Chef and I were wowed by our winery lunch at Xanadu Margaret River earlier this year. The restaurant is a stunning setting for a long lunch – the perfect mix of classy and casual. The plates that came out of the kitchen were thoughtful, innovative and above all – delicious. Their Head Chef Melissa Kokoti knows exactly what to do with the amazing local produce on her doorstep, as well as growing a lot of her own vegetables and herbs onsite.
I jumped at the change to dine there again, when we were recently invited back for an encore. It was brilliant timing as I was already planning on enjoying a break with my parents in the foodie’s paradise that is Margaret River. This time the weather was a little chilly, so we enjoyed the ambiance inside the stone and timber-clad restaurant.
As well as the amazing food, I was looking forward to a glass or two of my all time favourite chardy (the Black label 2016 Xanadu Chardonnay). I was so excited to hear that just a few days earlier Xanadu had been awarded the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne Wine Show for their 2016 cabernet sauvignon. It’s regarded as being Australia’s top wine award, it’s been awarded to a WA winery only a handful of times.
We started off our lovely lunch with a glass of bubbles, from Xanadu’s sister winery Yarrabank. The sparkling Cuvee is made with French yeast and went down a treat. We looked over the menu and there are so many taste bud tempting dishes on there. The sashimi style ocean trout is a vibrant, flavour bomb of a dish. Plated beautifully with beetroot, black sesame, fish roe and lime, the fresh trout was silky smooth and absolutely delicious. I loved this entrée.
My Dad made a bee-line for the moist smoked hock – mainly as it featured a bit of black pudding, a favourite of his. Plump broad beans, mint and apple made up this tasty dish which was finished with a garnish of thinly sliced crisp pig’s ears. That may sound a bit iffy, but they’re essentially the same as pork crackle and very moreish.
The katalfi prawn dish was served in a deep, wide lipped bowl, which added to the drama of the striking whole prawns. The plump prawns are wrapped in a crisp pastry, which sit on a bead of smoked almonds, quinoa and pomegranate.
The three of us were still gushing about our entrees when our mains arrived. I don’t think the Arkady lamb belly dish should ever leave the menu. Scrumptious rolled belly meat is so flavoursome. I love it. Served with parsnip, green olive, an almond vinaigrette and broccolini, I was so chuffed that I chose this dish.
Rankin Cod was the market fish of the day, perfectly pan fried and accompanied by fennel, potato, tartare, herbs and lemon.
There is so much finesse to the pretty venison dish. The game meat served in a crisp cigar along with beetroot, an oyster cream and bone marrow.
Desert was a showstopper. Last time, I adored the strawberry panna cotta. This time a zingy lemon mousse, white chocolate, lemon balm, apple granita is served in a stemless wineglass… which was really quite apt, as after a few wines I was on the way to feeling a bit legless myself! I love wine, but rarely have more than a glass or two in a sitting, as it does go to my head.
My Mum also loved her mille-feuille of salted caramel, vanilla, praline, and dark chocolate sorbet. mille-feuille means “million layers” in French and refers to the puff pastry.
Cheese goes so well with wine, so my Dad chose a creamy blue gorgonzola. The cheese, which was surprisingly sweet, was spread liberally on lavosh with nut and fruit pastes.
If the choice of a whole menu is just too much, Xanadu’s Chefs can create a degustation of their favourite dishes for $85 per person.
The day we dined, Xanadu Margaret River had been announced as being in the top 50 restaurants in Western Australia, by the WA Good Food Guide. Another very well deserved accolade for the popular winery restaurant. If you haven’t been to Xanadu yet to see what all the fuss is about, you really must book a table next time you’re in Margs – it’s simply superb.
Big thanks to Dexter and his friendly front of house team, as well as Chef Mellissa and her talented Chefs, for making our Xanadu lunch so special. We’ll absolutely be back.