The Packing Shed, Bickley Valley

The Bickley Valley area of the Perth Hills is fast becoming a must go weekend destination. There’s wineries, cafes, mini golf and the popular Core Cider House. To me, the spot nestled just behind Kalamunda is a far prettier drive than the Swan Valley, with its native bushland, winding roads and green rolling hills covered in vineyards and orchards, giving it a real country feel.IMG_9659

The Packing Shed opened up earlier this year. Found at one of Bickley Valley’s vineyards, Lawnbrook Estate, the rustic eatery is a peaceful spot for brunch or lunch all year round.IMG_9668

We’ve previously been there on a sunny day and sat on the patio with a glass of wine.IMG_6679

Little Chef loved to run around on the expansive lawns.IMG_9653

This time we visited for brunch, we spent a winter’s morning sitting inside, by the roaring log fire.IMG_9661

The staff are always welcoming and friendly. The coffee is very good too.IMG_9624

The brunch cut off is 11.30am, but there are a few breakfast dishes that make it onto the lunch menu for late-risers. My top brekkie pick has to be the shakshouka. It’s one of my all-time favourite brunch dishes and the Packing Shed’s version of eggs baked in a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce is very tasty and the fresh bread is perfect for dunking! IMG_6691

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Plume Estate Vineyard Cafe – Bickley

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Plume Estate Vineyard Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s no secret that I have a big love for the Perth Hills, in particular the Kalamunda area where I grew up. Back in the 1980s there wasn’t much to look at in the Bickley Valley – it was full of orchards, a couple of boutique vineyards and aromas from the Wheat a Bix factory. It’s still full of orchards and vineyards, though it is fast becoming an area full of places to visit, like The Core Cider House and many wineries with cafes and restaurants dotted through the bushy valley.IMG_0859

We went for a Sunday drive with my parents and ended up at a relatively new winery – Plume Estate. The carpark is down a steep gravel driveway, so we dropped my mum at the entrance. There’s a cellar door and a light and open rustic café – which has balcony views out over the rolling hills.IMG_0852

At Plume, the wines are made by Myattsfield and their range includes a sparkling pinot noir, a rosé made from merlot, some chardonnays, merlot, shiraz and a fortified shiraz too.IMG_0850

There is a beautiful Labrador called Nugget at Plume, who was chilling out at the cellar door. We were devastated to loose our Labrador, Bailey, mid last year. Though it was a few months down the track, I actually struggled with seeing a dog so similar to our Bailey. I was really fighting tears. Nugget seemed to have the same kind nature and was happy to have a gentle rub too.IMG_0849

We shared a Turkish Platter, $40. It’s really meant to be shared by 2 people, but we all just felt like a light graze – having already had lunch. It was well stocked platter: Turkish style meatballs Hummus, Egyptian dukka, Wilura Margaret River Olive Oil, Sicilian olives, almonds and marinated goats cheese. On the side was a loaf of sliced Turkish Bread.

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All the produce on the platter was of exceptional quality and very fresh. I particularly relished the tasty meatballs – with it’s rich tomato and cumin flavours. Also, I don’t usually eat green olives (just Kalamata), but I really enjoyed the Sicilian olives. They were plump, firm, fresh and they actually tasted like an olive – not like the salty brine soaked olives I’ve had in the past.

A glass of red went down very well with the food and my Mum bought a bottle to take home too. There is a limited menu, but there is also a cheese platter, sliders and some sweets available too.

