It's been another week revolving around food. I'm going to be the size of a house by Christmas time, as I'm struggling to find time to go to the gym, and have lots of festive celebratory food things booked into the calendar for the next few weeks.

Monday started with a slightly impromptu lunch at Jolley's Boathouse to celebrate my friend A's birthday. I brought 3 year old S along with me, and have to say it was surprisingly child friendly at Jolley's. He's pretty well behaved at restaurants, but they brought out a colouring in placemat for him, and the menu included 4 different kids meals (around $12,  generous serves) and the choice of 2 puddings. He loved it - and was entertained watching the boats on the river going past, and asked that his next birthday party be held there... which might up the budget just a smidge, so will be unlikely to happen. He appears to already be developing expensive taste, as witnessed by the on- the- floor tantrum he threw one morning demanding smoked salmon be put in his lunch box for his preschool snack.

fish and some sort of quinoa veggie thing - delish

On Friday night I frocked up in a blingy sequinned Caftan (old pic below, sorry, was too rushed to take a decent shot on the night) and went out to Magill Estate restaurant with some friends. I was very excited- it used to be my favourite restaurant, ever, before it closed for renovations at just about the time we returned to live in Adelaide. I've been awaiting its reopening...




It's very much a special restaurant - a modernist style glass pavillion sits at the top of the old vineyards from where Penfold's original vineyard, founded in 1840, was laid out in the foothills of Adelaide. On the other side of the vineyard is suburban Adelaide, and then views out over the lights of the city down to the sea, which is spectacular in its own right, let alone the fact that you can order Penfold's famous Grange by the glass (if you so desire).



I was very curious to see how the revamp would look - I had loved it in its original, somewhat austere modernist style (as shown above), but they've warmed up the interior quite well, it hasn't lost any of its original design sensibility - the interiors do not feel as busy as the photos might suggest. They've ditched the white tablecloths - you now dine of beautifully detailed timber tables and sit on very comfortable leather chairs, and the silver service crumb tray fuss between courses has also gone. But it's still very much a special production place, it's not a casual place to go.

Mr AV in front of the vineyards

It's 5 or 8 course degustation only on Friday and Saturday nights, and the menu is somewhat obscure as to what you're going to be served (descriptions such as "Wagyu, garlic, sesame" served with 2005 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon as the matched wine served in a Riedel glass. This was then explained at length by the waiter, but is pictured below, so I guess the description, while brief, was perfectly accurate.


Despite ordering the 5 course degustation, you get a few extra courses - 'snacks' came out to start with a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne, there was a delicious souffle as a second dessert, and bread that I could've gobbled up and made a meal of on its own (the house churned butter was particularly good)





 So, it's a big production - you get sent home with a copy of the obscure menu as a souvenir, and 2 chocolates in a box (delicious). Most people there seem to be celebrating a special occasion, and although price wise, while this is expensive for Adelaide, compared to similar style places interstate, its line ball ($130 for 5 course degustation, $235 with matched wines. Compared to Attica in Melbourne which is $180 for a set 8 course degustation,  no option for 5, and you don't get the spectacular view or the access to the very special wines). It also gets big bonus points for acoustics from me - it's perfect. You can hear your dining companions easily, but not the tables surrounding you. My pet hate was the last reincarnation at The Botanical in Melbourne - all concrete and glass, and a very expensive menu. I had a miserable night not talking to anyone as I couldn't hear a thing (I'm slightly deaf with excessive background noise), and then had to pay quite a large bill at the end of it.

Moving onto renovations, it's been busy - we've had up to 17 guys working on site each day. The fireplace is finally finished being plastered up - the flue finally arrived.


The brick layer came and did the shelves in the cellar I was talking about last week. Here's a really bad iphone photo of the end result. We have no lights in the cellar yet - the shelves go around 2 sides of the room, and will hold 32 lineal metres of wine. Now we have to fill it! I'll post better photos later


Outside they've finally put the roof onto the outdoor dining area, and have started with the veranda framing - I'm very happy about that. It's like a furnace on hot days as it faces West, so this will help enormously.



