Aravina Estate – Yallingyup

UntitledawAravina Estate Restaurant & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef and I love nothing more than a delicious meal over a glass of wine when we dine in Margaret River, though we don’t always feel comfortable taking seven year old Little Chef along to some of the fancy winery restaurants. So for us, Aravina ticks all the boxes. It is a classy, but laid back winery with great food and wine, plenty of things to do and see and best of all its family friendly!IMG_9810

On our break to Margs last year, we visited Aravina. We drove down the sweeping driveway, past the many rows of vines, parking near the lush gardens. It was the third time we’d visited. The first being a decade earlier, on our honeymoon. It was known as the Amberley Estate and their Chenin Blanc was my favourite tipple. Aravina has a French provincial style cellar door and is set in gorgeous surroundings, with lush plants and huge lawns for the kids to run about on. The dining room is equally as stunning.IMG_9825

 

Aravina’s restaurant is a great spot for a lazy lunch. We’d been here before, but not since their well renowned Executive Chef Ben Day took over the kitchen along with his team. Chef Ben is known as a bit of a forager and gather and I was excited to see which interesting local ingredients we’d get to try.  On his menu, only the highest quality local produce is used, with a lot of it grown onsite. We picked a 2014 ‘Single Vineyard’ Shiraz , $12per glass to enjoy with our lunch. It was wonderfully smooth.IMG_9830

 

Chef and I enjoyed two courses from the set menu for $60 each (or $70 for three). The Aravina menu changes regularly, so these dishes won’t be available now, but you can see how beautifully plated they are. Chef chose the tender Blue Ridge marron with marron dashi, which is a Japanese style soup. It’s served with fermented celeriac and foraged mushrooms.IMG_9837

I adored the crispy lamb pastilla, which is a little like a northern African spring roll. It was brimming with moist lamb and accompanied by a charred eggplant salad, date & rose puree and dollops of hung yoghurt.IMG_9842

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Brewhouse – Margaret River

img_9997Brewhouse Margaret River Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All this unseasonal wintery weather has had me thinking about our trip to Margaret River last year. We found a beaut new spot on a soggy old day, with a roaring fire, quality beer and hearty pub grub.img_9994

If there’s something Margs isn’t short of it’s a brewery. Brewhouse is found just on the outskirts of town, about an 8 minute walk from the Margaret River Tourist Information Centre, handy if you’re staying in the town itself. There’s a big beer garden, patio and sandy playground for the kids. img_9983

With the rain teaming down outside, I just had to have a hot chocolate to warm me up. We were lucky to get the best seat in the (brew)house – right next to the cosy roaring fire!img_9979

Chef, who loves a craft beer or three, was spoiled for choice at the bar. There’s something to please all beer lovers from your regular Aussie larger, an English golden ale, stout, pale ales, pilsner, IPA and more. Chef was impressed by Brewhouses’ German style Kolsch. img_9993

The food menu has a stack of choice. You can either share plates and choose several dishes from the “sharing is caring” menu or fly “hans solo” and keep your dish to yourself! Chef chose a pulled pork pizza, $22. The moist meat, with tangy house made BBQ sauce, onions and bocconcini cheese was a delicious combination.img_9985

Feeling like a pork dish too, I picked a very tasty sounding pork roll with chips from the special’s menu, $24. The roll was brimming with a generous chunk of farmhouse pork belly, sweet pear chutney, pan gravy and a fennel slaw. The pork belly, complete with crispy crackling, was as delicious as I’d hoped. I did find it a little difficult to eat without a knife and fork though.img_9991

In keeping with our piggy theme for lunch, Little Chef enjoyed a bacon pineapple and cheese pizza $12, from the “Young Ones” menu.img_9984

We found the food offering at Brewhouse is tasty and well priced. We’d absolutely go there again for a top notch pub meal and hopefully next time the weather is pleasant enough to chillax in their beer garden too!img_9982

 

Simmo’s Icecream – Dunsborough

UntitledsssSimmos Icecreamery & Cafe on Urbanspoon
This was our second visit to Simmo’s Ice creamery. It’s a few minutes south of the sea-side town of Dunsborough; set in lovely green and shady grounds. With a playground for the kids, a crazy golf course and… wait for it… an Ice cream Eating Emu!! No Joke. Watch your fingers!!
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IMG_9937We had;

The grandads in our group had Rum n Raisin in a cone (it was delicious I was told). Untitledrnr

Little Chef chose Bubble-gum. I had anticipated this from the last visit and dressed LC in a matching blue shirt! Haha Luckily, he didn’t drip much this time and remarked that it was “super tasty”. IMG_9926

The service at Simmo’s is super friendly. One of the lady’s in particular (I wish I knew her name), was absolutely lovely. She was very chatty and gave us a few tips of where to eat in the area. After giving her my order “Meringue, Blueberry & White choc” and “Banoffee Pie”. I asked her what her favourite flavour was; “Mascarpone Orange Swirl” which she popped a mini scoop of on the top. And OH. MY. GOODNESSSS The lovely lady was absolutely spot-on. I think I liked that flavour the best too!!Untitled3ic

Eagle Bay Brewing Co

IMG_0294Eagle Bay Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

First impressions are so important – in all aspects of life.

