Fine din­ing in cafe set­ting

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Dining -

The day was drear, windy and cold, hard to be­lieve it was mid-Fe­bru­ary.

We drove into the Clairault Win­ery af­ter tak­ing the old en­try road from Pusey Road and the first sur­prise was the ab­so­lutely stun­ning gar­dens and en­trance.

This set the mood for what was to come.

A wood fire was burn­ing in the main area, bring­ing with it that en­velop­ing heat that warms the heart on days like this.

At the cel­lar door, we tasted a se­lec­tion of semil­lons and chardon­nays and set­tled on a glass of the 2016 Clairault SBS to have with lunch.

I found a bot­tle of Stre­icker 2012 Iron­stone Block Old Vine Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon to take home and en­joy later.

Sur­prise fol­lowed sur­prise as we sam­pled the gen­er­ous of­fer­ings from the kitchen.

For starters, house-made bread with a pickle of home-grown gar­den veg­eta­bles and Wil­ura olive oil, fol­lowed by pa­prika-sprin­kled hand-cut chips with a com­bi­na­tion of aioli and their very own home­made roasted tomato bar­be­cue sauce.

This sauce has fen­nel seed, mus­tard, nut­meg and cin­na­mon with the roasted tomato, and cer­tainly has that wow fac­tor.

A bot­tle is com­ing home with the Iron­stone.

Main dishes are cho­sen from a se­lec­tion of tast­ing plates.

Very rea­son­able menu pric­ing be­lied the qual­ity and pre­sen­ta­tion of what was brought to the ta­ble.

We chose crack­led Tam­worth free-range pork belly on a bed of charred corn risotto with a roast pep­per com­pote to set the scene.

The se­cond share was South West lamb scotch fil­let with Ajoblanco (a type of Span­ish cold soup made from crushed al­monds) with Manchego (sheep’s milk cheese) and salmor­reta sauce.

Both dishes were cooked to per­fec­tion and pre­sented exquisitely, and they cer­tainly did not dis­ap­point.

The many flavours of these dishes were sub­tle and lively, all at the same time, fit­ting to­gether in de­li­cious har­mony.

It was an al­to­gether fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the guise of cafe food — an­other amaz­ing sur­prise. To fin­ish, we had the flour­less cho­co­late torte with home­made goats milk vanilla ice cream.

Nor­mally it’s a rich and dense dish to fin­ish with, but this was so light and airy, and the ice-cream cleansed the palate to end a very en­joy­able lunch.

Chef Alan, Si­mon, Ashlee and Sarah made the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence fun and en­joy­able.

They were very pro­fes­sional, ex­tremely help­ful, and al­ways had a smile on their faces.

All had a pas­sion for what they do, and a gen­uine in­ter­est in the di­rec­tion and suc­cess of their work­place — a win­ning com­bi­na­tion.

Live mu­sic was pro­vided by a duo in the din­ing room and added to the en­joy­ment of an al­to­gether won­der­ful af­ter­noon. I can see my­self mak­ing many more vis­its to Clairault to sam­ple more of their dishes and to re­plen­ish my dwin­dling wine col­lec­tion. We drove away with sated ap­petites, soothed souls, and not even notic­ing the bleak, grey day at all. I strongly rec­om­mend a visit to Clairault.

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