On the outskirts of Margaret River is another winery that sets the mood for the perfect afternoon. Knee Deep is a boutique winery that does amazing lunches from its restaurant that benefits from its picturesque vineyard. Coming in at 2pm, the service was prompt and we were seated in the restaurant which was heavily accented with wood and glass, a classic combinations! Its a shame that some of the folding doors were closed! It would have been really nice otherwise with the gentle summer breeze blowing.
To start, I decided to call a round of bite sized titbits for the table.
The tapioca cracker, sweetcorn curd and leek ash was a simple start that felt sophisticated yet simple enough to appreciate. The crisp cracker paired with the sweet creamy corn curd was nice because the sweetness has some texture to mellow into. The leek ash had some impact by means of a smokey fragrance but it was marginal at best.
The Knee Deep winery restaurant has strong dishes when it came to their appetisers. My choice was the slow-cooked omelette, sweetcorn, manchego, and smoked capsicum relish. It was a special dish that came out looking amazing. The omelette was topped with tasty manchego cheese and it sat on a smooth corn puree. On the outside, it was soft and fluffy whilst the insides were kept runny. Taste wise, everything really matched and it was an enjoyable experience.
Dad’s appetizer to share with mom was the crispy lamb breast, peas, local plums and garlic nougatine. Cooked to perfection, the meat was not gamey in anyway. More impressive was how the lamb was really crispy on the outside!
My sister ordered the cured ocean trout with nori puree, edamame, oyster cream and rice crisp. If you are a big fan of seafood, this is definitely for you. However, if you are like me who only like odourless fish you might find the composition a little too fishy! My sister loved every bit of it nonetheless!
The mains were another round of exemplary cooking. Out of the 4 mains ordered, 3 were the the grilled Barramundi. Knee Deep’s presentation was again the highlight of the afternoon. The slice of fish looked great sitting on well-seasoned fennel salad (almost like the one at Tetsuyas). Its seasoning was very minimal but complemented the fresh fish perfectly with its slightly citrusy notes. It also had nice sauce but I reckon it could do with a little more salt. My low point on the dish though, was the skin that could have been cooked more crisp! But perhaps the disappointment of not having a crispy skin was relieved by the fact that the flesh was still superbly moist and juicy. I am not a fish snob but one can definitely tells juicy-sweet fish meat from solid and powdery ones!
On the side, was a bowl of potato fritters tossed with kimchi and spicy mayonnaise. To finish it, the potatoes were topped with some fried shallots. The top pieces were the best bit due to the generosity of the fragrant shallots. Potatoes as side are usually very one dimensional i.e. salty. The potatoes at Knee Deep were special in the sense that it had the sour kimchi bits that made the potatoes mildy spicy and sour. As a whole, it added a sense of appetite to the entire meal. At the end though, it got a little sickening! Probably because I was eating the whole thing by myself lol.
Dad has a tendency to go Asian is very likely wherever we go but this time around, he picked the pork because everyone else around the table had the fish.
I reckon dad’s dish stole the show that afternoon. He called the roasted Berkshire pork belly, with a hot & sour prawn salad, that tasted somewhat like a Som Tam. The crispy pork belly was simply astounding. Skin crisp just right, the meat still tender and the fatty layers in between were just nice. It was not overly thick or sickening but just nice. The salad on the side was also hard to fault because the salad dressing had a good balance between salty, sweet and acidity. Not to mention some juicy prawns too. Just yums and it was definitely a good alternative to usual the pork & scallop pairing!
As a whole, the Knee Deep vineyard is an experience in Margaret River worth mentioning. The food is honest, the produce fresh from the region and creativity on the plate was effective. Knee Deep's attention to detail was sensational and the artistic plating is clear proof to this statement. Also, to the money conscious, Knee Deep is not a vineyard that leaves your finances crying. Without the happy endings of dessert, the bill came to a modest $220 including drinks for the table for 4 people. Factor in the entertainment card and we only paid $170 for the meal. Recommended? Definitely so. In fact, next time I will be returning for their degustation!