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Showing posts with label Swan Valley eatery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swan Valley eatery. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bites: A Meal at the Vineyard @ Lamont's , Swan Valley

After a hectic week involving a car service, catching up with the ex-colleagues, my mentor and just getting through the chores around the house, I was in Swan Valley for a day trip.  More importantly, I discovered a whole new place of happiness in the Valley.  It is the famous Lamont’s Vineyard.  While the whole menu looked all very decadent, I was a little cautious after my last attempt to fine dine at Lamont’s Bishop went pear-shaped leaving a huge hole in my pocket.  Needless to say, a few queries at the counter to ask about the waiter's favourite dishes as well as her other recommendations soon had me decide on the dishes I was going to order.

The first to arrive was the crispy pork belly, cauliflower puree, and caramelised onions.
The puree was silky smooth and the pork was the crispiest.  Salad at the top was refreshing, and the onions were caramelised till sticky-sweet.  While most techniques were aced without question, it was the simplest detail that was left out.  Salt.  Spices.  I felt that the pork could do with more salt-marinade as it was a little bit bland and did not standout from the lot.  Still, it was a decent eat.

Deep fried prawns, grated coconut, and avocado soba was the next dish.  Splendid.  This was my dish of the day without question.  Prawn so amazing you thought you were at the seaside and soba so well modernised it felt just right.  Drizzling the lemon over the soba, you are left with a silky smooth soba with a creamy avocado coating.  This normally gets a little cloying but when you have the diced bits of onions and coriander playing with your senses where it was a little bit pungent, a little bit herbed and it all felt very interesting especially towards the end with a citrusy note from the lime juice.  I truly enjoyed it.  Despite being deep fried and having bits of creamy avocado, I did not feel overwhelmed at any one point!

Steak, croquette, caramelised root vegetables and salad, with a side of chips with truffle oil.  While it was hard to fault with the steak dish, it more -standard than special.  Still, there was nothing wrong.  The steak was well-cooked, croquettes crisp with a fluffy inside and over all just very nice.  But when you have a side of chips cooked so bloody amazing, you soon disregard everything else.  The chips at Lamont’s Vineyard soon became a highlight.  Yobi who was with me commented that why do most places do chips so bad.  This is amazing he says!  True enough, I was thoroughly impressed by the humble potato.  If you ever come to Lamont’s Vineyard, this is definitely worth ordering.  Even if you are here just for the drinks!

To end was a caramel tart that came highly recommended by the waitress. On the first bite, you might feel like you have had enough because it was so very rich but there always seemed to be a taste that had me come back.  The gooey texture topped with some crunchy nuts with its crumbly base made the tart a very yummy.  In the end, it was never quite enough to share for three. 

But having called too many dishes to share earlier means I was left to bring the macaron’s back home.  These were made by the famous Jean Pierre Sancho Patisserie.  Crunchy top with a chewy centre, there was nothing much too praise for a person who is not a fan of sugar.  Admittedly though, the macarons were very visually impressive.

Comparing the Vineyard to the fine dining establishment at Lamont’s Bishop, I really adored the former more.  Lamont’s Vineyard on a Saturday afternoon is a lovely place.  It was just so relaxed.   Food is simple, honest and not overly complicated.  The environment was relaxed and it all felt very comfortable.  Being with my old buddy and his girlfriend also meant that it was time spent well.  A lovely end to a long week I have to say :)!

Lamont's Swan Valley on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 29, 2013

Swan Valley: Sandalford Wineries, Margaret River Chocolate Co., House of Honey & Orange Grover

