Glen Carlou

So many restaurants, so many wines, so little time.

Having tried unsuccessfully to get in to Glen Carlou restaurant on a weekend without a reservation once or twice, I eventually circled back and visited them for lunch on a Monday when things were quieter and they were happier to see me at one of their empty takes than I was to get an available seat.

Five of us went there for lunch. My wife and I arrived early on a very windy and chilly day, took some fail selfies in the garden while pretending bravely not be be freezing until our eyes teared up, and then we took refuge inside where we wandered around the art gallery. The gallery is huge and spacious, and has the appeal of a very larney place, like you’re in one of those top-end art shows in New York. The gallery switches up the display occasionally – the theme for the gallery was breast cancer awareness this time so every painting had something pink in it. Anyway, it’s worth making sure you’ve got time to meander through the gallery when you visit.

The wine tasting, the restaurant and the shop are all in the same space which makes for a nice vibe all round. The restaurant looks over the vineyards and I don’t think there’s a single spot in the whole place that doesn’t take advantage of the view. You can also book a table out on the terrace which would be superb in summer. You can sink into a comfy leather couch to do a wine tasting or prop yourself on a chair at the bar.

The staff are attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive I asked what wines the estate was best known for – Chardonnay – so I asked for a Chardonnay tasting at the table. There were 4 in the range matured in different ways (see the wine review in a separate post). My favorite was the Quartz Stone Chardonnay – single vineyard matured in first use French oak – absolutely delicious. The wine moratorium is over so I bought a few of these.

I loved the food. There’s a simple menu with a selection of starters, mains and desserts. I had the Blue Cheese Soufflé which was the best of the starters at the table. Even the blue cheese hater at the table tried some and loved it. Beautifully balanced. Others at the table had the squid heads which were perfectly tender and battered just right, and the potato and leek soup which was served with a flair, poured around the croutons at the table.

For mains, take my word for it and thank me later – the minute you sit down, reserve a portion of the lamb shoulder. They go quickly and you will be disappointed if you miss out. It was one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever had. Fall-apart tender just like my knees when I took that first bite, rich and packed with flavour. I wasn’t allowed to kiss the chef, my wife held me back. Others at the table had the Sole which had run out and the chef replaced it with Hake – not quite the same. It was the disappointing child of the day.

Desserts were noteworthy. My wife and I shared the deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie, and others had the pavlova with strawberry compote and strawberry sorbet. Both were heavenly, beautiful presentation, and the right balance of everything you want in a dessert.

We had a Cab Sav with lunch, but it didn’t compare to the Quartz Rock Chardonnay for me.

Definitely recommended, especially if you’re looking for a place with a bright and lively vibe, excellent food, wine tasting and great views.

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