Stunning vineyard views, amazing wines and beers, plus the friendly and joyful service that makes the Ekhidna Wines cellar door such a special place to visit, are all integral part of the dining experience at their McLaren Vale restaurant.
Fri - Sun | 11:30 - 17:00
wine & beer tasting available
$32 - $45 | mains
$90 | 6 course chef's menu
0499 002 633
67 Branson Rd | McLaren Vale
Stunning vineyard views, great wines and beers, plus friendly & joyful service - all that makes the Ekhidna Wines cellar door and restaurant a special place to visit.
Choose between the fine dining style set-up in the restaurant or, our pick here, go for the tapas style lighter lunch in the cellar door courtyard ...
Ekhidna Wines – it always has been a favourite of ours, offering brilliant dark red wines (and some really lovely dark full-bodied beers) and in the past also excellent food, with great value for money. In their latest iteration of the restaurant, it seems to us that they haven’t quite got it right in terms how they want to position their food offering.
But before going into that in more detail, let’s start with the cellar door and restaurant venue. Just a few hundred meters off the main road between McLaren Vale and Willunga is their new home – bang in the middle of vineyards, with stunning views over vines, with the hills almost ‘towering’ in the background. The full floor to ceiling windows in the restaurant make the best of those views – with a big LOVE sign outside signalling their focus on hosting weddings.
The cellar door is a wide-open space, now also including a large covered outdoor area with plenty of room for seated tastings (barrel top tables) and some nibbles. The young and bubbly crew, all dressed in black and prominently featuring the Ekhidna logo, will look after you in what we would call the typical joyful and friendly Ekhidna way. Both, wines and their beers, are available for tasting with the now standard tasting fees. The food available as part of the cellar door goes well beyond the usual platters – think Mushroom and Thyme Arancini and so on – and are a great option if you are after a smaller casual lunch.
After you tasted some of their wines and picked your choice of the good stuff to have for your lunch (there is a take-away price for wine and a slightly higher restaurant price – that is unless you go for the very reasonably priced matching wine option) head over to the restaurant. As said, stunning views from all tables but otherwise the restaurant does look a bit tired. Maybe that’s just the carpet, still the same from the time the building was used as a Yoga studio and brings back memories for Friederike.
Now to the food and our previous comment that they may not quite have figured out where they are positioned. With a 2-course option as a minimum and the pricing of that, they are very much in (or very close to) the fine dining winery restaurants we are lucky to have in McLaren Vale (think The Currant Shed, d’Arry’s Verandah, Victor’s Place, etc.).
And whilst the food we had on the day (market-beef with charred cabbage and oven-baked chicken breast) was actually really good and enjoyable, it wasn’t quite comparable to what we are used to from their competitors; we wouldn't describe it as truly fine dining but as hearty and good, even excellent, if it was a casual place. To add to that, the staff had mixed up one of our main courses and the beef wasn’t warm enough – but in fairness the staff were super friendly and very generous in their recovery.
To sum it up – a little bit underwhelmed by the restaurant but we are harsh critics here and we will most certainly come back. And definitely worth to call into the cellar door for a tasting and to enjoy some of the excellent starters on the deck
At Karawatha Cottages you can choose from three luxurious cottages - each individually furnished and fully equipped - ideal for a short-break or weekend getaway in McLaren Vale - or a longer stay to explore all the food & wine, our beaches and the Fleurieu Peninsula
Already decided on your favourite cottage?
There is no better place to book your McLaren Vale accommodation than direct with us - better rates, later check-out, a complimentary set of wine pourer and the opportunity to organise extras (from cheese platters and bubbles to bespoke experiences) already today.