REGION – McLaren Vale, South Australia
GOOGLE MAPS – click here
All relevant details including contacts and menus www.coriole.com
SPECIAL EVENTS – The Coriole Music Festival 4-5 MAY 2019 www.coriolemusicfestival.com
OPEN Thursday to Monday 12 noon – 2.30 pm
CHEF Tom Reid
The Coriole cellar door has a confidence about it that has not found the necessity to revamp to the specifications of a newly employed marketing person with absolutely no understanding of the brand. The garden that surrounds the cellar door and dining area is one of those magical gardens that annually reseeds itself and blooms for months to the enjoyment of all who visit.
This tumble of unstructured beauty is one of my favourite styles of garden. Arum lilies, sublimely elegant, superbly 30s, stocks in a proliferation of colours humming with bees, lavender, the exquisite opium poppies with their ballerina skirts are just the beginning of a long list of beautiful blooms in this wonderful tiered garden that also provides a natural amphitheater for performances.
Over the years, we have attended a number of performances at Coriole and always left feeling that it was perfect. Importantly, our overseas guests were always enchanted with the whole experience.
Simple without any compromise to modernism, the restaurant has glorious 360° views. Whether you are looking over the garden, in the garden or looking over the vineyards the view is wonderful in any season.
We were looking for a very light lunch and did not opt for the chef’s menu. It is always disappointing for a chef wishing to strut their stuff, and not opting for the chef’s menu is not always met with understanding.
There is so much of my early cooking career that I would rather forget and count myself lucky that I was never punished for my less than brilliant beginnings. This is the reason why I especially celebrate the maturity of all chefs. Tom Ried’s cooking now has a confidence that only comes with time and embraces local, regional and seasonal.
Firstly bread; it goes without saying that the Coriole EVO is one of Australia’s best. Consistent over decades and in the 2017 season, when great EVOs have been in very short supply, Coriole remains in the silver or gold class. The orange infused butter was tasty but, for butter lovers could have been at least twice the size. This is not a complaint, but an observation. I detest being charged for bread; yes of course the cost is factored in, but being blatantly charged for it really pisses me off. The bread, clearly house-made, was stupendous!
Shaved Fleurieu line caught squid tapioca, macadamias,
wild radish rabes, umami dressing 
The squid ink tapioca crisps can be very tricky…let sit for more than five minutes they lose their crispness and morph into something soggy and dreary. Whilst as chefs we know this, I think more front of house staff should encourage diners not to delay eating and enjoy a dish like this at its very best.
The dish was prettily presented and the squid was as sweet and as good as our family’s whiting bait, (if you can ever prize any from them). Shaved paper thin it was super fresh and not smothered by the many other ingredients of the dish, clean transparent and perfect. The umami dressing was like little skinny ocean worms crawling across the dish…the dish was excellent, but would have been further improved if the macadamia crush at the bottom had been roasted before crushing. Minor observations we loved the complexity of this dish.
Coorong mullet escabeche Port Lincoln mussels, fennel, wood sorrel
I always want to laugh out loud when I see sour sobs in any form on a dish. It reminds me of my childhood when it was endlessly ‘khul’ to suck their stems…but in this instance the few leaves were pointless and the dish would have would have benefited from the acidic sourness of a small amount of finely sliced chopped sour sob stem (pretty much in the same manner as you would prep chives) mixed through. None the less this was a dish of great elegance, contrasting textures and flavours. The seafood was fresh and mullet and mussels perfectly cooked as was the finely shave fennel perfectly prepared; all complimented with a restrained lemon beurre blanc. We like a bit more salt but, also admit to having what is now a defined Asian/Chinese palate where one expects a little more salt. Salt as we all know is a very personal thing and I do not think a restaurant is in any way diminished by allowing diners the opportunity to season to their taste. But diners who season their food before tasting…well, they should be punished by not allowing them bread or dessert!
A dish of complex textures and balanced flavours that respected all the components; we also really liked this dish.
Charred Brussel sprouts confit duck leg, warrigal greens, salsa verde
This is where the piscatarian, my former sous from Mistress Augustine’s, Fiona Pawelski, stepped in and we asked for this dish without the duck. Whilst I could imagine the dish enrichened with confit duck leg it was in no way diminished for the lack of it. With a few exceptions, like Orana, the word charred frequently leaves me with a feeling of dread, suspecting that most likely it will be burnt on a gas grill with none of the flavour that charcoal can give. However, in this instance Ried’s restrained hand played with none of that nonsense and the lovely textural differences with the slippery Warrigal greens and Brussel sprouts, that had been cooked just long enough to maintain a little crunch with a few outer leaves that appeared to have been blanched and fried crispy added another texture…all with a generous amount of salsa verde. Unsurprisingly, since they are a winter vegetable, nearly every menu in Adelaide has a dish with Brussel sprouts executed with varying degrees of success. Ried’s is certainly one of the best.
Ried’s food is modestly priced and delicious. We are constantly reminded of the many average cafés where similar amounts of money can be spent without a speck of comparable enjoyment and urge everyone to support those establishments where the loving care is so blatantly obvious.
We did not have dessert or coffee, but their three desserts read well and of course their family association with the iconic South Australian Woodside Cheesewrights is very evident. We feel confident that it would be of an equal standard.
Coriole extra virgin olive oil over met years has set a standard of enviable consistency and can be purchased from their cellar door.
Relaxed, but professional…excellent product knowledge food and wine.
Coriole has been a groundbreaker in dry land and organic and biodynamic viticulture practice, planting Italian varietals long before the realisation dawned on others that these varietals were so suited to our climate.
Applaud a winery list that has no hesitation in confidently presenting a few comparisons from other houses. Coriole’s ‘International Wines by the Bottle’…. lists one of our favourite Champagnes Bollinger NV for a modest $160 AUD…but with a total of nine well-priced choices there is the option for extravagance from France and Italy. Really they serve to remind one just what amazingly good value for money Coriole wines are.
Coriole’s excellent wines remain astonishingly affordable both in their restaurant, and from their cellar door where there is also the opportunity to buy back vintages including their signature Lloyd Reserve Shiraz.
Coriole is famous for its music festivals and support of the arts e.g., Romeo and Juliet pictured above left; we highly recommend that you join their mailing list. Tickets sell out quickly and they are truly world-class events…click here