Vardon The Stag

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide
Belgian Chocolate & Hazelnut Moelleux ($14.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

Under its old ownership, the Stag proudly flew a banner proclaiming it to be the worst vegetarian pub in Adelaide.

I never visited.

A new owner, and The Stag Hotel has been entirely reinvented. At the invitation of The Stag’s new fine dining restaurant, Vardon, and Zomato,  I was given the opportunity to visit just 6 days after the doors swung open.


 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

The New Stag In Town. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Rose, the marketing manager for The Stag, greeted us warmly and shared some exciting news.

Upstairs, a Moet et Chandon Champagne Bar has opened, serving Moet et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Krug and Dom Ruinart.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Rose, Marketing at The Stag. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Guests of The Stag and Zomato. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Restaurant Manager Tom Duggan had us immediately at ease, introducing the two wines for the evening, which are used for functions and not on the restaurant menu.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Tar & Roses Central & North Eastern VIC Pinot Grigio 2014; and; Rusden Barossa Valley GSM 2014. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Eminently helpful, Tom brings a wine list for me to peruse.

Varied, interesting, and with a lot to tempt from the top end of the list. 1998 Dom Perignon anyone? Just a cool $1,250.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Tempting wine list. Photo: Willunga Wino

Inside the restaurant is Scandanavian in style, but with more warmth, from deep grey carpet, and dark brown leather booths. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Warm, Scando inspired interiors. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

It is bright thanks to a huge octagonal light well in the roof. If booths aren’t your style, there are also tables, including outdoors on Vardon Avenue, the restaurant’s name sake.

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Simple chic table settings with nice glassware. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

In a nice touch, the bar leaves on display the wines available by the glass, allowing you to take a closer look if you like. 

On tap are premium imported beers, an Aussie one, as well as a local Hills Cider Company cider.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

The Vardon Bar. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Dividing the booth area from the bar is an impressive perspex wine cellar. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Perspex wine cellar wall. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Sfilatino – Italian for baguette – is the house baked bread ($1.50), a lovely tart, holey sourdough. Muscovy duck fat butter is served with it, very indulgent and unique. 
 
 
 
Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Duck fat butter. Photo: Willunga Wino

 
 
The Tar & Roses Central & North Eastern VIC Pinot Grigio 2014 has an apricot hue, similar to the Vinteloper Pinot Gris I tried earlier that week at Fall From Grace.
 
Aromas are peachy keen, but these are sliced slightly unripe peaches with vanilla cream. Overall, it is soft, with a fresh a touch of sweet gardenia florals.
 
Unusual for a Pinot Gris, on the palate this is fresh, with lemony flavours, but still has a medium full mouthfeel.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Salmon blush to the Pinot Grigio. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Entrees are served, including the heirloom fruits and vegetables, served with celery seed and citrus dressing ($17.50).

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables ($17.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Italian favourite Vitello Tonnato ($18.50) is raw beef (in Italy about 18 months old, but here in Australia usually veal), which is served with tuna mayonnaise. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Vitello Tonnato ($18.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 
 
Polenta crusted Zucchini Flowers ($18.50) was my entree, stuffed with a blue cheese filling and beautiful orange petals. The deep brown polenta crust, is thin and super crisp.
 
Accompanying the salad is Thousand Island Sauce, balsamic glaze, sweet nutty basil Pernod mousse, and a little hidden secret. 
 
Yummy little zucchini frittata fritters are hiding under the flowers!
 
Truly a delicious and different version of this classic. 
 
 
Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Polenta crusted zucchini flowers ($18.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 
 
Rusden Barossa Valley GSM 2014 had a nice and light black-red colour, with a ruby hued rim.
 
Cherries, Christmas spices, rustiness and some hidden dark chocolate from the mataro round out the aromas.  
 
Lighter on its feet than the nose suggests, the palate is nice and savoury too. This is a handy dandy food wine, full of fresh sour cherry, with spice and a chocolate finish. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Rusden Barossa Valley GSM 2014. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Mains were served then, including a Baked loin of Ocean Trout ($32.50). 

 

Rusden Barossa Valley GSM 2014. Photo: Willunga Wino

Baked loin of Ocean Trout ($32.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Guitar string pasta ($29.50) – I know it as Tajarin (tie-yar-reen) an egg yolk rich hand cut pasta from the North West Piedmont region of Italy.  Here it is served with blue swimmer crab, lobster sauce, and bottarga.  

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Fresh Guitar String Pasta ($29.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

My Beetroot Risotto ($25.50) is creamy with butter, but also made with grated beet, which is soft but still with a bit of bite. With less rice, it is fresher, lighter and not so carb-heavy.

Pistachios are perfectly roasted, and dusted with just a smudge of cumin, which you get little bursts of flavour from.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Beetroot Risotto, with spinach, feta and pistachio crumb ($25.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 
 
The side dish of Greens ($9) are fragrant with garlic and bright with herbs and chilli.
 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Sauteed greens with warm aromatic dressing ($9). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Really richly buttery and oniony Colcannon ($9), or Irish mashed potato, also has lovely pieces of kale in it.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Colcannon with kale, red cabbage and chives ($9). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Head Chef Camillo Crugnale, formerly of Assaggio, comes out to meet us, and to share his philosophy.  He is so warm and friendly.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Head Chef Camillo Crugnale. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Desserts were served, including this Passionfruit and lemon curd tart ($13.50).

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Passionfruit and lemon curd tart ($13.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Served with moscato jellies, the Creme Fraiche Pannacotta ($15.50) was popular. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Creme Fraiche Pannacotta ($15.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

My dessert was the stunning Belgian Chocolate & Hazelnut Moelleux ($14.50).  Served as a ring of flourless cake, it has a centre of chocolate sauce, and a crown of waving gold leaf.

Sweet cherry sauce creates Cherry Ripe flavours, and the dessert is topped off with a licorice like star anise ice cream.

But wait, there is a cherry on top. This one is filled with Kirsch, oh to have a bowl of these amazing, boozy cherries!

 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Belgian Chocolate & Hazelnut Moelleux ($14.50). Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Introducing each dessert are two of the young chefs, encouraged by Camillo to share their perspective with us. 

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Young chefs of Vardon The Stag. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

If you have any room left, the Italian style, dark and less sweet hot chocolate looked amazing, served with it’s little biscotti.

 

Vardon The Stag Restaurant Review Adelaide

Hot Chocolate. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

I simply cannot wait to return to have another taste of the Piedmont at home in Adelaide, in the form of tajarin pasta.

Each dish at Vardon, The Stag is a modern, fresh interpretation of the classics, cleverly seasonal, beautifully presented and delicious. Service was faultless. Go!

 

 

  The Stag Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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Comments make my day – so tell me – What did you like the sound of most at Vardon The Stag? Have your say below!

 

 

Mentioned in this post
  1. The Stag Hotel
    Restaurant in Adelaide Australia

    299 Rundle St
    Adelaide Australia
    (08) 8311 0392
    http://www.staghotel.com.au/

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