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South Australia's bougiest brunch also plays to nostalgia


Steak and hash browns, fried chicken and waffles, and eggs benedict are some of the staples given high-end culinary treatment in Adelaide’s newest degustation experience – a monthly ‘champagne’ brunch from one of South Australia’s most skilled kitchens.

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Magill Estate Restaurant at the Penfolds’ winery has made the jump to brunch, imposing its multi-course fine dining approach on brunch staples.

The result has chef Scott Huggins’ renowned care with high-end ingredients, plus a touch of whimsy. At $180 per person, the 11-course brunch – offered on the last Sunday of each month – is a slightly cheaper way to experience Magill Estate’s food and views.

“Snacks” are always appealing at Magill Estate, and the brunch begins with a cute-slash-wow quail egg Croque Madame with shaved truffle, very tasty mushrooms on toast, and a Crispy BLT – built inside out, with bacon acting as the “bread” and a sprinkling of iceberg lettuce beads, frozen in liquid nitrogen (eat it quickly for the requisite pop of freshness and salt, before the lettuce reconstitutes).

Next, it’s showtime – with a seeded half-moon of exceptionally dense, house-made bagel, prettied up at the table by a chef, with smoked salmon and an array of condiments. The crowning glory is a shower of umami-rich bottarga – salted, cured fish roe – grated over the top.

Magill Estate’s “BLT”. Photo: Andre Castellucci

The fun, though, has only begun. Next comes a bracket of nostalgic favourites: all of which taste like a highly elevated version of what you know.

“Fried chicken and waffle” is what it says on the box with that luscious combo of juicy and crispy, a little line of waffle with maple cream piped into each cavity; avocado on toast has gorgeous piles of caviar; and ‘Egg Benedict’ is made special with more truffle on top and Spanish jamon beneath.

Fried chicken and waffle. Photo: Andre Castellucci

The final tiny homage in the savoury bracket is one of the simplest and best: steak, hashbrown and egg.

In this version, it is a perfectly cooked, buttery strip of Wagyu, with crispy/creamy potato hash, and egg yolk emulsion to dip. While obviously better in execution and ingredients than most of us have likely eaten at home, it tastes like a treasured memory. Clever.

Steak and hash brown. Photo: Andre Castellucci

Sweets are not my thing, but for those who are into it, the signature move here – following a fancy take on yoghurt with granola (in this case, a panna cotta with strawberry and a crispy, coconutty concoction on top) – is French toast, done “Cantonese style” at the suggestion of one of the chefs. It’s a crisp but dense crescent, with the bread component soaked in condensed milk and filled with a blueberry compote. It’s not as sweet or flavourful as it sounds. Banana bread petit fours complete the event.

It sounds like a lot but the portions are appropriate.

You can add some fresh cocktails to the mix: Penfolds sparkling rose poured over a quenelle of strawberry sorbet; French 75s; or a mouth-puckering Bloody Mary do well.

Champagne is available by the glass or bottle.

As well as getting back his Sunday nights, Huggins says the move fills a gap.

“I felt Adelaide was missing something truly special in the way of a brunch offering,” he says. “It’s not always practical to celebrate special occasions in the evening, so a mid-morning to mid-afternoon experience with a high-end menu that considers this has been something I’ve been thining about for a while.”

The menu will “evolve” with the seasons and availability of ingredients.

The next champagne brunch will be on Sunday, October 29.

For bookings, go to the Magill Estate website or send an email to: [email protected]

Disclosure: The author attended the launch as a guest of Magill Estate Restaurant.

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