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Showing posts with label South West Australian eatery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South West Australian eatery. Show all posts

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bites: Knee Deep Winery and Restaurant @ Johnson Road, Margaret River.

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!

Knee Deep in Margaret River on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bites: Leeuwin Estate Restaurant @ Stevens Road, Margaret River

South West Australia you awesome thing! It has been awhile since I took a trip to the region.  4 years or so I believe.  The tree-lined drive has always won my fancy and this time around it did not disappoint either.  My 4day trip down South over the long weekend was plenty enough to enjoy some of the region’s finest beaches and dining venues.  Leaving home at 9am, I reached just in time to enjoy lunch at the Leeuwin Estate Winery.

Mom and dad cringed at the thought of another big dollar bill after our unfortunate visit to Lamont’s last year.  Needless to say, I took pleasure in reassuring them not all establishments are built equal.  Seasons change, palates grow and menus evolve.  

To start, we ordered a loaf of bread $7 and a Charcuterie plank $38 with  cured wild boar meat, one with black truffle truffles and the other plain, pork Rillette, tomato chutney, liver parfait, gherkins, pickled peppers and bread.
Everyone had a bite into this decadent plank.  The offerings were vast and each element was surprisingly tasty.  But not as surprising as my dad wrapping the everything up in the slices of cured meats as though eating an inside out Peking duck haha.  Needless to say, it was a good starter.  Perfect for sharing across the table!

Our curious little appetiser, the scallops sashimi $26.
Consisting of three thinly slices of scallop, an avocado mousse and some salsa in a clear consommĂ©, this was a refreshing bite for the afternoon.  Now, if only we could super size this!  I have to say, it was really small even for one person.

Finishing our appetiser, the service was prompt and courteous with the waitstaff asking us whether we were good to start the next course.  Receiving our positive nods, she cleared the table and came out with our mains just moments later.

Dad’s dish of grilled Tiger Prawns ($40~) served on a bed of Cous Cous with little dollops of Harissa.
Bright, presentable and every bit attractive, there was more substance to this than what meets the eye.  Well-cooked prawns, fruity Cous Cous and a sublime sauce to pair.  Whilst it sounded really simple, it was faultless.  

Mom’s fish of the day consisted of a grilled Snapper, Figs, and Prosciutto ($40~).
Mom was happy to be served what she ordered.  She was happy.  Very indeed!  On her behalf, a bite into this help me understood why. It was simply cooked to perfection.  A decent slab of fresh market fish crisp on top, juicy on the inside which condiments that actually make your tongue wag.  

My sis and I shared the 900 gram Rib Eye ($110) that came with a side of fries and salad.
Damn the steak came out looking grand.  As we were one of the first ones to have our mains served, I could tell that other tables decided on their mains based on what we had when they saw the steak come out.  The steak was a clear winner from that perspective. But was it really all that great?  For starters, our request for medium-rare came out closer to medium bordering well-done.  Whilst it was hardly praiseworthy, what surprised me was that the meat was still really tender despite not being perfectly pink in the middle?  Was it trickery to the eye? I wonder.  The condiments of mustards did not look as rich as the Harissa and BĂ©arnaise served at Rockpool but the horseradish and English mustard played a big part in bringing out the flavours of the steak.  I really enjoyed it for some reason.  Holiday mood? :P

The chips were great.  Thinly cut, fried crisp and came served with a yummy aioli dip.  But as good as it was, I was more impressed with the chef’s accompanying salad for the steak. 
The mixture of hand picked garden herbs like mint, basil and coriander mixed with tiny bits of lettuce and rockets in a generous acid dressing was delicious.  Biting into herbs you get layers of fragrance and freshness pouring out.  Pair it with the steak and somehow the combination really worked!  In this instance it tasted so much better than Rockpool's chopped salad!

To end, we had some desserts to share around the plate

Flour-less orange and almond cake ($12)

Dark chocolate mousse with berry foam, sour cherry preserve and spiced grains.

