Thursday, January 6, 2011

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, SA by Big Fil

Maggie Beer is quite the icon in the South Australian food scene. Of all the places I'd marked out as wanting to visit in Adelaide this was the one I was most looking forward to. It's obviously very well run, with high quality produce and a nice seating area next to a small lake. However, at the end of the day I left somewhat disappointed. All the individual elements were there but when put together they didn't add up to the farm café I'd imagined.

The shop is very popular and not just with the locals. Around half the cars in the car park had interstate number plates and there were a smattering of foreign languages and accents to be heard. A variety of pates and pastes are available for sampling and purchase in the bright and well lit shop. The café also sells a variety of picnic baskets which can be consumed either at the small number of tables within the shop, at the tables on the outside decking or sitting under a tree around the small lake.

On the entrance way wall were a number of photos of Maggie Beer's original restaurant. Located at the end of a dirt road, lacking a bit of polish and the car park full of 1970s family cars, I think that was the sort of place I was expecting to find. Maybe Maggie Beer herself welcoming customers, apron on and a touch of flour on her check. Instead it's a very professional production.

One thing which particularly disappointed me was the way that everything in the picnic basket came in its own plastic container. I went for the Chicken and Rosemary Pate picnic basket, which came with cornichons (gherkins), freekah salad and two bread rolls. For a Maggie Beer farm picnic I had had visions of a thick slab of pate, roughly cut fresh bread, a few grapes and crackers and maybe some high quality brie. While everything was good, with the pate in particular smooth and rich in texture but delicate in flavour, the picnic basket wasn't want I wanted. Even the ginger beer was Bickfords rather than home made.

Maybe it's my own fault, to expect it to be more country café and less produce outlet. And its really not fair to criticise it on that ground. The food is good, the location nice (although the area out the back of the lake could use a little maintenance), the staff friendly and the prices not unreasonable. But I think I would have much preferred the earlier Maggie Beer restaurant on the wall, where everything seemed a little less slick but full of personality.

Good and probably what I should have expected, but not what I really wanted it to be.

Food - 7.5 (don't like the plastic containers)
Ambience - 7.5
Service - 8
Price - 6.5

Maggie Beer's Farm
End of Pheasant Farm Road
Nuriootpa SA 5355
Tel (08) 8562 4477

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop on Urbanspoon


Bureaucrat said...

OMG - so jealous!!! I love Maggie Beer.

Anonymous said...

Oh damn! I was hoping Maggie Beer's Farm shop would be worth the road trip, but now from your review, I'm not too sure. I think the basket is a cute idea and the fact that you can feast around a lake on a nice sunny day, sounds so relaxing and divine!

Anonymous said...

Well, there is nothing particularly bad about it, it just doesn't work for me. To much shop and too little farm cafe.


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