Breakfast, Dessert, Dinner, Events, Italian, Lunch, Mexican, Modern Australian, On The Road, South Australia, travelshowandtell
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Kangaroo Island, South Australia

DSC_0574-2

We were lucky enough to go on a fantastic three-day feast bonanza tour of Kangaroo Island organised by the South Australian Tourism Committee. We even got to nose about McLaren Vale for a bit before heading to the island, squeezing in two wineries as well as lunching at one of them.

KI, as the locals call it, is situated a mere 15km from South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, which means it’s just a 30-minute flight (by Regional Express Airlines) or a 45-minute ferry ride (by SeaLink) from the mainland. Surprisingly close!

Breakfasts

Sea Spray Cafe

Sea Spray Cafe

Sea Spray Cafe

Sea Spray Cafe is bright and cheerful place with vases of daisies gracing each table; a lovely way to start one’s day. We ordered a surprisingly large blueberry pancakes ($10.50), bacon & egg burger ($9.95) topped with grilled onion and home-made chutney, and Sea Spray breaky ($16.50) with bacon, sausages, and eggs of our choice.

Helen added a side of bacon ($2) to her pancakes… not going to lie, I looked on enviously – everything is better with bacon, even pancakes!

Roger’s Deli & Cafe

Roger's Deli & Cafe

Roger’s Deli & Cafe

It seems to be a thing on KI to have cafes to also double as something else. Sea Spray is connected to an art / souvenir store, while Roger’s indoor dining tables are set up by the front windows of a newsagency. It was a bit surreal having breakfast while reading titles like “150 Google Tricks You Never Knew!!”.

The omelettes ($15 for basic with cheese topping and 2 slices of toast, $2 for additional toppings) were ridiculously generous in size for breakfast, while I was spoilt with the addition of syrup, cream, and ice cream to my pancakes ($16.95) – complete with strawberries and, oddly enough, a sugar base.

The bacon and egg foccacia ($9.95) comes with cheese, tomato, and cracked pepper – I think I’d be done for breakfast and lunch if I finished this beast up!

Sea Spray Cafe
52 Thomas Wilson St
Penneshaw, SA, 5222
Ph: (08) 8553 1500

Roger’s Deli & Cafe
76 Dauncey St
Kingscote, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 2053

Lunches

d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant
d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, of d’Arenburg Cellar Door, overlooks a lush vineyard in McLaren Vale and has some pretty interesting (and perhaps unusual) dishes on offer.

Snapper Broth & Spanish Queen Olives ($6)

Snapper Broth & Spanish Queen Olives ($6)

The amuse bouche is a snapper broth with yuzu pearls, bonito flakes, and garden-fresh peas. The salty, distinct bonito flavour almost dominates if it weren’t for the brightness of the peas.

There were almonds in the hot stuff Spanish Queen olives and was served with lime aioli. I liked how it wasn’t greasy and could easily see myself demolishing them while watching TV or reading.

Oysters and Beef Tartare ($25)

Oysters and Beef Tartare ($25)

The oysters were done in three ways: natural, kim chi, and omelette with smoked ocean trout. The kim chi and omelette looked interesting, but most of the table agreed that oysters in its natural juiciness were the best (they’re still on the iffy list for me).

Helen’s tangy beef tartare came with paprika picante, raw egg yolk and a white anchovy & parsley salad.

Duck ($37), Lamb Brains ($23), and Snapper ($38)

Duck ($37), Lamb Brains ($23), and Snapper ($38)

The succulent duck leg and breast , accompanied by daikon, radish, beetroot, citrus salad, radish cake, and star anise marmalade.

I’ve never had brains before, though mum had tried to get me to eat it when I was younger (“It’ll make you smarter!”), so I watched with some trepidation as the fried d’Arry’s Dorper lamb brains descended onto the table… and it wasn’t even my dish! It was served with du Puy lentil, mint, pickled walnut salad, and toasted walnut mayonnaise. I tried a tiny bit of it and was surprised at how creamy it was, as well as being a light pink in colour (I think I was expecting grey).

The baked snapper fillet was well-seasoned and perfectly cooked.

Lobster with Crab and Prawn Ravioli ($30)

Lobster with Crab and Prawn Ravioli ($30)

The prettiest dish had to go to the lobster medallion with blue swimmer crab & prawn ravioli and lobster bisque. I was immensely surprised at the amount of juicy, meaty lobster served up and loved the vibrant, salty flavours.

Doughnut and Stick Rice Pudding (both $17)

Doughnut ($17) and Stick Rice Pudding

Dessert was a lovely affair of nougat doughnut with saffron honey ice cream, pistachio croquant, and Turkish delight, and sticky rice pudding with lime & ginger curd, lychee sorbet, and coconut crisp.

