Perth & Western Australia: Margaret River Region (2 of 3)


1) Margaret River Bakery

Cafe has a quirky and eclectic style with mismatched crockery and furniture.

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My frangipani tart which someone I read about , raved and described it as heaven. It tasted like hell to me. This is a typical case of one man’s food is another man’s poison.

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It was cold (perhaps its me but I prefer a warm tart) and overly sweet. Quite frankly, I couldn’t discern what I was eating at all. It was really just a sweet mess. I forced myself to finish up the tart. Only when i ate till the middle part where it was a bit sourish did I find the strength to continue the arduous task of polishing off this tart.

Yogi sunrise (Soy milk with chai. Honey by the side). Horrible but it was mainly my fault. I have never really liked chai. But somehow I decided to be adventurous and try it that day. Some days we feel a little suicidal?

Mistake. Wrong Choice. I couldn’t manage more than half. It just tasted totally off.

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The hub’s breakfast set. I like the toast. Scrambled egg has no seasoning added and you could add some salt and pepper on your own. Rather lovely and healthy meal.

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On another occasion. We had takeout for breakfast.
This is grilled beef panini (opened up)

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It was good. Tried their hot chocolate which was not too milky and not too sweet either.

The kids had croissants which the hub tried and dismissed as average.

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So I guess like many other places, they have hits and misses. Overall, I think their food is pretty nice still. Place is cramped and has limited seatings but its full of character. Service is good like most stores/shops. Worth a checkout!

 

2) Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre

This is where you could wander through natural bush which houses eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.

We went for the Flying Display show where you could see the barn owl up close and personal. You could even get to have the owl perched on your forearm and have a picture taken!

This is the barn owl, all snowy and looking very regal.

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The flight display only showcased the barn owl and the falcon.

Very young kids may not be able to sit through as the bird keeper goes into great length on the birds’ history, nature etc. Also, this is not your typical Bird Park kind of flying demonstration where the birds perform little stunts to entertain you. The bird keeper said that these are wild birds and are hence not trained to do stunts like that. That being said, my kids were very thrilled to be able to have the owl perched on their forearm. Even adults were queuing up to have this little experience.

We picked up nuggets of information such as it’s a myth that owls could rotate their heads 360deg. In the words of the bird keeper, they will break their necks. Haha.. they can however swivel up to 270 deg. Don’t try, people. 180 deg is the human’s  best.

These owls could live up to 40 years in captivity. In the wild, about 20 years old.

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I feel that the aim of the Centre and the flying demonstration is more to educate than to entertain. On that basis, I salute them and feel more people should go to support this place (they are self funding by the way, relying on visitor support).

 

3) Voyager Estate

I did not have lunch at the more famous Leeuwin Estate (though we did pay a visit after the lunch) because Voyager appeals more to me in terms of food. I was also lured by the grandeur of this wineyard than Leeuwin’s which appeared to be dowdy on comparison.

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Voyager offers high tea, afternoon tea, Discovery menu (6-course degustation menu) and vintage menu (their ala carte menu) at different timing of the day.

We chose the vintage menu.

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White wine and red wine? Nah… Sparking white grape juice and sparkling red grape juice made from the estate grown grapes.. We are non-wine drinkers and I decided I needed to have something that look remotely like wine to decorate our table so that we could blend in.

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When I placed my order, the lady asked if the grape juice was for me or the kids. Ha!

I like the red grape juice by the way! It has a lovely berries taste with a hint of sweetness. I may have taken my wine connoisseur role a little too seriously. With each sip of the grape juice, I commented to the hub, oh..so smooth!

Pizza for the kids from the kids menu which fared pretty okay.

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We shared 3 entrees as the entree menu looked more interesting than the mains! Also, we just wanted to sample the food and not have a heavy lunch. Do note that entrees are “true to size”. Do not expect big portion like Little Fish.
This dish was so delicious: mushroom risotto, parmesan, parsley and Truffle oil (AUD19). YUMS! I could easily eat two plates of this. Everything has the right touch. The combination of truffle and parmesan was delightful.

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Local snapper and blue swimmer crab chowder, focaccia croute (AUD19 entree). This was quite nice although not outstanding. I felt the focaccia croute was really average.

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Honeyed quail, rillette, leek and chive polenta, parsnip puree, parsnip crisps, red wine reduction (AUD19).

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I like this! The meat was tender and moist. The sides in the dish were all good. This ranks second to the risotto.

We had ice cream which came with the kids set. In my family, we practise care and SHARE (esp on food) i.e. If you don’t eat it or can’t eat it, I’ll take it!

