Lunch with a view Adelaide – Star of Greece Port Willunga
For someone who loves to travel, developing a fear of flying is possibly the worst thing that could happen – particularly when you live in Australia.
Getting anywhere out of the country means flying or taking a slow boat. Getting anywhere inside the country means a very long drive. But for a prolonged period, the latter is exactly what we did, and we headed for wine country.
From our base in Melbourne, it’s about a 10 hour drive to Adelaide – central to some of the best wine regions in Australia. Less than an hour south of Adelaide is McLaren Vale, noted for its fine red wines. We made a couple of trips, finding much to enjoy – both eating and drinking.
Driving back to Adelaide on a previous trip, we headed towards the coast road and drove through such areas as Aldinga Beach and Port Willunga. We came across a restaurant right on the cliffs overlooking St Vincent Gulf, called Star of Greece.
This is lunch with a view Adelaide-style. It has to be said there aren’t too many exciting restaurants in the city of Adelaide with what Greedy Girl would rate as a world-class view but this is superb – especially on a slightly cool but clear day. One imagines it would be also a very attractive place to watch the sun set. Best of all, it’s a very easy 40 minute drive from the city.
Despite the name, this isn’t Greek food. Star of Greece was a three-masted ship that went down off this coast in a storm in 1888. Apparently it’s a very popular wreck to dive and it’s said parts of it can still be seen from the shore at low tide. The food is, however, described as Mediterranean. As you’d expect there’s an emphasis on seafood.
Given we were driving, we didn’t proceed with our usual bottle of champagne to accompany lunch. Greedy Girl took a glass of Pol Roger, one of her favourites, while gluttonous husband sipped on a pale ale from the Goodieson Brewery in McLaren Vale. Our table was in the Rolls Royce position – tucked into the corner projecting out over the cliff.
And so we settled in for a small feast. The main dining room was dominated by large tables for family celebrations, with tables for two hugging the windows. It seemed everyone was celebrating something. We were celebrating Saturday lunch.
Having made our selections, we were offered an amuse bouche – smoked avocado with salmon rillette, atop a white rice cracker. Crunchy, tangy, salty. All good.
Gluttonous husband decided he should partake of oysters as an additional treat and had two little sweet beauties from Coffin Bay (also in South Australia).
He followed that with an exceptionally delicate-looking dish. This was yellowfin tuna sashimi with wasabi, seed cracker, tobiko (Japanese flying fish roe), pickled kohlrabi and coriander cress. It was a great contrast in flavours and textures. He was well pleased.
Greedy Girl chose Kangaroo Island salt and pepper squid, served simply with citrus mayo and a wedge of lime. The squid was very tender and the dish perfectly enjoyable.
Next up was a special, pictured at the top of this post. It was a Hervey Bay scallop (definitely a long way from South Australia) served with wild rice, a thin slice of cured chorizo, grapefruit and herbs. Quite delicious and the texture of the wild rice was particularly enjoyable. Did the scallop need all the other elements? Possibly not, but still it went down a treat.
It was time for our mains. Greedy Girl took one of her all-time favourite fish – luckily in season this time of year – King George whiting from Kangaroo Island. This is seriously tasty fish. Not wanting to have any other elements to take away from the flavour, it was ordered grilled and served with hand cut chips, a green salad and a very good tartare sauce. It was a lovely combination, but the fish itself was just a tad dry.
Gluttonous husband opted for the other fish main, a blue-eye trevalla (also known as blue-eye cod) which is a species only found in southern waters. It was served with heirloom carrots, golden beetroot, green beans, a fondant potato and caper onion salsa. It’s a lot going on for a fish course and, for the most part, it was quite enjoyable. Gluttonous husband liked the potatoes and most of the veggies – although some of the heirloom carrots were unedible. Again, the fish was ever so slightly overdone.
Given there was no need to rush out the door, we opted to share a dessert to finish. The description is particularly tantalising – hazelnut chocolate, peanut butter & vanilla ice cream sandwich, peanut butter mousse, salted caramel. And here it is:
The chocolate slice was very, very cold and almost impossible to cut through with a spoon. It was a good combination but the hazelnut overwhelmed the chocolate. Greedy Girl is very greedy for chocolate and loves a rich, dark hit.
And we were done. We paid the bill, which was quite reasonable given the quality of food, service and ambience and hit the road back to Adelaide.
Star of Greece understandably attracts a solid audience of people with something to celebrate. It’s definitely worth a side trip from Adelaide to experience very solid cooking of world-class ingredients in a beautiful setting.
Star of Greece
1 Esplanade, Port Willunga, South Australia