Passionfruit Souffle ($17)

Passionfruit Souffle ($17)

One of my dessert weaknesses is souffle – its fluffy goodness is just too hard to ignore. Even better is when there is cream to add!

Kangaroo Island Source
Kangaroo Island Source was established by Kate Sumner to promote KI’s local produce through gourmet catering, cooking school, and food products, such as spice paste, chutneys, and relishes. We were extremely fortunate to have Kate cook lunch for us and picnicked at an amazing private property.

What a view!

What a view!

Can you imagine having this as your backyard?! It’s definitely a view you don’t tire of easily, if ever.

Oysters, Grain Salad, Lamb Kofta, and Grilled Haloumi

Oysters, Grain Salad, Lamb Kofta, and Grilled Haloumi

I mentioned earlier that oysters are on my iffy list. The sliminess and the after taste just hits a wrong note with me, but now and again, an oyster is prepared just so that makes me re-think my stance (most of the time, it’s cooked, which I know is blasphemous to some).

The American River oyster is the first one that I found actually palatable au naturale with a sweetish note and even voluntarily had a second one, enjoying its creamy and light briny flavours immensely.

The wonderfully flavoursome lamb kofta was accompanied by Island Pure’s sheep yoghurt and Kangaroo Island Source’s chilli coriander chutney, which went very well with a grain salad and grilled Island Pure Haloumi with beetroot relish.

Baby Abalone

Baby Abalone

These baby abalone, or abalini, proves that bigger isn’t necessarily better. They were sweeter and juicier than their larger counterparts, and softer too (though that’s probably due how they were prepared)!

Dolphins!

Dolphins!

This was most definitely the most memorable picnics I’ve had, and to top it off, there were dolphins frolicking (or feeding) nearby! Too fantastic.

Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood & Takeaway

Fresh Seafood

Fresh Seafood

Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood & Takeaway seems like it’s situated within a petrol station, but it’s actually just in the same building.

Oysters and Deep-fried Goodness

Oysters and Deep-fried Goodness

The Coffin Bay oysters were okay, but I still preferred the American River ones.

The batter on the fish, on the other hand, were wonderfully crisp without being oily. We were told that she simply adds vinegar into her batter – although the batter doesn’t keep as long, she felt it was worth that extra tang.

d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant
Osborn Rd
McLaren Vale, SA, 5171
Ph: (08) 8329 4848
Web: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood & Takeaway
26 Telegraph Rd
Kingscote, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 0177

Dinners

Fish of Penneshaw

Best Fish and Chips in the World?

Best Fish and Chips in the World?

Fish of Penneshaw is a little shop that only opens from 4pm to 7:45pm (unless sold out), and then only during the warmer months! Susan Pearson runs this tiny shop, as well as the gourmet catering business “2 Birds and a Squid”, which has been touted to have the best fish and chips.

Fish & Chips with a side of Oysters

Fish & Chips with a side of Oysters

The box made the fish look deceptively small, but the King George whiting was quite a decent size – making for a very satisfying dinner… Especially when the batter has had spices liberally mixed through it, adding some interesting flavours to your standard fish & chips fare. The chips were also quite perfect: the crispness to fluffy softness ratio was spot on.

The fish & chips were also served with a side of tangy garden salad and spicy salt & pepper prawns (flavourful, but packed a bit of a kick).

Yellow Ash ‘n’ Chili Cafe

Love their Mural!

Love their Mural!

How fantastic is that mural?! Yellow Ash ‘n’ Chili Cafe is unmistakable with such distinctive artwork (my favourite part is the moustaches hehe).

Nachos ($17.50), Prawn Tostada ($19.75), Steak Burrito ($19.75), Steak Quesadilla ($19.75), and Chicken Enchilada ($20)

Nachos ($17.50), Prawn Tostada ($19.75), Steak Burrito ($19.75), Steak Quesadilla ($19.75), and Chicken Enchilada ($20)

I don’t eat Mexican all that often, but after this dinner, I’m keen to make it a more regular occurrence. Nachos will always be my favourite, but I’m starting to get why Wil Wheaton is so obsessed with burritos… They are simply fantastic! Admittedly the Chipotle chili-marinated rump steak strips challenged my chili tolerance quite a bit, but the rice, beans, sour cream, and cheese helped temper its fieriness enough so that I wasn’t blubbering at the table.

Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Mousse

Although we were quite full by this stage, the desserts sounded too good to pass up!

Bella Cafe

Andermel Marroon Tails ($22)

Andermel Marroon Tails ($22)

Oh my goodness, these marroon tails were amazing! They were simply pan-grilled in garlic and caper butter, then served with a refreshing parsely and fennel salad. Sometimes simplicity is the best.

