For years I’ve rattled on about not having a really uber-cool venue in the Swan Valley like you’d find in the Margaret River region. We’ve enjoyed countless holidays down south at places like Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Colonial and many more. They are all state of the art, modern buildings and cater very well for families. I heard months ago that Mandoon, a small family run estate, were expanding and had been keeping my eye on the building progress – it opened in mid-September.
As we drove down the long driveway, the large Mandoon building loomed over its vineyards. It’s reminiscent of the immense Duckstein Brewery on Caves Road. We were there for a spot of lunch and though it was midweek it was pretty busy, being the school holidays and a beautiful sunny day.
Mandoon is home to a cellar door, function centre, fine dining restaurant and a microbrewery – Homestead Brewery was our first stop. You can drink and dine inside the brewery, which is shiny and new. It’s a lovely view from the decking overlooking the vineyards.
We opted to sit “out the back” in the shady beer garden. There are loads of picnic benches and its right next to the shaded playground – which was a big hit with Little Chef. There were a few soccer and crickets games being played on the expansive, lush lawns. It had a lovely family atmosphere.
Michael Hartnell is Mandoon’s Executive Chef. The globe-trotting chef has worked in restaurants in London and on the prestigious 5th Avenue, New York City. Most recently he worked at renowned Eureka 89, Melbourne. Michael has gained a reputation for innovative dishes – the degustation menu for Mandoon’s fine dining restaurant looks divine.
We ordered our food inside at the bar. Chef had a pint of the “Kaisers Choice” a German style beer. Normally he’d go for a larger, but that’s not available just yet. Within 15 mins or so our food arrived. It looked delicious!
I chose the pulled pork tacos ($25), though I did think the pork was a bit “wet” and had juice running down my arm! The apple and fennel slaw was creamy and though I wasn’t 100% sold on the flavour of the pork (which I’d put down to personal taste), I did like the tacos.
Both Chef and Little Chef had pizzas. Little chef had a Margarita ($10) from the little people meal’s menu, which has a choice of four kids favourites.
We really enjoyed our first visit to Mandoon Estate and the Homestead Brewery. This is just what the Swan Valley has been missing. We absolutely love Mandoon and can’t wait to return – though I am torn between the dego menu at the beautiful fine dining restaurant or the roast meat roll!! What’s a chef’s wife to do?!