The plasterboarder will be packing up on Wednesday this week, and the painters (the new ones, the old one quit last Monday for no apparent reason, leading to a mad scramble to find new ones) are going to start painting. We're about 2.5 weeks away from moving into the space properly, which is good, because I heard from Jardan (sofa manufacturer) on Friday to say they wanted to deliver the new sofas.... and there's no where to put them inside the house, we're packed to the gills (and getting sick of having all sorts of random things shoved into all available corners. It's a mess)

We can't do a Christmas tree just yet - there's no room, and the Children are very unhappy about this. But I set up the Advent Calendar, which I do each year with them. This year's came from The Met shop (slowest internet shipping ever - this was ordered in September, and arrived just over a week ago, just in the nick of time). It's a reproduction of an old Wiener Werkstatte, and under each door is a cardboard ornament to put on the tree.



Sure beats the 'festive' Star Wars Lego one that I succumbed to buying last year under severe pressure from my then 7 year old Lego mad son. Nothing screams Christmas like a little angry Star Wars figure brandishing a light sabre....

Hope you had a good week xx

37 comments:

  1. wow- house is going to look FLASH!love the sequins and all the food.

    I want a table cloth at dinner. Thoughts?

    take care x

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    1. Maybe one day it will look flash. At the moment, everything is covered in dust, and there is mess everywhere!! I try to keep the faith....

      I did find the lack of table cloth slightly confronting. I do like a table cloth. But the chairs were superb, as was the table, so it worked ok. But I would've still preferred a table cloth. xx

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  2. Think the new fit out of the Magill Estate Restaurant looks far superior to the original. Comfortable chairs and good acoustics trump table clothes. Oh, I love a degustation menu with wine matching, it is so decadent!
    The house is looking nearer to completion, looks like it is all going to happen before the time of year we dare not mention.
    Just love it that your 3 year old instinctively knows and enjoys the finer things in life, there is one in every family!

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    1. It's funny, I was prepared to not like it, maybe because I have such great memories of the original... but now that I do compare it seems very austere compared to the new fitout.
      I'm quite frightened to think of what lies ahead with the 3 year old Claire - suspect he's going to be expensive to keep! xx

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  3. House is looking good Heidi - on the home run now! It is very challenging when furniture, etc. starts to arrive and you have no where to put it. I had to beg our dining table manufacturer to keep our furniture for a few extra weeks whilst the last minute details were completed. We also had to put our baby grand piano into storage, as that is not something that can be tucked into a corner somewhere!! Magill Estate is my favourite restaurant - looking forward to the re-opened version. Still laughing at your Star Wars Advent calendar remark!! Have a great week. Jo xx

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    1. Not long to go until we can spread out inside a bit more Jo! We're planning to buy a baby grand once it's all finished... at the moment we use a keyboard. I'll be very happy to see the back of it! But there's no way we could have anything even remotely bigger fit in our house at the moment. It's really getting ridiculous.
      You'll love the new version of Magill I'm sure. xx

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  4. Food looks great especially the souffle. I would love to visit Magills I do love a winery restaurant in Oz. the view is so lovely I don't know I would be bothered with the fit out...I do miss a restaurant with a view. The house is just chugging along. You will def beat me to moving properly in. So envious you have so many work,en, I ask the foreman to get more hands on deck but due to size of property he says too many workmen can't work around each other... Oh well! No Xmas cheer here as I have nowhere to have my tinsel. No Xmas party but a big pity party here!! ;) xx

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    1. Next time you're in Oz, you'll have to come- you'd love it. Our friends are English and were comparing it to all the Michelin starred places they've eaten at. They compared it favorably. Keep the faith with the Reno. You'll get there! It does feel never ending though, I know... Xxx

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  5. So much going on at your place! The house is looking like you are on the home stretch, finally! Woohoo to that I say. Had a giggle over the salmon tantrum, that is a cracker. The restaurant looks beautiful, much prefer the new tones to the old and can I say I feel your advent pain as we not only have the Stars Wars, we also have the lego Friends advent and frankly I'm not sure which is more offensive! mel x

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    1. Very funny Mel- you're a better mum than me to buy each of yours a Lego advent calendar. I have to admit I was actually surprised that there didn't seem to be any actual christmas theming, except on the actual box?! Xx

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  6. pffft......a 3 year old eating smoked salmon? not impressive, Faux Fuschia's kid is just 2 years old and he's eating OYSTERS! My kid went straight off the breast onto beluga caviar, try and beat THAT.

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    1. Very funny! So far the only thing the 3 year old refuses to eat are olives. We haven't tried oysters. Or Beluga for that matter. Frankly, I'm scared to try. He's quite fond of Pheasant Pâté, so suspect it's only a matter of time before he requests more gourmet fare! Xx

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  7. Glad you had a good week of eating and that things are really moving on the house front. It must be so exciting!!!! When will you be able to tree up?