Lamb Rump ($30) and Kangaroo Fillet ($18.30 x2)

Lamb Rump ($30) and Kangaroo Fillet ($18.30 x2)

I know, right? That looks more like a falafel than a lamb rump, but it was just encrusted with blue cheese and parmesan – a lovely combination. It was served with potato gratin, steamed snow peas and quince jus.

What really stole the limelight was the Kangaroo Fillet (Billy ordered it as a main, which was two entrees on the one plate) – amazingly succulent and perfectly seasoned.

Pannacotta ($11.5) and Dark Chocolate Cake ($13.50)

Pannacotta ($11.5) and Dark Chocolate Cake ($13.50)

For dessert, we ordered the white chocolate, Island Pure yoghurt and vanilla bean pannacotta and the warm flourless dark chocolate cake.

My favourite of the two was the pannacotta (admittedly, I do have a bias towards pannacotta in general), which was accompanied with KI Spirits’ delicious strawberry liqueur jelly, whipped cream, and topped off with pistachio & saffron fairy floss. A perfect way to end dinner.

Fish of Penneshaw
43 North Terrace
Penneshaw, SA, 5222
Ph: (08) 8553 7406
Web: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yellow-Ash-n-Chili/211933678850864

Bella Cafe
Shop 1 / 54 Dauncey St
Kingscote, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 0400

Wineries and Spirits

Alpha Box & Dice
Alpha Box & Dice

The first of the two wineries we visit in McLaren Vale was Alpha Box & Dice – a very relaxed and most quirky winery (did you spot the taxidermy fox?). It’s quite small and caters to a niche market, but they make some really interesting tasting wines. One of which I took quite a liking to was the blended Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Grenache-Touriga Nacional Kit & Kaboodle.

d’Arenberg Cellar Door
d'Arenberg Cellar Door

The other McLaren Vale winery we visited was the d’Arenberg Cellar Door (this is also where d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant is situated). I had my first taste of a viognier here and quickly found that it was right down my alley – lightly sweet and not too dry.

Chapman River Wines
Chapman River Wines

Chapman - Happiness

Happiness

Chapman River Wines used to be a light airplane hangar, would you believe! They made wonderful use of the space – decorating the walls with paintings by local artists (including his own wife’s) and included a small art gallery to showcase some artwork.

Dudley Wines
Dudley Wines

The first thing you notice about Dudley Wines (besides some really delectable wines) is the view. Not only can you clearly see the mainland across the bluest stretch of water, but you can even play a one hole, one par golf course across the gully!

Mary’s Blush Sparkling Rose is easily one of the better wines I’ve had and been kicking myself ever since for not grabbing a bottle or two while I was there.

Kangaroo Island Spirits (“Kis”)
Kangaroo Island Spirits

KI Spirits’ Wild Gin is the only gin that I’ve actually liked. It has a complex, rich flavour that leaves a distinct juniper taste behind. Not surprising then that it’s won four international awards! All of the 9 ingredients used in the Wild Gin (displayed in the tins), as well as their vodkas and liqueurs, are locally sourced – including the samphire, which (interestingly enough) requires a license to harvest.

Alpha Box & Dice
Lot 50 Oliver’s Rd
McLaren Vale, SA, 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 7750
Web: http://www.alphaboxdice.com.au/

d’Arenberg Cellar Door
Osborn Rd
McLaren Vale, SA, 5171
Ph: (08) 8329 4848
Web: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

Chapman River Wines
Cape Willoughby Rd
Antechamber Bay, SA, 5222
Ph: (08) 8553 1371
Web: https://www.facebook.com/chapmanriverwines

Dudley Wines
1153 Willoughby Rd
Penneshaw, SA, 5222
Ph: (08) 8553 1333
Web: http://www.dudleywines.com.au/

Kangaroo Island Spirits (“Kis”)
Playford Hwy
Cygnet River, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 9211
Web: http://www.kispirits.com.au/

Produce of KI

Kangaroo Island Source
Kangaroo Island Source

Kangaroo Island Source catered for one of our lunches (you know, the one with the spectacular beach backyard?) and I mentioned that Kate Sumner also has a cooking school. The school is located on top of a hill just outside Penneshaw and has the most gorgeous view of the ocean and rolling fields.

I believe her relishes, chutneys, and rubs are made and jarred here too!

Clifford’s Honey Farm
Clifford's Honey Farm

There are a few honey farms on Kangaroo Island, but they all use Ligurian bees. They originally came from Italy in 1884 and due to subsequent cross-breeding, the Ligurian bees on Kangaroo Islands are the only pure breeds left! Their docile and industrious nature are coveted by bee keepers, as well as making some sweet-ass honey (no pun intended).