Swan Valley tends to be a convenience I overlook but more frequently misjudge.  For me, the Swan Valley hype never quite kicked off but in my last visit I attempted re-kindle my fondness for this place beyond Alfred’s Kitchen.  Sandalford Wineries was my first stop for some spectacular wines.  Driving in to the vineyard, the lush surrounding and manicured grass gave us a great impression that money is well worth spent here.  From the grand entry to the restaurant, everything was so perfectly put together.  No wonder this place was highly recommended on the web.  Definitely returning for lunch or dinner one day :)!
Moving on. Clearly expressed by my preference to avoid bitter foods like medicines of any sort, bitter gourd, most alcohols, coffee and so forth, bitterness has never quite been my thing.  Tell me its an acquired taste and I tell you that you are a masochist :)!  But that did not stop me from buying a few bottles of sweet wine back.  I bought two bottles that day, one was a 2010 Sandalford Botrytis Semillon and the other was a 2010 Sandalford Sweet Red.  I have opened the Semillon and all I can say is that it was very sweet.  The sales person that sold me the Semillon had asked me to take note of all the fruity notes like pineapples and apricot when I drank the bottle.  However, when I had a glass at home all I could taste was sweetness.  Big time sweetness. So much for trying to learn about wines =.=!  Maybe next time haha.
The part of my Swan Valley tour is what most tourists will think about when they look back at their trip to Swan Valley. The Margaret River Chocolate Company!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Needless to say, they re not the only ones.  Coming here today, I was as happy as the kids were.  While I am obviously 25 years too young, I did not had the luxury of having my lips and fingers stained with chocolates  xD!  Nonetheless, I had at least 5 spoons of their so-called tasters!  Massive sugar overload that followed with the purchase of a White Chocolate Strawberry Truffle.  It was so yums!  The white chocolate was smooth, milky and very creamy.  To finish it was a strawberry cream that was mildly sweet with good acidity that prevented it from becoming cloying!  I have to say that the chocolates at the Margaret River Chocolate Co. are really delicious.
While XL and Yv bought some chocolates as souvenirs for family and friends, they were particularly baffled by the absence of a “taster pack”.  A chocolate pack that allows your guest, recipients or even yourself to enjoy all three types of chocolates.  As I had spoon after spoon, I developed a fondness for all three flavors.  The white one which everyone says is not a chocolate for the lack of cocoa, was creamy, sweet and very indulgent.  Meanwhile, the milk chocolate was similar but very chocolaty without losing its creaminess.  But at the end of the day, it was the dark chocolate that I suspect will be the reason for my size to double.  Being the least sweet of the lot, it was something I can eat handful after handful!  But no concerns for me as I did not buy any.  Would definitely have bought a taster pack if there was one :(!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext up was the Golden Grover Citrus Farm just 25 minutes away from the chocolate factory.   Hidden amongst the barren hills lie a plot of greenery that produces spectacular citrus fruits.   How would I know?  Well, I have had people buy me some oranges and juices from here last year and least to say, they were spectacular.  Sweet, juicy and citrusy!  Sadly, I have no accompanying pictures as the ones that I have bought from this trip now resides in my tummy :)!  To be honest, not sad at all ahaha!  One of the best things is that when you are here, you know exactly which sort of Navel oranges you get with the expert help of the owners.  Definitely worth coming if you have a day in the valley.  Also available are grapefruits, mandarins, lemons and all products derived from them ;)!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
On the way back, we dropped by our final destination for the day, the House of Honey.  If you are looking for lotions, honey, lip balms and all sorts of goodies which uses honey, definitely drop by!  The House of Honey prides themselves for using quality honey which boasts to have high total activity (good bacteria and enzymes) due to their practice of not using any heat during the treatment process.  Which means all the good stuff stays untouched when bottled!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
So tempted but so shy.  Damn adulthood.  But I’d doubt that my head would fit in there anyway.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Inside is an impressive bee hive encased in a glass display.  Quiet freak to see their living conditions in there.  But amazing at the same time.  Thanks to this little fellas, we have honey :)!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And with honey, we can have delicious food.  If you happen to be here early mid morning or in the evening, do not forget to grab a bite at the Sticky Spoon Café located in the House of Honey.   At the Sticky Spoon Café , you can choose from a scrumptious spread of cakes, bread, cookies or scones to go along with you favourite cuppa.  If you happen to need lunch, they also have a selection of savory bites made to order.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
For us folks that day, we need not look further than the scones and tea set at $7 bucks each.  Crumbly on the outside with a moist buttery inside, you will definitely like the ones here.   Everything a scone should be.  But if you had asked me whether these scones were the best, I would definitely prefer freshly baked homemade ones where it comes out piping hot and very soft.  Rest is a bit under a few kitchen towels, and it hardens on the outside.  Just perfect that way.  But when you are too lazy to do something fancy (do not forget making your own jam and whipping the cream!), a scone at the House of Honey will do.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScone Pic #1
The scones were served with a side of honey, cream and jam.  All of which went well with the scone.  Out of the lot, nothing beats the good old jam and cream.  I ended up using the honey to sweeten my tea instead of the usual sugar.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScone Pic #2
OH! And before you leave the Sticky Spoon Café, do not forget to buy a scoop of ice cream.  Lovely flavors, all honey inspired.  The Honey Macadamia was top notch without the unnecessary sweetness from the one made by Connoisseur.  Creamy, and fragrant with macadamia bits! :)
Its such a windy Friday today.  Definitely could do with some scones and hot tea right now lol.  But to all my readers, have a pleasant weekend and a good Friday.  If you wake up bored tomorrow and feel like doing something, take a few hours off your day to visit the Swan Valley.  Not the most interesting place on earth but there is definitely something for everyone.  For the more adventurous, you can even go paintballing or laser tag.  Regardless of whichever route you choose to go on, definitely get some chocolate.  It’s a MUST.
The Sticky Spoon Cafe on Urbanspoon Margaret River Chocolate Co. Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bites: Elmars @ Swan Valley.

It has been a lengthy discussion for weeks if not months for a date that all of us could go to Elmar’s together.  Despite all the clashes of schedules, we managed a time slot last Saturday.  Upon our arrival, we were happy to see a crowded lot filling both the outdoor and indoor dining area.  However, it was quite a turn off when we were asked to sit in the bar area because we did not make a reservation when just a few days ago I was told that I did not need to make one.  The boastful waitress who insisted that Elmar’s is the busiest restaurant in the area did not help make us comfortable too.  Nevertheless, after complaining about the little comfort the bar area had, we were given proper seats! Phewh!!




