Restaurant Reviews

Review: Barossa Valley's Fino at Seppeltsfield is full of surprises (the good kind)

If there's anywhere you want to trust with a "feed me" option, it's here.

By Tory Shepherd
Fino's open kitchen.
South Australia's wine country is dotted with quirky restaurants, hipster cellar doors, and rustic spots among the vines. Seppeltsfield is best described as grand. You drive through sweeping, palm-lined avenues to get there. The historic Seppeltsfield estate is now a village – the famous JamFactory is here, with studios, a gallery and a shop. There's the venerable Centennial Cellar, a sophisticated tasting room, and beautiful grounds where you can picnic. Or get married. It calls itself, with just a little pomp, a "wine, food, and art paradise".
And then there's Fino. Crunch across the gravel, past sandstone walls covered in creeping fig, a water feature, and through topiarised, ancient vines. Surrounded by all the history of the estate you'll find a fresh, contemporary, breezy welcome. And a damn fine feed.
People worry every time Fino does something new – moving from Willunga, and opening up in Adelaide's CBD. David Swain and Sharon Romeo have not been afraid to shake things up. Luckily it seems to keep working out. The food is dependably surprising and consistently seasonal.
Brussels sprouts and Kinkawooka mussels. Photo: Ben McGee
If there's anywhere you want to trust with a "feed me" option, it's here. The staff do that little magic dance where they chat a bit then conjure up exactly what you felt like, and deliver it in a rhythm that feels effortless.
When Gourmet Traveller visited, asparagus (local, of course) was at its peak. Springy and charry and served with a perfectly textured gribiche, dill, and a skinny anchovy that was so smooth it must have had someone at it with tweezers. The giardiniera was elevated by pickled caper leaves.
There are pillowy mounds of gnocchi with globe artichoke. A flaky yellowfin whiting comes with rock samphire and wakame, which give the otherwise slightly bland fish a bit of snap and sizzle.
Crema Catalana. Photo: Ben McGee
By the time the pork comes out – Hampshire pork, with crackling you could eat until your heart gave out – we're starting to feel well-sated. We bravely soldier on, cutting through the fat with a nero d'Avola and a sangiovese. The wine list is one of the state's best, so pick the wine pairing option unless you have your heart set on something. We tackle the wagyu brisket, where the fat content shows the cow's contentedness. The waistband may be straining, but there's enough room for cheese, and the staff are always happy to let you linger.