinating experience for us as it not only talks about the wines that they made from the past and currently selling and also about their future wines which are now in the cellar and also the upcoming prospects of vintage 2017! It also reveals to us a massive amount of history which reflects immensely on their goals, their challenges, the family behind the St Hugo label and the tragic stories about their founder. 
I'm really excited and looking forward to their great future ahead with such excellent wines of  their Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz!


After a lovely and historical wine tastings of their Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon's, we are whisked away to their posh restaurant located on the upper floor which is also the same level as their comfy living room.. The whole interior of the restaurant itself is really spacious with the huge cobblestones framing the walls and we are given the awesome privilege of dining at the Chef's table with a specially crafted chef's menu lunch prepared for us.. 

Local Baguette & Butter 
We are seated and has this amazing upclose and personal view of the chef's in action.. While we watched the chef's diligently preparing our meals, we are served with a unique pre-lunch munchies which is their local baguette and hand churned butter! Talk about great importance on freshness and supporting local products!
This baguette is locally found in their Barossa bakeries and it is family owned.. 
The baguette is really fluffy and airy on the inside as you can see in the picture above but the exterior isn't too hard or painful to enjoy! The baguette alone is really delicious and addictive as well and the butter is really creamy and smooth with a hint of that umami flavour which is really unique in a butter!

2016 St. Helga Riesling 
For the first course to kick off  our lovely 5 course tasting menu with amazing wines to pair is the 2016 St Helga Riesling, Eden Valley.
 This is actually a surprise for me as I have always thought the St Hugo winery makes delicious and award wining reds and it didn't ever cross my mind that they produces whites as well.. This Riesling is an amazing aperitif to start the meal as on the nose it has this attractive perfume which exudes Kerosene, fresh zesty lemon and lime ,ripe and juicy peaches, apricot and honey suckle flowers and in terms of palate; it has a clean and delicate crisp acidity that is great as the starter drinks. It has an elegant finish with a side note of flinty from the soils in Eden Valley that mirrors greatly of the Mosel, Germany..


After a brief introduction from the chef on their aim on this crafted Chef's table lunch with their little touches on the dishes that they are proud and local ingredients that they want it to shine through on it's own! 
The first dish to start this delectable journey is the Smoked Kingfish, oyster cream, kohlrabi salsa and wakame crackers.. Their concept of this wine and food pairing is to match the food to the wine instead of the traditional approach of matching the wine to the food..
Smoked Kingfish 
This is an interesting approach on the wine and dine experience and the service was really prompt as after the food was served and explained then the wine came along smoothly.. The plating of this dish is really exquisite and after we document the memories, we had our first mouthful and it was really delicious as the kingfish was served raw with an elegant aroma of smokey in the nose and also on the palate.. The cube kohlrabi salsa does resembles a texture of a daikon that is really crunchy and earthy and surprisingly it complements excellently with the briney and luscious oyster cream and the raw and smokey kingfish! The wakame crackers are a lovely touch to complete all the elements as it brought out the umami and the seaweed notes to the kingfish! All the elements goes swimmingly with the wine that also has a flinty and zesty notes on it!
2012 St. Hugo Grenache Shiraz Mataro 
From the refreshing and floral white, we moved on to the 2nd wine which is the 1st red that we are given the pleasure for such a lovely lunch.. It is a 2012 St Hugo Grenache Shiraz Mataro..
The 2012 vintage is an amazing vintage for the entire Australian wine industry as it was truly a spectacular year as it has a mild weather with excellent harvest conditions that yields wine of grace and intensity..
This wine is a Rhone Valley blend which is usually a typical blend found in Southern Rhone or specifically Chateauneuf-du-pape.. This blend is adapted by the Barossa winemakers and it was a famous blend in Australia! This GSM wine has an attractive bright ruby red color and on the palate it has a plump, full and complex taste that is filled with ripe fruit flavours of raspberries, black berries and cherries that is complemented by silky smooth tannin and soft, elegant vanilla aroma of the oak!
Mushroom gnocchi 
From a refreshing and briney course, we moved on to the 2nd course which is the Mushroom Gnocchi, lambs lettuce and oyster mushroom..
This is truly a mushroom filled dish that would just make your mind boggle for a brief moment as we usually find a ricotta gnocchi or a potato gnocchi..

For the chef's in St Hugo kitchen they really take the grape varietals profile seriously and they came out with a mushroom craze dish that is fantastic!The mushroom gnocchi is really light and fluffy texture like a those fluffy cotton candy clouds in the sky! The mushroom gnocchi is paired well with the earthy and umami taste of the oyster mushroom! It was really subtle and the buttery dressing is a great touch to the umami and fluffy gnocchi that complements well with the notes of the GSM wine that has an earthy and fruit forward notes from the Mataro and Shiraz..

2012 St Hugo Private Collection Rowland Flat Shiraz 
The 3rd wine to accompany our stunning lunch is the 2012 St Hugo Private Collection Rowland Flat Shiraz.. This is actually one of the wines that I was given the pleasure to try out during the tasting session and the sommelier did mentioned that this wine would go amazingly with a fish dish.. I was actually quite shocked with the pairing considering that it is a bold and powerful wine!
Well this wine is one of the pride and joy from the St Hugo winery! Initially I thought they have only Cabernet Sauvignon as their star but once I nose the aroma of this Private Collection Shiraz is an amazing wine that has a beautiful and elegant aroma of eucalyptus, red cherries, plums and sweet baking spices such as the cinnamon, cardamom and also you can get the elegance in terms of it's silky smooth tannin that just glides to your tongue effortlessly!