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It’s just some mediocre vanilla ice cream that was way too sweet. We didn’t finish it.
The meal didn’t end on a sweet note (or rather it was too sweet?!) because the dessert (meant for the kids anyway) was bad. Nevertheless, the meal was rather satisfying on the whole. Servers were attentive as well.

 

4) Jester’s Flat

I chose Jester’s Flat upon hearing and reading good reviews on them. Before arrival, I emailed them my queries which were promptly answered. On the day that we arrived for the horse riding, it was drizzling and  we requested changing the timeslot. There was no unpleasantness and I could see that they were trying their best to accomodate the new timeslot I requested. In the end, we went ahead with the original timeslot when the rain stopped.

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Compared to the horse riding we had in Jeju, Korea. This was a much better experience where the riders rode into the bushland without someone walking alongside holding a rein on the horse. Only my youngest kid (aged 5) had his horse tied to the guide’s horse. Even then, he pretty much could control the horse on his own by getting it to speed up, stop or change direction. The fun of riding a horse is when you could control the horse and not let another person manipulate it for you.

After the 1 hour ride (there are many options available. I booked the 1 hour scenic photo tour), we were treated to complimentary hot bread, local olive oil and dhukka. This one is delish!

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5) Miki’s Open Kitchen

This is a tiny nondescript eatery in the heart of Margaret Town that serves Japanese fusion food with its focus on tempura.  I was not keen initially because I am not a tempura fan. However, with a lack of better choice for supposedly good Asian food, I decided to go for it.

Note that they only accept phone bookings.

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The hub’s spinach, pine nut tempura carnavon banana prawn, avocado, tobiko, chirashi rice (AUD35).

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The tempura prawn was not oily, the chirashi rice was good and the tobiko (flying fish roe) were tasty.

My Japanese local fish tempura, purple dried shiso rice, mentaiko aioli (AUD35).

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The batter of the fish is very thick and crunchy. It does not seem like the normal tempura coating instead appearing to have some rice crisps like batter. Fish was moist. I think the tempura is pretty special. Mentaiko sauce was lovely and matches well with the fish tempura. And I really really love the rice. It has this taste of plum which was very appetizing.

We both wished the rice portion could be larger!

The kids each had the tempura chicken which was good as well.

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Gratified thus far, we decided to tantalise our tasebuds further. We ordered a side and dessert to share.
Konbu steamed sliced wagyu beef, shimeiji mushroom, leeks, oroshi ponzu (AUD16) [I think oroshi ponzu is grated radish with citrus sauce]

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The hub ate two before giving me the last one. If I had eaten one first earlier on, I would have fought to have the second one. Wait a second, maybe I would just keep all three for myself!

Dessert was lava stone baked chestnut azuki bean wrapped in filo parcel with black sesame ice cream (AUD10).

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BEAUTIFUL. PERFECT.
The black sesame ice cream could have been stronger in taste but I really think it was fine like that too. If it was too strong, it might overwhelm the taste of the azuki beans?
The contrasting texture of the crispy filo pastry with the soft ice cream together in the mouth was a clever play.
The simple presentation of the long filo parcel and the round scoop of ice cream on the dark lava stone was somewhat aesthetically pleasing.

I’ve never eaten such lovely azuki bean dessert before. They are usually cloyingly sweet. But this is nothing like that.

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The dishes we had were well executed and it was a beautiful meal.

And who would have known, I would have such a wonderful gastronomic experience of Japanese food in a small town of Australia?

Price of meal: A$x
Fond memories: priceless.

 

1) Margaret River Bakery

Address:

89 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA, 6285, Australia
Tel: +61 8 9757 2755

Opening Hours:

7am – 4pm

Closed Sunday

 

2) Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre

Address:

341, Boodjidup Road, Margaret River WA 6285 Australia (opp Xanadu Winery)
Tel: +61 8 9757 2960

Opening Hours:

Sat- Thurs: 10am-4.15pm (Closed Fri)

Flying display (abt 30-40mins)

Walk through the centre to see the different birds (abt 40mins, short walk 15mins)

Admission: Adult- $17.00, Child – $10.00
Family – $50.00 (2 Adults / 2 Children; extra children $8.00 each)

 

3) Voyager Estate

Address:

Stevens Road, Margaret River, WA 6285
Tel:
+61 8 9757 6354

 Opening Hours:

Afternoon Tea starts at 3-4.30pm (no bookings req)

Lunch from Vintage menu

 

4) Jester’s Flat

Address:

1549 Rosa Brook Rd Margaret River WA 6285
Tel: +61 8 9757 4562

Opening Hours:

Open everyday except thurs.

 

5) Miki’s Open Kitchen

Address:

131 Bussell Highway Margaret River, Margaret River,

WA 6285.
Tel: +61 8 9758 7673

Counter seats and table seatings available. Booking is recommended.

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