61 Thornton Rd, Yallingup
(08) 9750 1111
As far as venues go when you are ‘down south’, Aravina estate is hard to beat. The location is stunning; beautifully landscaped, with lush gardens and a pretty dam. There is something for everyone; a big bonus for those of us with children is a fenced playground. There is also a vintage car collection on display and an attractive homewares section with a selection of furnishings, coffee table books etc. That is, if you are not too busy tasting their wine before making a selection for lunch!
The staff are friendly and attentive without being overbearing, offering a 2 course ($55) or 3 course ($65) set menu. There is also a small children’s menu (plus paper and marker pens are available for the little ones to draw with).
The table started with the fresh goats curd served with crispbread and the baguette with house churned butter and smoked salt. Although both dishes were good, it still irks slightly that restaurants in WA charge for bread and butter ($7 here), unlike so many restaurants overseas.
I began with the cured ocean trout, served with thinly sliced apple, “burnt” cucumber and celery. The trout was excellent with a savoury burst given by the oyster cream and nutty flavour of the puffed grains.
I found the celery powder unnecessary and slightly overpowering, but overall the dish was a light & fresh start to a spring meal. The pork and rabbit terrine and spring vegetables with smoked yoghurt were also were given the thumbs up by my dining companions.
I followed with the gnocchi. Again beautifully presented, but the gnocchi itself was slightly doughy. I’ve yet to find somewhere that beats the pillowy, light gnocchi at Il Lido (Cottesloe), however the flavours were excellent with a lovely Jerusalem artichoke purée and vibrant green broad beans. The spring lamb with fresh peas and salt bush was a fantastic interpretation of traditional lamb roast with mint sauce.
We chose the lemon cake for dessert, a nice balance between the sweet and tart of the citrus, but I didn’t find much evidence of the advertised persimmon or bay leaf.
There seems to be a slightly overenthusiastic application of the “smoker” to many dishes on the menu, but it is not applied with too heavy a hand. Also, there are a few dishes advertising “burnt” elements (cucumber, butter, meringue) which I’m yet to see adding merit to a dish. A little too ‘on trend’ perhaps? Overall though, I would highly recommend a long lunch at Aravina next time you make the trip south.