Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Western Australia - Margaret River Food Adventure - Part I

We planned a weekend trip to Margaret River since my partner's family was here for a visit. In Western Australia, when you mention Margaret River you will immediately think of the famous HUGE wineries, the margaret river chocolate factory, never ending roads with breathtaking views,whale watching, multi-million dollar beach houses that you can stay in for the weekend, fine dining and lots of food!

Some people who visit Perth say that Perth or Western Australia is very boring, that is because they have not been to the other parts of WA. If you are coming to Perth for shopping/city life, forget it. Perth is a small city but Western Australia is a big state! Explore the other parts of WA, it is all about the nature and the joy of being surrounded by good company during your road trip! I was not suppose to go as I needed to stay at home to look after the dogs and work on my essay. BUT how can I be stuck at home alone while the others go visit such a beautiful place and eat delicious food? Luckily someone was willing to pet sit for us.... so i brought my laptop and lecture notes along, hoping i will have the time to study there (didn't study at all, why would i study on a holiday? which was why i was stressed out for the whole week + added some grey hair to my head)

Margaret River is very popular for weekend getaways which means everyone's favourite speedcams will be out at work. No worries because we used our speed cam detector and it detected about 5 speed cams for our entire 3 day journey. Saved us hundreds of dollars and a licence suspension. It's a very good investment!
We started from 200km to go (see the lower right corner), to 138km then to 37km. we are almost reaching margaret river! Our estimated time of arrival was 15:13 but we arrived at about 1pm. Not because of speeding but because of the new highway.

We used the new Bussel Highway (Forrest Highway) which saved us about 2- 3 hours! This is my third time to Margaret river and we always take about 5-6 hours to get there last time. This time we could reach in about 3 hours. It felt soooo quick, i only have to listen to billie jean for 30 times till we reach! Look at the boot loaded with all the stuff, and we (5 ppl in total) were only staying for 2 nights! We brought wii (didnt play at all), clothes, laptop (used to chat not study), lecture notes and textbook (didnt touch at all), and most importantly food food fooddddddddddddddd!

MissFattyFoodie was well-equipped (specialising in food planning) as I have planned all the places we will be dining in beforehand, and even made some reservations ahead.   We were quite lucky to even get seats as we went to very popular restaurants. Our first stop was Flutes Restaurant.
This was my first time dining in the Flutes Restaurant (finally!!) when i went in 2004, i was still in high school and I too poor to eat out! We only took pictures outside the restaurant, so sad right? Last time, our margaret river trips consisted of mainly bbq chicken wings and indo mee but it was still fun though

This time I have been working a bit and have enough money to have a proper meal and also treat everyone (my partner and his family) at Flutes Restaurant. The restaurant is located by the lake and it is surrounded by greenery and colourful flowers. The restaurant is well-lit by natural sunlight and it feels so relaxing and romantic to dine here.
We ordered a plate of garlic bread for starters, and lemon lime bitters (nice drink made of lemonade, lime juice and bitters which is slightly alcoholic. very addictive drink and it is popular in australia) A waitress quickly showed us our table, then took quite a long time before coming to take our order. Then she was really impatient, before we could finish saying what we want, she will cut us off and go on to the next order. I think the service quality does not really match such a nice resturant! This was not enough to dampen our high spirits though, we were all immersed in the scenery. It was just too difficult to get angry.

This was my order:
Seafood Plate - $38
Wonton wrapped tiger prawns with nam jim. Gratin of fennel seafood mornay with croutes. Seared scallops with Japanese baby octopus. Salt & pepper squid with preserved lemon aioli
yummy yummy yummy. the flavours go so well together, and the gratin was really good with a nice seafood taste. I love the scallops which tasted very fresh and refreshing. The presentation was spectacular and made my meal so enjoyable

Duck Breast - $35, on a wild mushroom risotto cake, pea fondant & bloody orange glaze.
Peking Duck & Mushroom Spring Rolls - $18
Fish of the day - $36
everyone was very happy with their meals. The duck was soft and the risotto under the duck was delicious. Fish was cooked to perfection with a nice citrus based sauce that went very well with the fish. The spring rolls were yummy too but it paled in comparison to the others. I always think presentation is very important as you will be impressed (therefore bias) before you start eating. There must be so much thought and effort put into each of these dishes both for taste and presentation.

Lamb Shank - $36
Slow braised with preserved lemon couscous, blistered cherry tomato, caperberries, olives, capers, confit of garlic, finished with rosemary lamb jus.
The Lamb Shank might have been the winner of the day. The meat was roasted till it was soooo soft and tender. It's so tender it can almost melt in your mouth. It was served on a bed of couscous but the couscous did not go very well with the lamb as it lacked flavour. However, the very wonderful lamb shank made up for everything. YUMMY!

Dessert - Creme Caramel and Sticky Date Pudding
There is always room for desserts and coffee is a must especially when I am surrounded by the beautiful scenery. The sticky date pudding was moist, warm and perfect. I love how sweet it us, it was drenched with a sticky toffee/caramel sauce, yummo! The Creme Caramel was good too, flavour was just right (not too sweet) and it was a perfect compliment to my coffee!
What annoyed me was : we didn't know what is a Creme Caramel (im not a fancy name dessert expert) so i asked the waitress what is Creme Caramel in my sweetest voice (ok maybe not).
She said with a shocked face"HUH? U don't know what is a creme caramel?! U never eat it before?
i was thinking - if i know why would i ask u? arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
so, without answering my question we still decided to order and give it a try. It was funny because when we saw it (after being stunned by her reaction), we realised she could have simply described it as 'something like a caramel pudding' instead of the unnecessary and useless reply. I must add, when i was ready to pay, i was told to wait at the counter and I waited for at least 10 minutes standing there with the bill right in front of me.. No one was ready for me to swipe my card!

Just look at the scenery below, its all within the vicinity of the Flutes Restaurant. You can see the winery, iconic naked boy playing his flute (the musical instrument i mean), lake, ducks, flowers and the natural background sound of  the mini waterfall just beside the restaurant. Even bad service can be forgiven!

The overall average rating of the food in consideration of the bad service here : 4.25/5
Location: Caves Road, Wilyabrup. Western Australia

Visit their website for more information! I strongly recommend people to stop by there for lunch on the way to Margaret River or when u leave Margaret River for Perth. It is beautiful and if you are not that hungry, just stop by for a glass of wine or coffee by the lake. Highly recommended for visitors visiting this region of Western Australia.

After the extended lunch we had to rush to the office to get our keys for our holiday house!

This was taken in the balcony with the breathtaking view of indian ocean and more greenery

This house could fit 10 people but only 5 of us stayed there. We booked a nicer house and paid the deposit etc, but the owner decided he wanted to use the house himself so we were given this house as an option instead. I think this house is nice too. It had 2 storeys, with a table tennis table below, fireplace, nice kitchen and most importantly we had the best room with the best view in the house!
We had holiday-home-cooked korean bbq for dinner and just spent the night chilling out. The adverture will officially start the next day!

This post is a bit long as I have too many photos that I want to share. Hope you enjoyed reading it! Stay tuned for Margaret River Part II !

Flutes Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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