Cuisine: Modern Australian
Location: Pickering Brook
Disclosure: Part of the meal was complimentary
The Swan Valley is well known as a wine region on the doorstep of Perth and yet there’s another wine region hidden away in the hills around Carmel, Pickering Brook and Bickley. Having grown up in the foothills I was surprised to discover the peaceful country like tranquility of the area close by yet undiscovered to many in Perth. Today I was invited to Core Cider House to see what’s cooking.
The car park was full and as you walk through one can admire the lovely picturesque groves growing away in the distance on the hills. Closer to home, there’s an expansive outdoor area full of lush green grass where people have set up and where the kids can run wild while the parents can sip on a beverage or too.
Across the other side of the path lies several outdoor seating areas where one can order from the bar. Upstairs lies an open air yet semi enclosed restaurant area which was packed out. Based on that evidence a booking is highly recommended. Before long we were seated and like the many patrons here, were well looked after by the friendly wait staff.
On the premises a number of stone fruit are grown which are used in many of the dishes on the menu, or are used to make preserves that are sold in a farmer’s market inside a shed at the front of the restaurant. Of course the apples are also used in making ciders and they also have apple juice for the non-drinkers or designated drivers.
Tasting Paddle $18
Tasting platter of ciders:
- Coregasm – Berry and Lime Sweet 8%
- Core Meltdown – Sparkling Apple Medium/Dry 5%
- Peach Core – Sparkling Pear Medium/Sweet 3.5%
- Pith’d – Sparkling Lemon Sweet & Tart 8%
- Ginger – Ginger and Apple Sweet 8%
I did have a sip of each for a quick taste. The consensus was the Ginger is the standout with Core Meltdown very good too.
Apple Mimosa Cocktail
From Wednesday to Friday there is a 2 course set menu for $45 which also includes a complimentary apple mimosa cocktail. Tastes like champagne. I grabbed an apple juice which was delicious, has a lovely flavour and doesn’t have that tartness you get from the store bought variety, nor is it too sweet.
4 Seared Scallops with orchard pear puree and buffalo mozzarella (gf, df)
I had a small taste of this dish. The scallop is plump and juicy, perfectly paired with chorizo and pear puree.
Kangaroo Carpaccio – warm sweet potato, candied macadamia, whipped feta
The kangaroo carpaccio is so delicious. It isn’t gamey, nice and moist and the pairing of sweet potato (sweetness), whipped feta (creaminess) and candied macadamia (texture) is superb, providing an excellent flavour combination.
Pork loin fillet, fig, spinach, oyster mushroom, Core reactor cider reduction (gf, df)
I had a small taste of this, the pork loin was generous though a tad overdone and could have had a bit more juiciness, a little which was present. I like the spinach and juicy mushrooms served with the dish. The cider reduction adds a lovely note of sweetness to the veggies.
Chicken scallopini, farm fresh mushrooms, sweet tomato sugo, cider house salad (gf, df)
Had a small taste of the chicken scallopini which was good though a tad dry, though the lovely cider house salad with pear is excellent for summer.
Seared duck breast, pickled red cabbage, grilled stone fruit, sour apple reduction (gf, df)
The duck breast is moist and juicy, just a tad bit pink, perfectly cooked. The pickled red cabbage is a bit sweet but with the sour nectarines, the combination works well. A very tasty dish.
Chilli chocolate marquis, orchard plum syrup, drunken berries.
I had a taste of the chilli chocolate marquis which is chocolatey, not at all spicy and is a quite rich, hence the serving size. I’m sure the berries would be refreshing and the tartness would compensate for any richness.
Sour apple brulee, poached orchard pear, macadamia biscotti (gfo)
I also had a taste of the creme brulee which is delicious. I love creme brûlée. I also munched on the biscotti which is very crunchy but tasty,
Spiced apple pie, vanilla creme anglais, apple pie ice cream
Could the slice of apple pie be any bigger? Fortunately, the pastry is not thick and I really love the spice mix employed to liven up the soft apples. Surprisingly, amongst the spice appears to be a bit of chilli which provides some unexpected bite, certainly more bite than in the chilli chocolate marquis. The vanilla ice cream is delicious and the berry coulis adds a touch of tartness. Really delicious. I liked all desserts very much and would be happy to have any of these again.
Core Cider House Food Review Summary
Verdict: Just 30ish minutes from the city, there are various wineries dotted in the Perth hills region of Carmel, Pickering Brook and Bickley, a hidden gem of sorts, compared to the well known Swan Valley region. The drive here is like passing through the countryside, peaceful and tranquil. The walk to the cider house is picturesque, with a large grassed area to throw down a picnic blanket and sip on an alcoholic beverage or two while the kids run wild. There’s plenty of outdoor seating seating to enjoy your drinks from the bar, or you can venture upstairs to the semi open outdoor setting where there is lots to choose from on the menu which utilises the stone fruit grown on the premises or makes use of the ciders brewed on site.
I started off with the kangaroo carpaccio which was delicious. The dish is perfectly paired with sweet potato for a touch of sweetness, creaminess from the whipped feta, and crunch from the candied macadamias which also provide a different touch of sweetness. For mains I chose the seared duck breast which was perfectly cooked with just a tad amount of pink in the centre. The duck was enjoyed with some slightly sweet pickled red cabbage, but the sour apple reduction and grilled stone fruit helped balance each other out. For dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed the very generous slice of spiced apple pie. The spices employed lift the pie to a new level, particularly the addition of chilli for some bite. The ice cream is delicious and I did have a taste of the other desserts, a chilli chocolate marquis and a sour apple brûlée, which were both delicious.
The scenery is beautiful and relaxing, and the venue is just like that too. The weather was beautiful and the place was packed out (best to book). Despite that, the service was friendly and everyone was well looked after. Lots of people were enjoying the ciders brewed on site and also the food on offer. Core Cider House also runs a little farmers market on the weekend where fresh fruit, preserves, and ice cream are available. The venue also hosts tours, events (check out their New Years Eve offering), and is also the ideal venue for private functions or weddings.
Core Cider House Restaurant Details
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