The 3rd course is an interesting dish which is native to the Australian community that their fish is reminiscent towards the Sardines.. It is called Tommy Ruffs and it was a childhood thing amongst them.. 

Tommy Ruffs
This Tommy Ruffs is accompanied  by yuzu dressing, fennel and radish salad and barberries.. This dish does look really simple and would easily mistaken the tommy ruffs as a sardine but it brought out fond childhood memories to the fellow Aussies..
The dish is unique thing for me as most of the ingredients are only found locally in the Barossa Valley.. The tommy ruff is really a delicious dish with a slight oiliness from the top layer of the fish and the flesh of the fish is really lean and you can't find the bones as it was similar like the sardines but the chef treat it like a salmon and pin bone it.. The fennel salad which is an accompaniment is an added refreshing element for this dish that brought out the zesty notes and the barberries are really sweet and plump that complements so well with the elegant shiraz!

I can say that the dish complements the wine so well that it was a revelation as the norm of the wine and food pairing isn't always the most applicable rule as this dish gave me a shocking eye opening experience as the elegance and fruity notes of the shiraz complements well with the tommy ruffs and the fennel dish!

2008 St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon 
Totally in awe with the pairing of shiraz and slightly oily fish.. Now we moved on to the main attraction which is the 2008 St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon.. This wine is their pride and joy of the St Hugo winery and from the first sip of it, I do get it why as it was hailed from the Coonawarra region which is home of Cabernet Sauvignon!
From the first sip, you can taste the fine balance of the cabernet sauvignon from its silky and structured tannin and the sweet red and dark berry fruits that are plump and juicy and this wine also has a bold character with the vanilla and toasty notes that brought elegance to the dish!

The 4th course is the Roasted Spatchcock that is placed above a beautifully cooked bed of black beans and it was complemented with a luscious and silky smooth white polenta and finally topped of with a thin crispy fried roots and powdered egg..
 It do sounds a mouthful to express out but the first bite of it would be all worth it! Some may find it odd to be having a spatchock for lunch as it is a unique protein that belongs to the poultry family and surprisingly enough; it does taste oddly reminiscent to chicken! 

Roasted Spatchcock 
This roasted spatchcock are accompanied with black beans alongside creamy white polenta and it was sprinkled on with a beautiful roots and sprinkles of egg..
 In terms of presentation it was truly breathtaking that you would be mesmerized whereas on the other hand, you would be wondering about the suggested wine pairing with this dish together with a rather bold and powerful wine!

1970 St Hugo Tawny 
Tawny is one of the long standing Aussie export that mainly hails from the Barossa region as the beverage is one of the most popular and sought after drink during the 1850s as for them tawny is just another beverage to drink for dinner and they want something that can last very long and not spoiled easily as refrigeration back then was non-existent..
Tawny is basically an Aussie version of the Port from Portugal.. It has a very dark color with a tinge of brown caramel color alongside the sticky and mouth coating texture on the mouthfeel and it is a very sweet wine which has a pronounced notes of caramel, sweet baking spiced like cinnamon, dried fruits like figs and plums and all that truly made the tawny a perfect as a digestive or even as for a dessert drink to complete the entire meal..
This wine category is a long lasting wine that mainly have a longevity in proper conditions and in the Barossa region, there aren't many wineries that specialize it other than Seppetsfield!
 So this is a great treat to be able to try out a wine of history!
"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."-Samuel Johnson



That's what the last course is truly is that is just stunning!
The last course is the Citrus, Avocado, Chickpea and nuts that was paired with the 1970 St Hugo Tawny which a unique twist of an interesting dessert!

Citrus, Avocado, chickpea and nuts 
This stunning dessert is truly unique as the chef is really creative in reusing the ingredients that would make you filled with laughter and amazing memories! It was an intricate dessert to create and plate as we saw the numerous steps by the chef in plating it on this gorgeous plate that have filled an array of mise en place that is a combination of elements coming from an array of forms! 

It was really colorful and natural as well and it's all sourced locally.. Beneath the thick shards is the generous snow of finely grated nuts and the dried shavings of crunchy and nutty coconut and finally it arrives to the grand finale which is the citrus caviar and the avocado mousse! The 2 shards are actually made by the liquids of the chickpea and it was really a genius way of utilising all the ingredients and not wasting it as we always do.. 
The liquid from the chickpea has an intense nutty and creamy texture of the chickpea was really delicious and it was clever of them to make it into a hard yet chewy meringue to enjoy and pair well with the whole citrus inspired dessert!
The fruity and sourish grapefruit alongside the nutty notes is a great match with the 1970 St Hugo Tawny that has a sticky and velvety mouthfeel together with the profile of caramel, dried fruits, honey and almond..

Verdict: 

Amazing dishes that heavily focuses on local produces within the region 
Fantastic food and wine pairing that challenges the norm 

Ambience:4.5/5
Food:5/5
Price:3/5
Service:4/5

St Hugo Restaurant,
2141 Barossa Valley Way, 
Rowland Flat, 
South Australia 
5352
Australia

Opening Hours: 

Lunch 
Thursday-Monday 
From 12pm

Dinner 
Friday & Saturday 
From 6pm

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