Margaret River – in and around Yallingup

On another morning, I cycled to Yallingup, a small town on the western side of the Margaret River peninsula that’s famous for surfing.

Map here.

I stopped for a second breakfast when I got there…

Caves House Hotel (Intermediate B), 18 Yallingup Beach Rd,

This is a historic pub with beautiful gardens.

It’s also a hotel and members of the public can pay to have the buffet breakfast.

To be honest the food is pretty average but you can sit out on the terrace and share it with the some new friends.

The main lounge has some nice Art Deco fittings.

And there’s some nice artwork on the walls.

This is called ‘Contemplation’ by Mark Norval.

From here it’s a short ride to the beach. The coastline here is rugged but beautiful.

You can just make out the heads of the surfers braving the huge breakers towards the end of this video. Here’s another video from a different angle.

From here I cycled 7km to my lunch destination although I stopped halfway to cool down…

Cape Lavender (Intermediate B), 2 Canal Rocks Rd,

I’m still not sold on lavender ice cream (C) but this tea room focussing on all things lavender was a nice spot to cool down for a while.

And then onwards to…

Wills Domain (Advanced A), 57 Brash Rd,

This was perhaps my favourite amongst many wonderful eating and drinking experiences in Margs.

Everything was perfect; the wines, the cuisine, the service and the view. A great experience all round.

Which explains why they have won the Good Food Guide ‘regional restaurant of the year’ award on several occasions.

I arrived late as the cycle ride from Yallingup took a little longer than I expected, so I forewent a tasting at the cellar door and went straight to my reserved table outside.

It gave me a great view of the vines.

I opted for the seven course tasting menu which was a snip at A$110.

The first things to arrive were a medley of amuse bouches that didn’t feature on the main menu.

The heirloom tomatoes and pickled baby cucumber from the kitchen garden were fab (A).

The best though was the cod roe with curd and local olive oil. Simply beautiful, both in terms of flavour and appearance (A+).

The bread and the accompanying truffle honey, the latter a new concept for me, were also wonderful (A).

After this came the ‘snacks’ which all scored A/B.

I was quite impressed to receive some Beluga caviar, even when the German chef who served it confessed he wasn’t keen.

I was served wine by Guillermo, an affable sommelier from Veneto with whom I got on very well, so the grading of the food seems to have gone out of the window at this point. Rest assured it was great, that’s all anyone needs to know.

I loved the Blanc de Blanc he matched with the earlier eats (A).

This was unique; Swordfish Toro, Mullumbimby Plum, Pepperberry.

Matched with NV Sparkling (B).

Here we have Grilled Asparagus, Shitake, Kai Lan.

Matched with a 2015 Single Vineyard Semillon (B+).

I opted for the ‘Broth Supplement’ and was very glad I did. The jamon broth, with the additions of grilled marron, mushroom and cos, was fantastic (A).

The Single Vineyard Chardonnay (A) was matured in young oak.

Then King salmon, Salted Kohlrabi and Cuttlefish…

…and a 2007 Semillon (B+).

Rangers Valley Beef Rump with Prawn, Celeriac and Miso.

The 2013 Cuvee D’Elevage Cabernet Sauvignon had a fantastic nose (A) but for me lacked in flavour (B).

Being the glutton that I am, I also added an extra cheese course to the tasting menu and insisted on having Australian cheeses only.

After this a palate cleanser of some kind.

Then a couple of desserts. First came Passionfruit, Hot Chocolate and Miso Ice Cream.

Which was matched with a 2016 Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling (A). For dessert Guillermo gave me the only wines that didn’t come from their vineyard.

Then Milk, Honey, Camomile.

Alongside a 2017 Harewood Estate Riesling.

A final chocolate cornetto sealed the deal.

With a macchiato, the bill came to a rather stunning A$316 but it did include a $90 bottle of the 2012 Chardonnay, the last one in stock, which Guillermo favoured over the 2014 I’d had earlier.

It was a pricey experience but I’d come to enjoy myself and I certainly achieved that. I cycled back to Dunsborough a very happy man.

Stats for the day:

43 km cycled.
2 parrots befriended.
20 kangaroos seen.
11 courses eaten.
9 wines drunk.
1 bed collapsed in.

So a good day then!

Heading further south down the coast next…

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