I have always said throughout my life that it is a good thing to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, there really is not much that surprises me these days. I mean after all, who would have thought the world would be crippled by a global pandemic in 2020? I would not have guessed for one minute that a restaurant on a farm/winery along a country road just outside Augusta would indeed catch me off guard and surprise the hell out of me. Glenarty Road did just that. Thank goodness for nice surprises!
With all the travel restrictions around Australia, Lisa and I are loving getting out and about in our own state. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, we had a great weekend away in Augusta with amazing Australian hospitality in the shape of Wisteria Cottage. If you want to know more about that please read my previous blog https://www.townaround.blog/post/wisteria-causing-hysteria-in-augusta We stayed at Wisteria cottage again, and were not disappointed.
I had been frantically googling restaurants in Augusta for about a week. The last time we tried the Hamlyn Bay winery but wanted to give something else a go this time. So, when Glenarty Road flashed up in my web search, my curiosity was roused. It was only a twenty-minute drive from Wisteria Cottage, so it ticked the convenience box. The sample menu looked good. There was a three-course option consisting of two entrées and a main course. There was also a vegetarian option. Choice made, I filled out the simple online booking form and the deal was done.
Our table was booked for two-fifteen, the drive out to Glenarty Rd was a pleasant one along a winding country road. On arrival, there were quite a few cars parked up. It was busy but not packed.
We were greeted by a friendly member of staff who showed us to our table and suggested we might like to try some wines. I am always a huge fan of wine tasting before a meal, so eagerly accepted the offer. It was a bit too warm for trying reds but tasted some amazing whites and roses’ The Glenarty Road field blend was incredible. Razor sharp citrus notes that softened to a pleasant stone fruit zing on the tongue. We chose this to have with our meal.
OK, where to start with the food? I guess the beginning is always good. We were served some homemade sour dough with a generous bowl of curd cheese nestled in a punchy olive oil. The bread was amazing and wow!! That curd was out of this world. Scooping up huge dollops of the stuff on big chunks of the sour dough, it wasn’t just an entrée, it was an experience.
Next up was the second part of the first entrée. I had charred lamb ribs, dolmades, and garden pickles. Lisa went for the veggie option which was skewered oyster mushrooms instead of the ribs and a veggie dolmades.
First up, lets get straight into the main event of this entrée. The lamb ribs. I am not joking when I say, my mouth is actually watering as I am writing this. The meat was sticky and juicy. The fat had been clearly charred over coals or some other medium and was beautifully crispy. Cutlery was supplied for this dish but get outta here! Of course, I was going to pick them up and get every last piece of goodness off those bones. The dolmades came in as a close second for the hero title. Minced lamb and herbs wrapped lovingly in a vine leaf, the last time I had them this good was in a small taverna in Crete! A tangy homemade ketchup and some pickled baby radishes brought it all together. Sensational! Lisa’s mushroom dish was another star performer. Silky oyster mushrooms skewered on a sprig of rosemary.
Cue Entrée number two. A Beetroot and Feta Terrine. This was something I have never had before, and I am now asking the question as to why? This was a layered dream of a dish. Slices of soft silky beetroot sandwiching delicately tangy feta that was coloured a subtle pink from the juice of the beetroot. served with some roasted roots and garden leaves. Taste and presentation were faultless.
At this point of the meal. I was already thinking that we had stumbled on to something special. So far, the food had been some of the best I’ve eaten. The attention to detail was what one would expect in a top-notch fine dining restaurant. There was different cutlery for every dish
The service was exemplary. Time was taken by the friendly staff to explain every element of each dish, this was done with clear pride and passion for the food they were serving. Fine dining is not just about the food, it is about being made to feel special. We were starting to feel like a million dollars!
And with that, the main course was served. The Glenarty Road Lamb. Two huge cuts of lamb, a combination of fresh and fermented kohlrabi, (a bit like a turnip), snow peas, various greens. What about the sauce I hear you cry! A deliciously fresh Salsa Verde turned the dish from an Oscar winning movie into an epic. This really was outstanding. I was wondering how the previous dishes could be topped and was left amazed that they were. The lamb was perfection. Its an old cliché, but the meat really did melt in the mouth. A wafer-thin layer of fat was once again, expertly rendered and added a sticky silkiness. The medley of vegetables held hands together and sung Kumbaya. Not a whisper of conflict to be found on that plate. The Salsa Verde whilst known for its acid tongue gave the whole thing a fresh zing. This really was next level. So totally indulged in this meal.
I didn’t even notice what Lisa was served till I was halfway through mine. She had a fresh pasta dish with some lovely seasonal vegetables. I am using the word “fresh” far too much here, but it really was the word of the day. I am going out on a limb, and going to say, that it was the best lamb dish I have ever had…. There I said it!
For an extra ten bucks, a Kitchen Baked Cheesecake with farm citrus and berries was on offer. We were both stuffed, but in the interest of this review, we felt like we had to get one to share.
Once again, perfection reigned. The filling was smoother than Smoothy McSmooth, the winner of the most smooth competition from Smoothlington! The base was thick and indulgent. The sweetness was perfectly balanced by the berries and citrus. There was a small pond of juice that also had a pleasant conversation with all the other elements. A perfect finish to a perfect meal.
We left Glenarty road with full and satisfied bellies, and of course quite a few bottles of wine…I did say they were good didn’t I!