Awganix – McLaren Vale, SA

Well, this is going to be a rave about a fantastic new restaurant that I hope does really well! We picked up a brochure from the McLaren Vale information centre from this place which had bits of the menu on it including a couple of veggie dishes, so we thought we would check it out. We rang and booked, although that wasn’t entirely necessary as we were the only people there that night! They had only been open for about six weeks, doing lunch and dinner three days a week to start with, and are located in a cellar door which also has an olive grove. My only complaint is that it was a bit difficult to figure out which building they are in – if you are planning to go there then they are in the first building that you see as you drive in the driveway! We mentioned that we were vegetarian to the maitre-d as she started to explain the meat based specials, so she left us with the menu. A few moments later the chef appeared and said that if there wasn’t enough choice on the menu he could adapt something, or if we felt like something in particular and he had the ingredients he would cook us something else. We were happy with the menu options and decided on homemade bread with olive oil and dukkah, pear and fetta salad with a shiraz vinegarette as our entree, followed by a green Thai curry with organic tofu and wholemeal fettuccine puttanesca (listed without anchovies). The pear and fetta salad was to die for and is one of the best salads I have ever eaten – the fetta was creamy and non-crumbly and the vinegarette was amazing, with chopped up bits of red cabbage or red grapes which added a lovely sweetness. The pasta was great – full of lovely capers and olives and the fettuccine itself was cooked to perfection. The Thai green curry was something else – the chef said it was hot, but it wasn’t a lingering heat, and he was right. It was hot and fresh but your mouth didn’t burn for the rest of the night! Martin opted for dessert while I simply had hot chocolate. He claims that the marbled chocolate veneer is the best dessert he has ever eaten – which is a big call and I tried to remember previous desserts that he/we had eaten that came close and I couldn’t. This dessert was a pure creation – a nutty base filled with pistachios, topped with a chocolate moussey cake type thing and finished with a thick layer of white and dark chocolate mousse. All of this was drizzled with a chocolate and honey sauce (inspired – adding honey to chocolate sauce!) and chunks of toffee! Truely divine! I would definitely recommend trying this place if you are in McLaren Vale at any time! And we will certainly be going back next time we are over that way!