The Salopian Inn

This exciting, bustling regional diner – in a refurbished 1851 homestead covered with climbing greenery – is on a quiet corner in and among McLaren Vale’s vineyards.

At the helm is acclaimed South Australian chef Karena Armstrong, who came up through some of the country’s best restautants: Icebergs and Billy Kwong in Sydney, and The Lake House in Victoria.

Her menus are driven by what’s flourishing in the restaurant’s organic kitchen garden. It started out as a small plot in 2014 but has since swelled to three quarters of an acre – and now supplies a substantial amount of the fruit, veggies and herbs you’ll find on your plate.

While you can always expect a cuisine-hopping menu, there’s a strong Asian influence. Notable dishes include the signature dumplings, which have become a crowd favourite since they first appeared on the menu in 2013. You might get pork and kimchi, or Spencer Gulf prawn with roasted chilli and coriander. Other highlights include miso-spiked roasted pumpkin with greens, and pillowy steamed buns filled with the likes of braised free-range pork, ginger and hoisin. For the full experience, go for the $70-a-head shared menu.

To drink, there’s a well-stocked cellar filled with where you can select your own bottle (including many from neighbouring wineries); a Coravin system allows for an extensive list of wines by the glass. Newer and more established winemakers are well represented. At the back bar, there's a line-up of more than 200 local and international gins.

Updated: October 12th, 2020

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