A Restaurant with Style – Maxwell Wines
by Mariette Morris, 2019 Wine Media Cadet
Maxwell Wines is situtaed in the rolling hills of McLaren Vale, nestled between the sea in the west, and the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges in the East. Maxwell’s restaurant has a broad range of dishes on offer, with the highlights being two quite different, but equally exciting dining experiences.
The first is the option to enjoy a casual meal on the newly enclosed deck that overlooks the winery. The internal floor to ceiling window between the deck and the winery, allows guests to view wine production during their meal, adding a sense of atmosphere to the occasion. The menu has a particular focus on share plates and grazing platters which feature the finest quality local produce from McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The second option allows diners to enjoy a formal degustation of either four or six courses, led by Chef Fabian Lehmann. Consistent with the focus of the restaurant, this special culinary experience which takes place in the Dining Room at Maxwell’s, is designed to showcase the best local produce in a fine dining environment.
German born Chef, Fabian Lehmann joined Maxell’s three years ago, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team after spending much of his working life cooking in fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe.
Maxwell’s also engaged Anatoly Patrick Architecture and interior architect, Claire Kneebone to re-design and renovate the dining room earlier in the year, and the result is stunning.
The new dining room is filled with natural light that streams through the large full height windows. There is a real sense of natural warmth and luxury thanks to the beautiful limestone walls and the natural tones of the wood and leather used throughout the space. The Chef’s Table in the centre of the dining Room is made from marble, limestone and tiles, adding to the high-end feel but retaining the warmth of the room.
The Maxwell food philosophy has a real focus on seasonal and local produce – whatever they can grow, they use. They have an extensive kitchen and herb garden and anything that they can’t grow themselves, they source from local suppliers.
Mushrooms are always on the menu at Maxwell’s, thanks to a limestone cave that was dug into the hillside at the back of the winery in 1916. Maxwell’s have really only been using it for cultivating mushrooms in recent years. It had always been used for bespoke private events, but now it serves both purposes.
Over the last few years Maxwell’s have worked hard to build a team of exceptional front of house and kitchen staff including the addition of Pastry Chef Jason Brown. Three important elements; a talented team, a focus on fresh and local produce and a stunning venue have all culminated in a win at this years Best of Wine Tourism Awards for the ‘Best Restaurant.’
An award that Fabian and Managing Director, Jeremy Maxwell, both agree is an award that has been ‘three years in the making.’ Fabian said,
“It is great to get the team recognition. Its amazing to receive the award, it motivates us to push for more”
At the moment the Maxwell restaurant team is working hard on their menu concepts for Tasting Australia to be held in ‘Mad March’ next year. Maxwell’s definitely have the atmosphere, the talent and the fresh produce down pat, so keep an eye out for this triple threat!