Modern Australian Restaurant in Bridgewater, Australia: Bridgewater Mill Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Bridgewater Mill
Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch Thur - Mon
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 8 8339 3422
Address: Mt Barker Road
Bridgewater, South Australia, 5155
Country: Australia
Food Style: Modern Australian

We have long been fans of this remodelled and rebuilt water mill tucked in the Adelaide Hills about twenty minutes from the centre of the city. We have also been long time fans of the current chef Le Tu Thai.
When he was the chef at Nediz Tu we had two of our most memorable meals ever. So, on a recent trip to South Australia this was near the top of our list for a visit.
Stone, slate and huge wooden beams dominate the inside of this appealing space. If you can tear yourself away from tasting the Petaluma wines you will be seated at a comfortably large table clothed in good linen and set with cutlery to match the occasion. Water bottles are carried to the table by professional, knowledgeable and friendly waiting staff.
But it is the food and wine you come here for. We decided to pay homage to the wine making skills of Petaluma and ordered a 1982 riesling as we guessed (correctly) that it would match some of the Asian flavours that dominated the starters.
It was difficult to choose the starters, however. We saw the individual oyster soufflés heading for another table and were tempted. However, we opted for the soup of the day because it sounded difficult to execute but full of promise. We also decided that we couldn't pass up the scampi with egg yolk ravioli and asparagus.
The soup turned out to be one of the best single dishes that we have tried in the past twelve months! A hot and sour broth was based on coconut and snapper. Placed in the centre of the large, shallow bowl was a scallop shell with three beautifully cooked scallops with roe intact. In the broth swam small pieces of absolutely perfect pineapple and slices of celery-like taro stem. Decorating was finely shredded kaffir lime leaf and long leaf coriander. The whole was better than the sum of its parts. It was a beautifully balanced and harmonious symphony of colours, textures and flavours. Wonderful!
The other starter was almost as good. Four perfectly grilled scampi halves were topped by a single ravioli filled with runny egg yolk and, in turn, by three lovely asparagus spears. The scampi were stunningly fresh and perfectly cooked. There is little room for error with these fickle crustacea. Two or three second too long on the heat can spoil their texture completely.
The main courses were very good and would have shone in many other restaurants but they did not quite match the virtuosity shown in the starters. A braised veal shank with tomato, polenta and salsa verde saw the meat cooked perfectly - literally falling off the bone. However we felt that the accompanying sea of tomato was too concentrated. A dish of snapper saw a plate with a large, thick slab of delightful fish topped by a lovely tomato chutney sitting on a similarly thick cross-section of fennel that had been cooked to the right degree of softness. This was all surrounded by a chardonnay sauce which we felt was surplus to requirements as the tomato chutney provided enough saucing and the right degree of contrast for the dish.
For dessert we thoroughly enjoyed a mulberry clafoutis but felt that the flavour of the pistachio ice cream served in a side dish overwhelmed the delicate flavours.
Overall this was a great, even exciting, meal with great service and a charming, relaxed atmosphere.
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