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    1. Hi Wendy, I think the tree is still a fair way away. Probably around the 20th? Very late for us (more European style I guess!), as most people either do the first weekend in December, or just after the Christmas pageant I posted about a few weeks ago if they have a fake tree xx

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  8. You can't beat a restaurant with a view and the food certainly looks delicious particularly the perfect soufflé. Excellent wine too - sounds like my kind of place! I like the idea of the advent calendar with the tree decorations but that really is slow delivery!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/




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    1. That souffle was relish. The delivery was ridiculous! I really haven't experienced such slow delivery from the US in a long time... but the Calendar is lovely, and I'm glad it arrived in time! xx

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  9. Your advent calendar is divine. I have succumbed to buying my eldest a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle advent calendar. Nothing says Christmas like numchucks :)

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    1. Oh dear - they make TMNT ones too?? I'm sure someone here will ask for it one year! This years is much more traditional/ festive which I'm liking. xx

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  10. So I'm going to ask a silly question since I'm not anything close to being an architect or interior decorator ... what you're doing qualifies for a reno? It looks like major reconstruction to me. :) Close call on the sofa wanting to be delivered and the space being available. I'll bet you can't wait to start dusting off and settling in. Food looks fab though it'd be the kind of place husby hates as the portions are not nearly massive enough.

    So funny about your kids and the Advent calendar!

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    1. You're right Tiffany rose - it's not strictly a renovation on the back of the house, more an extension. But we've done extensive renovations to the original part of the house over the past 3.5 years, so I kind of just lump it all together by calling it the reno.
      I am DESPERATE to start getting the dust out of the house. I feel like I"m tied to a broom at the moment. Or a mop.
      Mr AV was not so keen on the food as me - he dislikes 'fussy' food with small portions as he eats it so much when he goes out for work dinners, so he's probably in the same camp as your hubs. xx

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  11. Gosh. I won't enter the child food-eating competition. At this stage, I'd be ecstatic if I could get one of mine to eat a representative from each of the food groups. And he's 12! The other one (9) is a good eater, but haven't tried her on too many exotics as the older one keeps our diets pretty bland. To be fair (and to avoid possible well-meaning but sadly pointless advice from your very kind readers) number one child has mild autism (PDDNOS) which means he is incredibly sensitive to textures, tastes, smells etc - god help me if I buy a different brand of cheese :0 even if I hide the wrapper he can 'smell' that it's not right!. Slowly, slowly we're making progress on the food front, but I didn't foresee that I would still be grating and hiding vegetables in various dishes to try and achieve a balanced diet at this age! Oysters, olives and smoked salmon - can only dream! Love your reno pictures, as always. It's going to look incredible, Heidi. You must be so pleased with it all. Cheers Tammy

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    1. Never fear Tammy, the one that eats everything, and loves a bit of gourmet action is balanced out by the oldest, who has always been a fussy eater. I did all the food things the same with all of them, and they've all turned out differently. For 3 years I cooked spaghetti bolognase and macaroni cheese (with hidden veggies) on rotation. He has branched out and will eat other things, but it's still pretty limited in my opinion. At least one child is adventurous! I do feel for you with sensory issues thrown into the food thing... that makes life very difficult. One of my cousins would only eat the skin on a roast chicken for a few years as a child for her dinner. She's fine now as an adult (not a hugely adventurous eater, but certainly not as picky as she once was) so I always think - this will pass! xx

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  12. Very jealous of your culinary excursions, although I'm more of a fan of simple food, truth be told. I love the idea of dégustation, but usually end up feeling like a bloated beasty half way through, not to mention my total inability to drink the wines without getting embarrassingly sloshed!
    Too funny about S's expensive food tastes!
    The house is looking amazing! You must be getting so excited about its completion.
    The advent calendar is beautiful! We've totally failed on all things festive this year. The tree never goes up until Christmas Eve here, due to J's super strict Austrian Ways. We usually have an advent calendar, though, but this year we forgot. Terrible parents!