Plume’s owners are warm and welcoming, it’s a relaxing place to be. Little Chef was stoked that there was a small basket of toys to play with and he was occupied with duplo, while we enjoyed the view.IMG_0855

It’s a lovely little spot for nibbles and a vino. We enjoyed Plume and would certainly return…IMG_0857

… especially for those meatballs!IMG_0841

Hainault Vineyard and Cafe

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Hainault Vineyard and Cafe on Urbanspoon

My regular readers will know that I adore the Perth Hills – I was born there and spent much of my life in the Kalamunda area. I’m slowly working my way around the many boutique venues in the Bickley Valley Wine region – last weekend we visited Hainault Vineyard and Café with my parents.IMG_7791

Hainault is in the middle of the Bickley jarrah forests, near to the old Perth Observatory. It’s a small family run vineyard, which was established about 35 years ago. The staff are very friendly and welcoming – and the winery dogs are too!IMG_7757

The veranda and decking areas overlook the vineyards below – a stunning view. It would be easy to while away a few hours here over a bottle of wine.IMG_7759

I was driving, so I had a glass of the Carmel Juice Company’s Apple Juice. It is a clear juice, with just a hint of green and tasted so smooth. None of the acidic taste you get with supermarket bought juices. I loved it. The juice is locally produced, handcrafted just up the road, from the Giumelli’s orchards.IMG_7765 IMG_7788

The food available is a “home cooked” style – don’t expect 5* food – it is a tiny family run winery after all. On the menu you’ll find soup, tarts, salad, freshly baked cakes etc. As well as weekend lunches, the café is also open for morning and afternoon teas.

We shared the Vineyard Platter. It serves two people and is reasonably priced at $40 – I’ve paid $55 for something similar in the Swan Valley. It was absolutely brimming with food! Everything was really fresh and tasty.

* Cheeses – Wattle Valley Brie and Old Cheddar Cheese Company Cheddar

* Meats – free range coppa and prosciutto

* Antipasti – Thai style olives, sun-dried tomatoes, homemade olive tapenade and sundried tomato and cashew pate, salad and fresh fruit too. It was served with a warm Lawley’s Bakery Cape Seed Cob Loaf – which was really fresh and tasty too.IMG_7772

Mum and I shared a dessert. We really shouldn’t have, but it sounded so tempting! The Figs are soaked in Hainault Ruby Port, which has a fruity, jam flavour and is served with vanilla ice-cream ($8). It tastes as lush as it sounds!IMG_7783

At the cellar door you’ll find Rose, Merlot, Cabernet, Semillon, Sparkling Pinot Noir Brut, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer to taste. My mum loved the dessert so much, she treated herself to a bottle of the 2012 Ruby Cabernet ($24).IMG_7790

Hainault is a charming little winery and a must stop on a tour of the Bickley Valley vineyards.IMG_7797

Fairbrossen Estate – Carmel, Perth Hills

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Fairbrossen Estate on Urbanspoon

A few months back, Chef and I visited a few vineyards in the Perth Hills, for the Bickley Harvest Festival. I’d made a mental note to return to Fairbrossen as it looked like a wonderful spot for a Sunday afternoon with my mum. The cellar door and café overlook the boutique vineyard and wishing well. We were lucky to get a table in the cafe, I’d defiantly recommend booking, as it was very busy.IMG_1508

We were there for some afternoon tea. Mum had a Devonshire tea, two super fresh scones with home-made jam and cream. I had a deliciously moist cake made from Carnarvon bananas. We shared a pot of tea for two.IMG_6801

If you’re after something a bit more substantial they also have steak sandwiches, homemade pies and humongous share platters on the menu. A share platter full of all sorts of delicious morsels was on the next table – I had a really bad case of food envy after spotting that!

The Fairbrossen café caters well for the little ones too. As well as children’s options on the menu – there’s a corner full of toys and books. Little Chef was very happy with that and he made some new mates whist we had a pester-free chat.IMG_6799

Next time I’ll have to head back to the cellar door – there is some very nice wine at Fairbrossen, to suit all tastes. From sparkling, rose, shiraz, tempranillo etc etc  The family run winery also has a vineyard in Margaret River where they have cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay vines.

“I’m fair Brosen” means “full to bursting” and we certainly were after sweets and copious amounts of tea! Fairbrossen is a lovely spot in the Perth Hills. From the warm welcome, to the home-style food, to the freshly picked flowers on each table – it’s a taste of the country just 25 minutes from the city.

 

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