By Dave Brookes
With its bountiful pastures and ocean, South Australia has long had an enviable reputation for its produce and of course, chefs and restaurants whose dishes reflect all that is delicious and seasonal from this lucky slice of Australia.
Chester Osborne, he of tousled-hair and percussive shirts, is the perfect person to ask of a bit of local South Australian culinary knowledge.
As a fourth-generation winemaker for the famous McLaren Vale producer d’Arenberg, he is no stranger to the art of enjoying the finer things in life. One of the State’s most popular cellar doors also features the much loved d’Arry’s Verandah, a dining venue of which Chester is rightly proud.
“I’m pretty lucky to dine at our own restaurant d’Arry’s Verandah … ummm … a lot.” Osborne says.
“Our chef Peter Reschke does an amazing job for us, changing the menu every three months and focussing on the fantastic produce we have here in South Australia.”
“We’ve got the best pork dish in the world! Juicy without being fatty, it’s a knockout and at the moment, the jungle curry is fantastic. The restaurant’s signature dish is a lobster medallion with blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli in a lobster bisque. I’d pretty much be happy eating that at every meal. We are very lucky.”
“And of course if you are visiting McLaren Vale, the Willunga Farmers Market is on every Saturday and that is a great place to check out to stock up on some of the region’s best seasonal produce.”
In Adelaide, Osborne recommends Chianti Classico.
“I recently had a chicken heart and pigs ear pasta there that blew my mind. It’s been around for a while now and the food and service is absolutely on song. It’s got a great wine list too.”
As for laid-back local eateries Osborne loves Ahern Thai in Duthy Street in suburban Unley, just south of the city centre.
“The chef used to own a place on Unley Road. He retired for three years before reappearing and opening up Ahern Thai. Fantastic food and a really eccentric waiter. I just love the place.”
International carriers fly direct into Adelaide, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Malaysian Airlines.
Qantas flies from Sydney to Port Lincoln via Adelaide. Regional Express also has flights to Port Lincoln from Adelaide.
The drive from Adelaide takes roughly three hours to Port Augusta (a de facto gateway to the Peninsula); it’s a further three hours to Port Lincoln.