Clifford’s Honey Farm gives a tour on how they would extract the honey and they would transport a queen bee to another farm (interstate or overseas). They have tonnes of fascinating information about the bees and the honey they produce… I didn’t realise that honey flavours are seasonal (cup gum is my favourite, I’ve discovered, which flowers in May) or know that a queen can use the end product of one *ahem* drone encounter for up to five years to produce bees.

Island Pure Sheep Dairy & Cheese Factory
Island Pure

Island Pure offers a tour of how they produce award-winning Mediterranean-style cheese and yoghurt; the process is quite fascinating. There are about 1,200 sheep on the farm, where they milk about 400 sheep a day (milking happens twice a day), and are fed on grass, silage, and hay during summer.

Where so many places only care about the bottom line, Island Pure’s simple philosophy of happy sheep equals better produce can be seen by the staff treating the sheep with obvious affection and respect. It made me heart-glad to see animals so well-treated.

My favourite of their range is the Ligurian Bee Honey Yoghurt – it’s simply perfection.

Kangaroo Source Island
90 Cape Willoughby Rd
Penneshaw, SA, 5222
Ph: (08) 8553 1041
Web: http://www.kangarooislandsource.com.au/

Clifford’s Honey Farm
Elsegood Rd
MacGillivray, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 8295
Web: http://www.cliffordshoney.com.au/

Island Pure Sheep Dairy & Cheese Factory
Gum Creek Rd
Cygnet River, SA, 5223
Ph: (08) 8553 9110
Web: http://www.islandpure.com.au/

Sights of KI

Kangaroo Island is an incredibly picturesque place, from its red rocky coastline to the bushy interior, and it made me wish we were here for longer to properly explore the island.

Penneshaw

Penneshaw

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

Cape Willoughby

Cape Willoughby

Seal Bay Conservatory Park

Seal Bay Conservatory Park

Australia’s third-largest Australian Sea Lion colony resides in Seal Bay (about 1,000 seals) and the guided beach tour takes you incredibly close to them. Of course, being wild animals capable of inflicting nasty bite wounds (no matter how cute they seem), we must respect their territory and are warned to stay a minimum of 10m from the seals.

I thought seals stayed on the beach, but some actually come up inland and use bushes to protect themselves from the weather (makes sense, when I think about it). The grassy dunes are cris-crossed with paths made by seals over the many years they’ve lived here.

This was probably my highlight of the trip – there was nothing between these seals and me besides my camera! It was rather exhilarating.

Adorable Dogs

Adorable Dogs

While we didn’t actually get to see any kangaroos (or penguins, sadly enough), we met so many adorable dogs on KI. They were the happiest dogs I’ve ever met and the most shameless in begging for food haha. They all loved Billy and would gravitate towards him with their big doe eyes (sometimes for pats, but mostly for food).

Kangaroo Island is roughly 155 km across and 55 km wide; not terribly big, but enough to have 4,400 inhabitants and requiring several days to fully enjoy what this island has to offer. A lot of people have chosen KI as their seachange – one lady from New Zealand said that she felt so safe here when she visited and it was so beautiful that it was a no-brainer for her (people actually don’t lock their houses here at all!).

My time at KI was so relaxing and filled with great food. With so many things left to see, it’s definitely on my holiday destination list.

es&t was a guest of the South Australian Tourism Commission

14 Comments

  1. Killer post – so much food and love the photography all around. Kangaroo Island looks amazing. And to think you covered all that in 3 days? Wonder what else you’ll discover with an extra couple days!

    • There’s a surprising amount of things to do on such a small island hehe.

      Really want to go back to check out the penguins and the national park on the western side ^_^

  2. Gorgeous photos! It looks like a great destination to try some delicious local produce. Makes me want to visit, especially to see the seals!

  3. Seeing the seals was definitely my trip highlight too – and that lunch with the breathtaking view! And I’m hoping that soon you’ll be eating oysters and chillies with gusto. Maybe together! Ha!

    • Oh yes, definitely that lunch too :D

      LOL I’m trying… Had a spicy burger the other day and I kept eating! But I won’t say I wasn’t relieved that it was finished haha

    • I had so many photos from KI that I wanted to put up, but my friend nixed a lot of it saying stuff like, “Really… Five sheep photos? Do you really need that many?” Hahaha… I have her to thank for such a cohesive post though :)

      And yes! Perfect holiday destination, I reckon… And if you have the dough, check out the Southern Ocean Lodge. It’s simply spectacular.

  4. A colleague actually honeymooned on Kangaroo Island, and while she did a more laid back camping style trip, it’s good to know there’s fancier options available as well!

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