On a trip to WA’s south west, in 2011, we happened upon the newly opened Eagle Bay Brewing Co. We had already had lunch that day, but popped to EBB for a drink. Unfortunately at that time, you weren’t able to be served alcohol without a meal there, as they had a very limited liquor licence. We were disappointed as it looked lovely. We’d just sat down and our 2 year old had stated to play on the playground. He was pretty upset that we were leaving so suddenly. The lady in charge gave him a little toy crocodile, which cheered him up and stopped the floods of tears. It was a simple gesture, but one I never forgot and I always had in mind that we’d come back here again.IMG_0317

UntitledebFast forward two and a half years… We were in the South West with our English cousins. They were visiting Perth for 2 weeks. They enjoyed brilliant weather for most of the time – except this one day. The gloomy drizzle that blankets Britain had popped over to say “hiya”. We sat overlooking the beer garden and we could appreciate, that on a sunny day, we would have a spectacular view. To be fair, even in the gloom the view was pretty nice! Eagle Bay Brewing Co is surrounded by a working sheep and cattle property (Run by farmer John). His children, Nick, Astrid and Adrian, run the EBB Co.IMG_0310

The menu is pretty simple, but the food is tasty and well executed. We ate;

Italian Sausage, Mushroom, Spinach and Fontina Cheese ($24)Untitledpebb

Friend sweet corn bread, black bean salsa and guacamole ($20)Untitledee

Beer Battered Fish n Chips ($28)ebbc

Beef burger with bacon, cheddar, garlic mayo, beetroot, tomato, lettuce & fries ($22)Untitledebbcb

IMG_0316We enjoyed Eagle Bay Brewing a lot. The men among us really loved the beer too! There is a large sandpit for the kids and they can have a kick about on the grassed area or a wander around the flower and veggie patch. The outlook is stunning, rain, hail or shine. IMG_0313

Margaret River Bakery

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Margaret River Bakery on Urbanspoon

After a few craft beers and bottles of wine the night before, a few of us were looking for a morning hangover cure. The Margaret River Bakery seemed like the obvious place to seek that out. So we ordered a few pies and sausage rolls to ease those queasy stomachs! IMG_0260

I thought I’d been here before a few years ago, but after stepping into the eclectic/vintage style room I wasn’t actually sure. I’d envisioned a regular bakery, but it’s really more of a nice café. There are lots of freshly baked treats and breads. Apparently it’s a great spot for breakfast and coffee too – so I’ve made a mental note of that for our next trip to MR.

Chef tells me that the pie was fantastic. It really hit the spot – it was tasty and had LOTS of chunks of meat. It’s so rare to find a meaty pie, Chef was stoked and it perked him up for the rest of the day!IMG_0265

The Goose – Bussleton

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Goose Cafe Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A couple of years ago a few of us got caught in a torrential downpour walking on Busselton Jetty. We could have quite easily been on Brighton or Blackpool Pier that day, it was so wild and woolly. The Goose provided a warm, dry escape and HOT COFFEE! We made a note that it would be a grand place for lunch if we were in the area again.

IMG_9833The dining room is very inviting, though it would seem most people there would rather dine alfresco. Well, with a view overlooking the crystal clear waters of Geographe bay and the Jetty – why wouldn’t you? I do have to admit (and you may have noticed), that I am a bit of a sucker for a funky light fitting – and the Goose has it’s very own row boat light shade. But it’s not the only one in the South West – Arivina Winery does too!!IMG_9834

UntitledfcgMost of us ordered Fish n Chips ($29.50). It was WA fish, served with chunky chips and a garden salad. About 4 or more of the people on our table ordered it and they all really enjoyed their lunch. I had a “bloggers moment”, I choose something different (even though I quite fancied Fish n Chips), just so there was something else to photograph! Silly Me. Well, no – I actually really enjoyed the Thai Beef Salad ($28.50). It was sweet and nutty; the crunchy Asian veg was covered with a hot and sour dressing.IMG_9837

IMG_9836Exmouth Prawns, pistachio & coconut curry. My lovely cousin, Mrs L (the Gluten-free vego) enjoyed this very much!

