Restaurant Reviews

LVN Restaurant at Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand’s new restaurant has snapped up a former Restaurant Botanic chef with excellent results.
Ivy-covered entrance to LVN Restaurant at Adelaide Hills winery Bird in Hand, showing a peek into the smart, light-filled dining room
LVN Restaurant's ivy-covered exterior invites with bucolic appeal and smart interiors
Duy Dash
150 Pfeiffer Rd, Woodside SA

LVN Restaurant’s kitchen garden sets a bucolic scene and provides a glimpse into your dining future from the moment you arrive. You may spot executive chef Jacob Davey here gathering radish flowers, green coriander leaves, dainty oregano flowers or warrigal greens, which will soon after appear on bite-sized welcome snacks. Perhaps a tiny garden tart with a base made from roast zucchini (blended, dried then fried right before service) filled with raw broad beans, parsley emulsion, and a salty top sheet of salmon roe marinated in soy, mirin, sake, and a flash of lime zest. Marigold petals complete the pretty package and set the tone for the creative cornucopia to come.

“There’s a bit going on,” Davey says, as he emerges from the open-plan kitchen and places more miniscule creations on the custom wooden table. He’s right, but there’s harmony in half-moons of vivid pink watermelon radish encased in a thin layer of cold butter topped with sea lettuce powder and pickled coriander seeds.

A pinkie-finger-sized slice of brick pastry made from croissant trimmings (the chicken jus-topped croissants arrive later alongside seared Flinders Island wallaby). On top, grilled and fermented capsicum blended with almonds and garlic, delicate basil buds, and chunks of pickled nectarines from co-owner Susie Nugent’s personal garden. Susie’s blooms also appear in desserts such as rose petal granita infused with quandong, strawberry and Bird in Hand sparkling. Clever.

Davey was previously head chef at Restaurant Botanic and his deft hand with native ingredients shows.

Intricate dish of potato pancake with smoked code and neatly placed pickles on top at LVN Restaurant at Bird in Hand
Potato pancake with smoked cod and pickles at LVN Restaurant at Bird in Hand, Adelaide Hills. Credit: Duy Dash

A printed ode to Country penned by Peramangk elder Mandy Brown sits atop each table, acknowledging the Peramangk and Kaurna land and waters from which the majority of LVN’s ingredients are sourced. And there’s no physical menu. Instead, immaculately presented staff – dressed in earthy tones to match the décor – deliver detailed explanations. Gently salted mullet lightly pickled in kombu vinegar; Murray cod with kuti XO sauce; and free-range duck from NSW are highlights. The latter is accompanied by blackened banana which took three months to prepare. Ask staff for the impressive tale. Nothing is wasted. Excess winter crop, leeks and brassicas were fermented separately, dried and blended through the butter.

Diners can expect new variations of the menu as the seasons unfold, a playcard that may be standard for most fine-diners, but one that’s best showcased at restaurants that rely heavily on produce to do work in unison with technique.

Local interior designer Georgie Shepherd cleverly uses natural light to highlight art from Hugo Michell Gallery, including striking pieces by Idowu Oluwaseun and Garawan Wanambi.

It’s a jaw-dropping experience from start to finish. The only thing missing is wines outside Bird in Hand’s ranges; stellar for first-timers but one that leaves return visitors wanting more.

LVN Restaurant at Bord in Hand
150 Pfeiffer Rd, Woodside SA
Jacob Davey
Price Guide
Opening Hours
Lunch Sat–Sun
An ode to the gardens

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