Pineapple panna cotta, pineapple sorbet and a slice of pineapple.
The desserts on the table were all very decadent.  Our palate did not take liking to several elements like the fresh pineapple in the Panna Cotta because it was cut too deep into the core leaving a fibrous taste in each bite.  I also was not too impressed by the spices grain in the chocolate mousse as the ratio did not feel quite right.  But arguably my biggest displeasure was the lack of depth in the chocolate mousse.  It did not feel quite right.  Something was lacking for sure. In saying that, there were still very good desserts like the orange and almond cake. That was yums! 

Including a round of drinks before and after meal, the bill totalled to around $300 which was pretty decent for all the food we had.  To sum the service, ambience and quality of food, Leeuwin Estate really lived up to my expectations.  My booking here was rather unplanned as it turned out to be one of the restaurants with available tables and luckily enough, the food was up to standard.  Also, its elevated restaurant also ensured that the diners are blessed with views of its open field below

Leeuwin Estate Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bites: Denmark Riverview Hotel @ Denmark.

It has been an eventful week which saw the engineers and their companions enjoy a trip to the South West region of W.A.  Not entirely sweet, but it was pretty damn good!  While I have been down South plenty of times, this was one of the best trips ever.  The lovely holiday home at Margaret river was orgasmic.  For a good culinary experience, Denmark Hotel satisfied me once again.  The menu has changed but not the quality. 
Our group of 15 people ordered pretty much everything that can be ordered from the menu.  Steaks, pork chops, lamb, seafood and chicken.  Not to mention salads and soups too!!  But since the table was super duper long, I did not take every single picture.  Driving 500km was tiring and definitely took a toll on my legs.  Hehehe.  Now for the good part, time to dive in to the food.

For starters, Xin Ling and I shared a chunky tomato soup!
The soup was super good.  YiHeng loved it.  Xin ling who does not like sweet foods was also tempted to try a spoon and kept spooning more afterwards.  Definitely a winner:)!

For my main, I choose the marinated lamb pieces with a rocket salad on a bed of pumpkin mash with fetta cheese and an onion something ahah.  Finished with sauces that tasted awesome.
The lamb was yummy!!! But the goddamn serve was so small =X!! Luckily I ordered the soup beforehand.  It helped fill me to the halfway mark.  To enjoy the flavours that were scattered around the plate, I cut small pieces of everything and mixed it in my mouth.  Totally kickass!  But the mash and Balsamic vinegar sauce is not for everyone.  For example, UWA’s top Civil Engineer Anthony did not enjoy it ahahaha.  I think he likes his lamb with poppy seeds xD!!

Next up is Yi Heng main.  The Denmark Sirloin Steak with salad and cheaps.
While the cut is as big and juicy as ever, this lovely steak no longer comes on a sizzling plate :(!  It’s now the pub style steak served with chips.  I tried a small piece of it and it was perfectly cooked.  Juicy with some fats enveloped around the meat!!  I like it that way, but I’m not sure about the preferences of health conscious people.  Oh yeah, Jim who ordered the same thing had his NOT cooked to order. It was slightly overcooked :(!  I think 15 people was too much for this small town restaurant to handle @.@!

And the little darling’s dish was the oven roasted chicken wrapped with prosciutto served with polenta and finished with grilled asparagus, and cherry tomatoes.
The best way to describe this was visual pleasure.  I feel rested with her selection even without tasting it.  While the chicken meat alone is dry, combining the polenta with the chicken meat and some cherry tomatoes make it taste a whole lot better.  The juiciness within the tomatoes were eagerly waiting to burst out in every way.  Super yummy too.  I think she enjoyed her chicken quite a fair bit.  However, the polenta was not as creamy as we would have liked it to be.  Expected a more refined texture, but it was still acceptable hehe.

Another dish that received thumbs up for the night was the pork chop.  I have to admit, it looked legendary.  Like a house built on an isle surrounded by a red sea.That was my second choice if I had not chosen the lamb.  It was totally juicy inside like chicken thigh fillet :D!

Ok peeps, that is all for now.  Will be updating more posts on the trip ahah.