UntitledggWe like the Goose a lot. The service was good and very unobtrusive. They were very accommodating given we were a group of 10 “walk-ins”. The dining room was fresh and modern, with a view to die for. My cousins loved The Goose so much that they returned again for lunch a few days later on the way back to Perth!Untitledbg

Lyons Den – Yallingup Private Holiday Home

I was trying to find the perfect holiday home in Western Australia’s South Western region. There were a lot of people to please. I had my English Cousins visiting us. There were 6 of them; children, parents and grandparents. Then there was the 3 of us and my parents too. Luckily there are a lot of BIG houses in the Margaret River wine region!! I spent hours searching on the internet. I happened upon the website www.stays.com.au , which was invaluable. IMG_9582

Lyons Den has 6 Bedrooms. A King with spa en-suite, a double with shower en-suite, two further doubles, a twin bedroom and the kids bedroom with two bunks and a trundle. There is also another bathroom with shower and bath. It can easily accommodate about 15 people and 2 or 3 familys comfortably. The chef’s kitchen was given the tick of approval by Chef. It had a double sized fridge/freezer, huge breakfast bar, great stove and Nesspresso machine (which was a god-send after a few late nights!).There is also a large dining table and sofas galore!IMG_9584

The kids were kept entertained. As well as lots of books and toys in the room there was a fabulous playground and sandpit. Also outside overlooking Geographe Bay was the tennis court and large entertaining patio with BBQ.IMG_9580

Lyons Den is a short drive south of Busselton, down Caves Road. It’s only about 5 minutes from Yallingup too. Whilst we were there, we discovered the beautiful and historic Caves House, which is a fantastic pub with a huge decked outdoor area and manicured gardens. Though the ocean at Yallingup might be a bit rough for swimming, there is an absolutely fantastic playground by the beach for the kids.IMG_0112IMG_0106IMG_0126IMG_0320

On the second day at LD, I thought I’d see what was behind the garage door. I’d assumed it was just an empty double garage – but I found bikes, tennis equipment, scooters, footballs and a TABLE TENNIS TABLE!! We were all very excited and had a boys vs girls tournament that night – I’m pleased to say the girls won!

Oh and the spa bath was a hit too!

Though this post is obviously not about food, it was part of a food and wine holiday and I thought I’d share our experience in case any of you are looking at having a holiday with extended family. I’d never booked private accommodation online and I found it a very easy experience; from booking online to  Alison promptly answering my questions. I would love to stay at Lyons Den again one day. There is something at Lyons Den for everyone. I think it would be a lovely cosy house in winter too, with the wood fire roaring! (no pun intended!).

Aravina Estate Restaurant

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Aravina Estate Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

There was something very familiar about the Aravina Winery. I had a feeling of déjà vu as we drove down the vine-lined driveway. I discovered that it is the old “Amberley” estate, though now it’s been given a French Provincial/Hamptons style makeover; I barely recognised it from our Honeymoon. Rewind back to 2006 and Chef and I enjoyed a lovely meal there on the terrace – when I’d been the Chef’s Wife just a matter of days.IMG_9987

As well as the cellar door and restaurant there is also a shady playground for the kids, a café (for coffee and cake), a lovely gift shop and a small motor collection. I spotted a red Ferrari poking through the door and I think I ran towards it! (I’m a big F1 fan). IMG_9979

The grounds are stunning. We were seated on the terrace, overlooking the vines – what a view! Our waiter was excellent and answered any questions we had, without missing a beat.

UntitledaawOur only (very small) quibble was, that one of the people on our table was a gluten free vegetarian (that ate seafood). There weren’t many options for her so she asked if she could combine the scallop entrée and the side of lettuce to make a salad. This unfortunately got lost in translation and my cousin got the lovely scallop dish for entrée, followed with a bowl of lettuce for main. To be fair to Aravina, we never pointed it out to the wait staff to rectify it, it was just taken in good humour.

We all enjoyed our food. It was tasty, fresh and well presented. We had;

IMG_0020Seared WA scallops, Cauliflower puree, apple and radish salad  $22

IMG_0037Wagu Beef Burger, bacon, gruyere cheese, truffle mayo, pickles and fries $26

IMG_0040Pan Fried gnocchi, ricotta, zucchini, preserved lemon, mint and pine nuts  $26

IMG_004214hr braised lamb shoulder, char grilled  lamb chops, pumpkin and sage puree, green beans and tzatziki  $34 I had this – it was absolutely A*!! The lamb was delish, usually I wouldn’t nibble on the bones in public – but I just couldn’t resist! I didn’t want to leave a morsel.

IMG_9999The Aravina Estate is stunning, if you visit now you’ll enjoy it. But give it a few more months and it will be worth the wait. Internationally renowned Cape Lodge Chef, Tony Howell, is going to be leading the Aravina kitchen from early in the New Year. That will take the food to another level entirely. By then the terrace extension should be finished, as will the new function room. It’s about 10/15 mins drive south of Dunsbourgh. There is something for everyone here; Aravina is a must stop for your next trip to the Margaret River Region.

2014 /15 ENTERTAINMENT BOOK DISCOUNTS

* 2 for 1 mains with gold card

 

 

 

 

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