Western Australia might be known for fine wine, but the food culture and produce is outstanding. British chef Sat Bains explains where you need to make a pit-stop
Perth’s dining scene has been revolutionised by a change in licensing laws which has seen a wave of independent restaurants, cafes and bars pop up across the city. A three-hour drive south of the city takes you to Margaret River where the rich soils and perfect climate have led to thriving family-run wineries, venison farms, and artisan cheese and olive oil producers. Here are the best places to sample them.
Location: 64 Bronte Street, East Perth
This eatery is regularly rated the number one restaurant in Western Australia. Amusé offers great tasting menus with tempting food paired with local wines. Their philosophy has hit a cord with residents, and mirrors what is happening around the culinary scenes in the UK, with a heavy focus on seasonal ingredients and working closely with local farms.
Their menu changes with the months of the year, but current ingredients featured include the bizarrely named: Bunker's mushrooms, Hickory wood and Bindoon venison.
Reservations are essential.
Location: Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood, Perth
Sorry veggies, this is one for meat lovers. Neil Perry’s steakhouse is proud to serve Australia’s best beef, along with over 1,300 types of wine. Personal recommendations include the 300-day aged rib-eye – put simply, it is out of this world. The restaurant's open-kitchen with a wood-fire grill means you can watch your own steak smoking!
Those taking in the east of Australia are in for a treat – Rockpool Bar & Grill have branches in Sydney and Melbourne too.
A word of warning: make sure you leave room for desert. They are divine.
Location: Stevens Rd, Margaret River
It is as if Mother Nature decided a winery must be established here. The soil is rich and it has the perfect climate: plenty of sunshine with a cool sea breeze. The area also gets 20% of its rain in the summer so there's no need for irrigation.
Give yourself time to taste the full range of wines here, either at the cellar door or over food in the restaurant, which is open daily for lunch and on Saturday evenings for dinner.
Location: 3341 Caves Road, Yallingup, Western Australia
This lodge is private and, with only has 22 rooms, feels pretty exclusive. Plus, a magnificent restaurant is set in its own secluded vineyard. Head chef Tony Howell believes there should be a sense of place in the food, both through the ingredients and the style of cooking, giving you a real taste of Western Australia. Cooking lessons are also available for those looking to recreate this tucker back home.
Set next to pristine beaches, swathes of untouched coastline and among rolling vineyards – this is also a great setting to explore.
Take a bush walk with an Aboriginal guide in Margaret River. They'll show you indigenous plants growing wild and point out which can be eaten or used for medicines relating to the Aboriginal six-seasonal changes. For those interested, they'll also explain how to make a fire and give you a taste of flame-grilled ostrich and kangaroo, which both have a real depth of flavour.
Sat Bains opened his self-titled restaurant in Nottingham in 2002. In the last decade he has secured two Michelin stars and was also one of the winners of The Great British Menu. His debut cookbook, (with a foreword by Heston Blumenthal), Too many chiefs only one Indian is now available on Amazon.
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