After a fun week in Melbourne, we flew to Western Australia. The purpose for visiting Western Australia was primarily to attend the truffle festival held in the town of Manjimup, close to Margaret River, about a four-hour drive from Perth. But along the way, we enjoyed many stops.
Here are the highlights of our trip to Western Australia.
Top left : Meat aging cellar at Must MR;
Middle left : Fresh Cowell Bay Oysters at Must MR;
Middle right : Angel hair pasta with blue manna crab with spicy creamy tomato sauce;
Bottom left : Pan-fried potato gnocchi with rabbit, portobellow mushrooms and green olive tapenade;
Bottom right : Bread pudding
Must is probably the best restaurant in downtown Margaret River. There are many pub/restaurants or cafes but not many restaurants that offer high-end cuisine with an extensive wine list. Must carries wine not only from local Margret River producers but also other regions of Australia and around the world.
They have a meat aging cellar and if you are a meat lover, you will be very happy to see the big blocks of meat hanging behing the window you can see from dining area.
Their food showed they use well-selected ingredients and I was happy dining there. The angel hair pasta was a little too spicy for my taste, but my husband liked it a lot.
107 Bussell Highway
Margaret River 6285
tel. +61 8 9758 8877
There are several cafes in downtown Margaret River but the best by farl was Margaret River Bakery. It is filled with antique furniture and decorations and you will think that you are in a little cafe in Europe. And of course, at the counter, they display many sweets and savory baked goods very attractively. It is such a lovely place.
Many of their customers ordered hot breakfasts like pancakes (which we did on our second day), French toast, eggs dish and more. The pancakes were incredibly rich.
I tried some fresh donuts and and croissant d'Almond. The next day, we shared pancakes with berry compote, which was more than enough for two people. Both my soy latte and the long coffee were really tasty.
Margaret River Bakery
89 Bussell Highway
Margaret River 6285
tel. +61 8 9757 2755
Providore is a place filled with exciting treats for food lovers. Even before you go inside the building, you see the kitchen garden filled with fresh vegetables, live animals and grape vines. I can't imagine what life would be like with a backyard like this. That is absolutely my dream.
Then when you go inside, pretty bottles and jars in different colors are neatly displayed in their shelves. Oils, vinegars, spices, fruits compote, jams, chutney, spice-blend.... you name it. I picked their butter chicken curry mix and barrel aged red wind vinegar in delicate bottle to purchase.
At the back of the store, there is a restaurant. When I was there, one big family was having their lunch. The food and looked really good. Also at the front counter, they sell beautiful baked goods (it looks like they have made some changes in their store. They extended the products section and moved their cafe to next door, The Margaret River chocolate Company, based on their website).
448 Tom Cullity Dve,
Wilyabrup 6280 Western Australia
tel. +61 8 9755 6355
Next door to Providore is the Margaret River Chocolate Company. This place is all about chocolate. Behind the cashier is a huge wall of chocolate and there are tasting stations where you can taste three different kinds of chocolate pastelles. I saw many kids who went nuts at this place.
They also sell non-edible chocolate products. The chocolate scented body products looked awesome. I could not buy any heavy items but if I have another chance, I would love to try some of their products.
The Margaret River Chocolate Company
Wilyabrup Cnr Harman's Mill Rd And Tom Cullity Dr
Metricup 6280 Western Australia
tel. +61 8 9755 6555
Our dinner at Cape Lodge was the big splurge of our trip. I did a lot of research on the Cape Lodge many months before our trip so I was very excited about the dinner.
We were very unlucky that the storm hit us on the way we drove there. The Cape Lodge is located about 30 minutes from the downtown Margaret River on a narrow winding road. It is a bit rough at night, especially in the rain.
We had the three course meal (choose any two dishes from their menu and one from the dessert menu). My husband got Donnybrook Marron (pan fried with braised pork belly and peas) and I got seared scallops with Jerusalem artichokes soup and potato chips and Manjimup truffle for our first course and char grilled Dardanup beef (with sarladaise potatoes, cauliflower, broccolini and veal jus) and grilled dhufish (with vegetables nage and salmon caviar) for our main.
For dessert, we had apple & spice (cinnamon crumbs, cannoli, vanilla ice cream) and Rebirousse D'Argental cheese.
The Dhu fish dish was very nice. I have never had Dhu fish and it was a very tasty piece of fish. They did such a wonderful job on the side vegetables. On the other side, both my husband and I did not like the pork belly because it was quite tough. Everything was good, but nothing was all that spectacular or memorable.
But more than food, we thought their service was a little odd. First I thought it was very strange that our seats were facing a window where they put white curtains so you are staring at white cloth. We asked if we could move to the other side of the table so that we were able to see something. And then the time we waited between first course and main course was very long. There were not many guests that night (probably 1/3 full) so I was not sure what was wrong. And I thought it was kind of funny that they said "this is our complimentary bread!" when they served it as if bread with the meal were something unique to this restaurant.
Unlike 95% of people who dined there, I regrettably don't call the Cape Lodge the best restaurant. Maybe that was the storm or we were over sensitive, but it was not the best experience for us, at least this time.
3341 Caves Road
Wilyabrup, WA 6280 Western Australia
tel. +61 8 9755 6311