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    1. It was surprising - I really thought I would never be able to eat an 8 course degustation, but the portion sizes weren't huge, and I possibly could have. The wine, on the other hand, would have done me in with 8 courses!
      So funny the different cultural things around Christmas - we had a German in the family for a few years, and he used to find our Christmas Eve's deflating (as we'd only shop and prepare for the next days meal), so we used to do a few Christmas Eve dinners for him as he'd find it hard otherwise. He also thought all the tree stuff was odd before Christmas Eve too. This year, we're on J's schedule due to the reno, and we'll be doing the tree mighty close to Christmas Eve. xx

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    2. Oh, and it's not too late to get an advent calendar - they're all half price in the supermarket with the chocolates in them! xx

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  13. The butter at Magill Estate is King of butters - it toppled the D'Arry Verandah butter and that had my butter crown for a good five years. ....I really only eat butter when I am out for fancy dinners - but good butter is just so good!!

    Jolley's passionfruit pav won the hear of my dear Mr some years ago, and so we go back every summer for it...its tough but I manage.

    Looks like young Mr 3 is growing up to be a true South Aussie foodie - shows good parenting I say.

    Finger crossed all things renno!

    Sarah x

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    1. That butter was the bomb. Apparently its from Jersey cows that live in the Barossa. With salt added. yum. Mr AV questioned the waiter at length about the origin of the butter.

      It was a good food week, that's for sure! This week needs to be slightly more austere I feel, in order that I'm not in Caftans for the whole of January...and not by choice! xx

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  14. The chairs in the dining room are really gorgeous. Love the mix too! The dining tables look really flash too with the jonty sides and all (I made that word up, but I think you know what I mean)

    Love the souffle served on the slate!!! I am going to do this with some of my left over tiles LOL!!!

    The house, gorgeous as ever! The fireplace with the steel windows flanking it will look really nice when completed.

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    1. You can do that with your left over slate. I've also seen people use them as cheese boards and write in chalk on the slate what the cheese is etc... lots of uses for your slate! xx

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  15. Dinner looked lovely. Perth is so expensive. We paid $160/head for a very average 5 course degustation with friends recently....

    I must admit I have given in and have a Barbie and Angry Birds Advent calendar! All class here.

    The house is looking fabulous. Looks like it is closer to getting finished which is something.

    Hope all well with you Heidi. Take care.

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    1. Wow, that is a lot. Adelaide is good value for money, food wise (relative to Eastern states, and clearly Perth too).
      Hilarious re your Advent calendar. The tasteful one I've got has worked out to be a big hit - the kids are enjoying decorating a little tree every day xx

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  16. Heidi the house is looking amazing! That meal at the Magill Estate restaurant looked great too. I keep saying to Mr B that we need to do a driving food and wine holiday in SA, as there seems to be so many quality food producers and restaurants to visit. Your degustation menu of 5 courses is a good balance as I feel sometimes too many courses can be a bit much. Mr B and I are sadly scarred from having any future degustation meals... instead of buying each other Christmas gifts we generally go out for a really lovely Christmas dinner each year somewhere special as a treat. One Christmas in London, we decided to go to a very popular 2 michelin starred restaurant (which I won't name) and proceeded to eat a 7 course degustation meal matched with wines, which I must say was delicious, however we have never been so sick from eating and drinking too much. We then spent the next 24 hours trying to recover! So now I just choose from the a la carte menu! Love the advent calendars xx

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    1. You do need to do a foodie tour of Adelaide and surrounds Fifi! You'd love it, so many beautiful spots. I'm often saying to Mr AV that it's as good as being in Europe some times when you're looking at rolling hillside with vineyards etc. It's just that we're so used to it you don't notice after a while.
      Shame about your Christmas dinner experience. I sometimes find the food will be so rich it has a bad end result as well. I hope you at least enjoyed it on the night, even if you had to detox after! xx

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  17. You take really good photos of food - what is your trick? Is it a proper camera or the old I-phone. My food photos always look like blop or slop. And I am so loving your shiny tunic - very Studio 54 wearable. Great progress on the reno's - looks huge and so inviting - will you be doing a pool there. Guess your weather is nice and balmy there and you can do one.

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    1. Eeek - iphone! Then I enhance it using the photo edit. It's luck of the draw though. Sometimes the photos are dreadful, it's so dependant on the lighting. My other camera is enormous, and I always feel so stupid taking photos of food etc, that I try to do it discreetly.
      Yes, a pool is planned, but I haven't got around to organising it yet, will do so early next year. xx

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  18. Hi just popped in to see this again- How FANCY! Can you believe I am doing this with carry on baggage? Me either x

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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