Review: The Kitchen Door, McLaren Vale

Kitchen Door at Penny’s Hill Winery
08 8556 4000
Main Rd
McLaren Vale, SA 5171

Having a relaxing lunch at a winery has to be right near the top of my list of favourite things to do. I love it so. There’s just something so charming, so luxurious and so beautiful about lunch at a winery. So every chance I get (which is everytime I go wine touring) I try to book lunch at a winery.

Except this time, I didn’t quite get a booking at a place that had been recommended. Damn. That’s how we ended up at The Kitchen Door in Mclaren Vale.

But that’s alright. As long as it’s a winery, surrounded by natural beauty, and has wine… then well. I’m alright with it! Check, check, check, and we settled in for lunch at The Kitchen Door.

We arrived somewhat early for our reservation so whiled away the time at the cellar door tasting wines. Being the driver, I had to be mindful of how much I actually drank. 4 tasting samples = 1 standard drink. And it’s very, very easy to hit the 3 standard drinks mark. So you gotta be careful. And careful I was. Knowing full well that I’d be drinking a full glass at lunch, I skipped pretty much all of the tastings except for the riesling. Good choice. That’s what I ended up with for lunch!

The Kitchen Door had a tasting platter going on. However, it was using the format of all or nothing. Which means, either your whole table had the tasting platter, or none of you did as it was designed to share. Interesting, however the table wasn’t quite sure they wanted the tasting platter. Which, turned out to be really funny because after we were done ordering for all of us, we had all picked different dishes from the tasting platter and if you put it together….

At any rate, here’s what we had!

The ratatouille tart – $15.

I don’t know if I would actually call it a tart. An open tart, maybe? At any rate, this was tasty but not very filling. At that size, you don’t exactly expect it to be either. Simple, easy eating, light fluffy pastry. Yum. A great starter to any meal, I’d be tempted to do this myself at home too! I reckon they’d make great finger food. I think it was actually one of the better dishes of the day, really.

Chicken and Crab Salad

Very beautiful dish, but sadly, I couldn’t taste the crab. All chicken. I wasn’t entirely taken by it too which was a pity as the description was really quite gorgeous. Blue Swimmer Crab, shocked K.I. Abalone, flat beans, puffed black rice, star anise and basil. Doesn’t that sound gorgeous? But it really didn’t taste quite as gorgeous. It was a bit dry, bit bland though one of my travelling companions, E, really seem to like the puffed black rice.

Pan Fried Crumbed Pork Fillet

We then moved onto the pork which won main of the day, in my books. Beautifully moist, it was quite the treat. Not much crackling available, but I am quite the crackling fiend.

Silver Whiting

I didn’t really like this. It was bland, the flavours didn’t mesh and it was just… not that great. It wasn’t bad, but it really wasn’t memorable either. Something about the flavours just didn’t work out. I don’t quite know what, but it just didn’t work. Alas.

The mains and starters had been shared between 3 of us, so we still had quite a bit of room for dessert. I’m always keen to get desserts when I’m out at the wineries, so after a quick look over the dessert menu, we decided to get the dessert platter. I actually can’t remember what’s on it other than the chocolate souffle as it was the one thing that was causing a huge wait on the platter. See, they make this to order, which is fine but I wasn’t quite aware of how long a souffle takes to make… so we were waiting for quite a bit. Lesson learnt!

As for the desserts, they were nice. They weren’t wow. And that souffle, sorry to say, wasn’t quite worth waiting for.

All in all, go for the mains, don’t get fish and desserts and drink heaps of wine! You’ll be rocking. Oh and I’ve heard they serve a killer lamb. I would quite like to try that!

Kitchen Door at Penny's Hill Winery on Urbanspoon


  1. Quite a bit of misses there… But the dishes look really pretty!
    Michelle chin recently posted..Hong Kong: Hoi King Heen @ Grand Stanford Intercontinental, Tsim Sha Tsui East

  2. The fish looked amazing even though it was bland :P
    msihua recently posted..Vue de Monde & Lui Bar @ Rialto Towers, Melbourne CBD – Express Lunch Experience

  3. Oh that is a shame about the fish. But yes, it looks beautiful!
    Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg recently posted..Gingernut biscuits

  4. I went here just recently and loved the pork too! For dessert I had the nougatine parfait which was lovely. My mother in law had the souffle and I’m pretty sure that they told us it was a 20 minute wait when she ordered it – most places do, or they have it written on the menu – saves people getting fidgety!
    Alex recently posted..Victory Hotel, Sellicks Hill

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