As much as I love travelling overseas, there is some comfort and convenience in interstate travel; considering that our wine regions are world class, copious amounts of fine wine and gourmet food are generally involved.The Margaret River wine region is located roughly 3 hours drive south west of Perth and with quite a few opportunities for some stopovers, it's not too bad of a drive down. We traversed through many wineries and restaurants to soak up the beautiful region and consumed so much delicious food and wine.
Voyager Estate serve lunch, morning and afternoon tea in a stunning, picturesque setting with manicured grounds and stark white buildings.
We started with slices of fluffy and soft bread with olive oil and whipped butter. I opted for the creamy and luscious butter while the others noted that the olive oil was also very good.
We were offered complimentary teacups of parsnip velouté which was creamy and flavoursome with the hidden nuggets of crisp pancetta. Everyone agreed that it was perfect for the cold weather and could have easily had a whole bowl to ourselves.
The chicken and truffle boudin was an exceptional dish - the delicate sausage complemented well with the sweetness from the quince jam finishing with a satisfying crunch from the pear crisps. Every unanimously agreed that this dish the highlight of the meal.
My next favourite dish was a local crayfish, Marron, split in half and then grilled with herb butter. A simple yet gorgeously delicious dish; the sweet flavour of Marron accentuated by the buttery dressing.
While the rest of us opted for the braised beef cheek, Mr 1-Upperer went for variety and chose the duo of duck. The duck was cooked well to medium-rare and most elements worked well however the spiced shredded duck was a peculiar component of the dish with the thick coriander pancake.
The braised beef cheek was meltingly tender and unctuous and the goose foie gras and crumbed bone marrow furthered the richness. I am always of the mindset that a braised meat needs a decent amount of carbs to offset the heaviness of the dish for me. Unfortunately, we all felt that the dots of swede purée were not substantial enough to complete the dish.
All four of us are incredibly smitten with blue cheese and dessert wine at the moment so a side of the watercress salad with blue cheese was a must. All the elements went well together to bring freshness, sweetness and saltiness in a mouthful.
The chocolate fudge cake was rich and smooth in texture however the burnt orange ice cream was the highlight of this dessert - with a lovely burnt citrus flavour coming through.
Fig has to be one of my favourite fruits as of late, howeverI found that the caramel and honey flavours came through more prominently and as a whole, tasted like a gingerbread dessert with the candied slivers of ginger garnished on top.
Overall, our meal at Voyager Estate was nice, albeit not very exciting in terms of flavours and execution.
Will I return? Yes, but only for scones and afternoon tea.
41 Stevens Road
Margaret River WA 6285
(08) 9757 6354
Daily 10am - 4:30pm
We managed to visit quite a few wineries and with a designated driver taking responsibility each day, we were able to drink and sample many wines freely. Designated drivers are important when it comes to winery hopping! Within the Margaret River wine region, there are far too many wineries to visit so we narrowed our list down.
Of the wineries we managed to hop to, we discovered new favourites and bought several bottles. Some were cellar release only which meant that they were only available at the cellar doors. We became quite enamoured with dessert wines during our trip and bought a couple of cane cut and fortified wines - so much yum with blue cheese.
Although the weather in Margaret River consisted of intermittent showers throughout our trip, the sunny weather during our visit to Vasse Felix lasted just long enough for us to seek shelter in the restaurant. Vasse Felix has been highly lauded by the public for both their awarded winery and restaurant. Like majority of the restaurants in Margaret River, they focus on lunches only and being the oldest vineyard in Margaret River, their wines are highly regarded as well. They feature several sculptures around their property which invite visitors to mill around and explore.
The restaurant sits upstairs above their cellar door area and offers expanse views of their vineyards. We started with bread and butter while waiting for our dishes to arrive.
The venison parfait was incredibly smooth and did not possess a gamey flavour against the crisp, buttery brioche.
The barramundi was well cooked with a crispy skin and I really this as it was light and flavoursome at the same time.
Mr 1-Upperer chose the pork belly and while he maintained that the Chinese version was far superior, he thought it was nice enough although slightly tougher.
Mr A thought that his guinea fowl was very nice; tender, juicy and enjoyed the variety of fig and turnip in the dish. It was his first time trying guinea fowl but won't be his last.
Vasse Felix presented well executed dishes in a beautiful setting. The quality of the food and service match the prices and a tasting at their cellar door after makes the experience a lot more fun.
Will I return? Yes, enjoyed both the wine and food.
Corner Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road
Margaret River WA 6284
Daily 10am - 3pm
For something different, Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden pier in the Southern Hemisphere. Entry to walk down the pier is $2.50 per adult however with one way distancing to just under 2 kilometres, we couldn't rely on the weather to hold out for a return walk down the pier. Fortunately, the rain abated for a while for us to enjoy the views and fresh sea breeze.
We bought two dozen of oysters to enjoy with some lemon. Small yet full of briny goodness.
A calming and relaxing way to end our day before heading back to our apartment to change into our pajamas and drinking lots of wine with a delicious meat and cheese platter.
On our way back, we made a quick pit stop off at Corica Pastries in Northbridge. If there were ever any requests for souvenirs from Perth, you can bet that majority of the time, Corica Pastries will have something to do with it. Some even go as far as to transport boxes of their legendary apple strudels all the way back to Malaysia and Singapore. I'm told that pre-ordering is essential with at least one day's notice, however when I called we were told that they would have plenty in stock.
Packed in sturdy cardboard boxes, they were very easy to transport home without concerns for their welfare.
Will I return? Yes, as I'm not often in Western Australia, I'd be sure to transport some boxed back for family members.
106 Aberdeen Street
Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9328 8196
Mon to Fri 8am - 5:30pm
Sat 8am - 12:30pm
And there you have it, our long weekend in the Margaret River wine region. It was a pity we weren't able to stay longer and given our experience, we can't wait to head back and explore the region further.