Cuisine: Modern Australian
Location: Caversham, Swan Valley
Disclosure: Guest of the restaurant
It’s excellent only being 25 or so minutes away from the Swan Valley where there are a number of wineries, of which some also have their own restaurants. Which brings me to tonight’s bloggers dinner at RiverBank Estate Winery and Restaurant. On my road trip in the south west I was surprised at the quality and standard of the restaurants I visited in Margaret River, some of which were far better than anything I’ve eaten in Perth. So does our own Swan Valley hold some hidden gems? RiverBank Estate has won several awards including being the Gold Plate Winners in 2009-2013.
I walked into the restaurant and was immediately greeted by the friendly staff and taken to our table. There’s a reasonable amount of seating inside, more upstairs, and plenty more outside. A menu was on the table showing the dishes that would be served throughout the night. I was certainly looking forward to the food.
We were offered wine but since I don’t drink I declined. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they had a non alcoholic verjus to offer which I gladly accepted. I had a sip of the light white wine tones which were subtle but delicious. I rather enjoyed the light fruit flavour through the course of the night with my meal. I can see how wine can definitely enhance the eating and drinking experience. My work colleague had a white wine and also port.
To Share: Spicy Marinated Kalamata Olives, House Made Chicken Liver Pate and Crackers
To start the meal, a wooden board lay on our table awaiting our arrival. I really loved the chicken liver pate. The top layer had a sweet fig like jelly which contrasted perfectly with the smooth rich chicken liver pate. The plain crackers allow the flavours of the pate to shine through. The other crackers have a spicy kick to them which makes the pate interesting. I asked about the jelly layer and was told they used a fortified shiraz (port) which gives it that delicious flavour.
I also was amazed by the spicy marinated kalamata olives. Olives are generally served in olive oil, however, these were immersed in a romesca like spicy sauce which has absorbed into the olives giving a wonderful flavour. We were told they grow a lot of the ingredients on premises where possible, including honey from a couple of hives, and also figs. Several of these ingredients would feature in the upcoming dishes.
Feta, Wild Mushroom Bruschetta
My work colleague is vegetarian and I had advised the restaurant who were accommodating. The normal menu already features gluten free and vegetarian dishes but I’m sure it also gave the chefs an opportunity to do something different. For the entree they served mushroom bruschetta with truffle oil and feta. My colleague has seen this dish before at several other restaurants and thought it was very well executed. The house made bread had an audible crunch, lovely sautéed mushrooms and a touch of saltiness from the feta to round things out.
Soft Shell Crab, Watermelon Salad, Mustard Aioli
The soft shell crab was coated in a lovely light golden brown batter which was salted and encased tender delicious crab. The salad is refreshing, a bit peppery and a touch spicy. The watermelon presents a lovely burst of moisture and the tomato adds a touch of sweetness. It partners well with the crab and the slightly rich creamy aioli. I really love soft shell crab and I was not disappointed.
Buffalo Mozzarella, Fig Salad
Balsamic vineger, buffalo mozzarella, rocket, red onion, and very fresh figs from the gardens. My work colleague was very happy with this creative dish which is not seen elsewhere, yet is such a simple combination. Excellent execution in marrying of fruit with cheese. I know from having had cheese for my dessert course on occasions, it has been partnered with fruit bread, dried grapes, sultanas, and other such fruity elements as the sweetness partners perfectly with the hard salty tones of the cheese. So with this technique used in the fig salad, my work colleague was very happy with it.
Honey and Soy Glazed Pork Belly, Ginger and Carrot Puree
I’m a real fan of pork belly so my mouth was watering when this beautifully presented dish was placed in front of me. Using the Asian influences of honey and soy to glaze the pork belly, it presents a delicious flavour with the soy seasoning the pork belly and the caramelised honey giving a slight touch of sweetness. The pork belly itself was super tender and had a lovely crunch from bits of crackling and toasted sesame seeds placed atop. It was served with a delicious peppery salad with a touch of chilli. The ginger and carrot puree was also tasty in bringing together all the elements. Very satisfied.
Fig and Frangipane Tart, Mascarpone, Anglaise
The tart is really lovely and light. The excellent pastry is well made, with lovely yummy fresh sweet figs contrasting against the slightly rich frangipane. I like the creamy creme anglaise and the vanilla mascapone cream adds a real moistness to the dessert. Yum!
I was also presented with a gift bag where I enjoyed more of those delicious olives, and also have some fig jam and dried grapes to enjoy with something, that something will have to be cheese from a providore or deli.
*** Special Reader Offer ***
RiverBank Estate held a blogger’s night and the food was delicious, lots of ingredients straight from the garden. If you want to check out Head Chef Darren King’s creations, on Friday 11th March is an 8 course degustation for $100 and $120 with matching wines. If you love their wines then during the month of March mention the special code ‘blogger’ to receive $150 off a case.
RiverBank Food Review Summary
Verdict: The experience at RiverBank Estate Winery and Restaurant has been excellent. The venue presents a lovely casual relaxed yet intimate atmosphere to enjoy an array of dishes that are not heavy, but carry delicious flavours. Many of the dishes draw upon the produce grown directly on the premises which is utilised in marrying salads with protein. The service was excellent and I also enjoyed the non alcoholic wine with my meal. A big thank you to Nicola and her team for taking great care of us and also to the Head Chef Darren King and his team for preparing the delicious dishes that were thoroughly enjoyed.
Price: Moderately Expensive
RiverBank Estate Winery and Restaurant Details
Like This Food Blog & Want A Second Helping?
Feel free to subscribe via RSS or be updated via email each time a new post comes out on PerthFoodReviews.com. Alternatively, bookmark this foodie site on your favourite social media site below. Remember, when it comes to food, it’s all about the taste.
RiverBank Estate Winery and Restaurant - 4 Mar 2016,