The 7 of us decided to order a few dishes to share as we wanted to enjoy the different things Elmar’s had to offer.  Looking through the menu, one thing was clear about the Germans.  They loved their pork!  Luckily enough I do not have any problems with that except on one occasion where a tour organiser hilariously thought I was a Muslim.  I am tanned OK? ahaha. 


Too get the best of the German’s we had to try their specialties of course.  To start our meal, we ordered a few starters:


Elmar’s Cheesy garlic toast @ $8.90 for 3 pieces were a bit on the pricey side but served our tummies well! It was yummy and delicious in every bite!  However, I thought that the bread was a little dry and could be more moist in the middle.  But after having the garlic bread at Ikea, I decided otherwise and felt that the one at Elmar’s was more edible for sure >.<!!


Our next appetizer was probably the highlight compared to the rest :P!  The potato skin despite being the least eaten part of a potato was cooked to perfection! Golden, crisp and lightly salted, I cannot be more pleased! In fact, everyone was just as pleased!


(This picture was from TheMemoir)


As for our mains, we ordered the following:


Elmar’s Bratwurst Plat @ $36.90! A trio of Elmar’s Bratwurst - Grillbratwurst, Cheese Kransky and Coarse Bratwurst, on a bed of Potato Mash and Sauerkraut, with Crisp Garden Salad with a side of Mustard!  The sausages were delish and I thought that the middle Cheese Kransky one was really good.  Little bits of melted cheese tucked in it made these tiny morsels of food  really pleasant and a tad nostalgic considering cheese sausages were one of my brekkie foods when I was a kid back home!  And to be honest, I really dislike the Sauerkraut!  I think I have a lot of adapting to do!  Lastly, considering the price we have paid for 3 short sausages, I felt pretty ripped off for sure.  The value was somewhere but definitely not in the food.  The mash itself, oh god, it has definitely been made better at home before, if not many times!!


Nevertheless, the side of Fried Potatoes with Onion & Bacon (Bratkartoffeln) @ $9.90 did not disappoint!


Although onions and bacons were absent in the picture, it was still quite ok.  Not too salty but a good accompaniment compared to the Sauerkraut! lolx!


Even though we had a decent start to the meal, it was not until the Rolled Pork Belly @ $33.90 was served that I was finally satisfied! Even YiHeng though it was delicious!


Tender Pork Belly, Rolled with Honey Mustard Glaze and Elmar’s Kangaroo and Emu Chorizo, Served atop Fried Garlic Zucchini with Rosemary Potato, Beer Mustard Sauce and Homemade Red Onion Confit!  While every thing on the plate was almost flawless, I felt that the sauce somehow dragged the entire dish down.  The defect was not major, but it just felt lacking.  Oh, and do not be worried about the kangaroo and emu chorizo as it turned out odourless with a peppery taste!


Elmar’s Specialty the Pork Shank (Schweinehaxe) @ $42.90 was meant to be the killa but turned out otherwise or hmm perhaps it did kill… our jaws.


Nothing needs to be explained here I would suppose? :P!  Pickled cabbage, with the onion and bacon potatoes. Hmmm ok and the much publicised German specialty, the pork knuckle.  It is a slow cooked and roasted pickled pork shank encased in a crunchy crackling.  To our dismay, everything about this dish did not satisfy.  Did the hype kill the dish?  Perhaps so!  The meet was tasteless, cracking was barely crispy and oh @.@!  The crackling took ages to chew and nobody actually liked it!  Fortunately, the side of mustard did add the much needed flavour missing from the meat!  I came home with a sore throat and aching wisdom tooth after having this =(!  5 days after and my tooth still aches now as I type this out ahhh!!!!


Surprisingly, sharing all the food made us quite full even though we did not order a main each!  While everyone decided to go to the Margaret River Chocolate factory, the little darling and I decided to end our meal here with a dessert.  Below is the dessert we ordered, the Crème Brulee @ $15.


Definitely not recommended.  The custard was rough, the layer of sugar was slightly thin but sufficed because the custard was no more than a centimetre thick.  Could have been smoother but otherwise..!  By the end of the dessert, I would have honestly preferred to do without it! $$ waster!!


Putting our cutleries down, we looked at each other and from our expressions, it was rather clear how we felt about our meal at Elmar’s.  I cannot say we certainty that the food served at Elmar’s is truly German or pseudo-German.  But what I can say is that Elmar’s is definitely not a restaurant where money is well spent.  Despite sharing our meals, those who chose to had dessert or beer paid something closer towards $30 which is quite pricey for the standard of food we were getting.  If it was good, perhaps a 50 dollars would have been worth it.  But not this time around.  One thing we have learnt well though, that is do not get your hopes up high just because the radio plays a restaurant’s commercial too often!



Elmar's in the Valley on Urbanspoon