South West Tour Part 1: Bunkers Beach Cafe, Cape Kitchen, Vasse Felix, Margaret River Chocolate Company
I recently visited Dunsborough and the Margaret River region in the South West of Western Australia, a beautiful part of the country renowned for wineries, food producers and gorgeous beaches. We toured the region in a South West Coach Lines bus and followed a jam-packed two-day itinerary.
Bunkers Beach Cafe, Bunker Bay
We began the day with breakfast at Bunkers Beach Cafe, nestled in the sand dunes at Bunker Bay, with the beach and ocean a short boardwalk away.
We waited a few minutes for the cafe to open, enjoying the crisp morning.
Once inside, the cafe windows opened up to provide a spectacular view.
The sunlight streamed into the cafe as we sipped on coffee and pored over the menu.
Our plates were piled high. Bunkers' house made crumpet is served topped with a mountain smoked salmon, avocado and crumbled ricotta cheese (AU$19.50), garnished with a sprinkling of chopped chives.
One of the Cafe's most popular offerings is Yallingup wood-fired bread served with rocket, shaved parmesan, prosciutto and poached free range eggs (AU$18.50).
My breakfast was enormous - scrambled egg with nori, lupin tempeh crisps and toasted sesame on spinach and grilled Yallingup bread (AU$18.50). This is the egg-eating vegetarian's dish of choice - which of course means I ordered a side of bacon (AU$4) to go with it! The nori strips give a salty, seafoody flavour to the soft eggs and the lupin crisps add crunch. It's a generous serving, very filling and a unique way to serve scrambled eggs - but be warned, the fishy nori flavour won't be for everyone.
Bunkers Beach Cafe
Farm Break Lane, Bunker Bay (immediately adjacent to the Quay West Resort)
Naturaliste WA 6281
Telephone: (08) 9756 8284
Winter trading hours
Closed Wed and Thursday
All other days:
Breakfast 8.30am to 11am
Lunch 12noon to 3pm
Cakes and beverages 8.30am to 4pm weekdays; 8.30am to 4.30pm weekends
Private functions by appointment
Cape Kitchen, Busselton
Cape Kitchen is a gourmet food merchant and gift shop located in Fig Tree Lane in Busselton. The shelves are laden with local and imported products and speciality ingredients, cook books, homewares and kitchen nick-nacks. It's a treasure trove for food lovers.
Light lunches, coffee and tea, chocolate, cookies, cakes and muffins are available, prepared fresh daily in the shop's deli/kitchen. Our Wyndham Resort host Sue had arranged to pick up a picnic lunch for us here at Cape Kitchen. While the ladies packed our lunch into a cardboard carton, we didn't hesitate to explore the shop.
The cheeses in the display looked superb, but there were also delectable looking muffins and bread rolls filled with sliced cold meat and salad. In the fridges, some of my favourite food brands, including Blue Cow cheese, Holy Smoke and Maggie Beer.
There are places to sit and enjoy a snack, cake and coffee or a light meal.
For lunch, we each had a big slice of pumpkin frittata, studded with pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, garden salad, fresh cornbread and butter and a smear of Fat Hippo tomato chutney made locally to a South African recipe.
Cape Kitchen Gourmet Foods and Gifts
Shop 33-35 Fig Tree Lane
Busselton WA 6280
Telephone: (08) 9751 4350
More on Busselton See my Busselton series about my 2011 Easter holidays Busselton.
Vasse Felix Winery
We visited Vasse Felix, the oldest vineyard and winery in Margaret River, established in 1967. The street Vasse Felix is on, Tom Cullity Drive, is named after the winery's founder in honour of his contribution to the Margaret River wine region. I sold many a bottle of Vasse Felix wine in my hospitality days.
Regular readers will know I'm not much of a wine drinker. I skipped the wine tasting on this occasion but enjoyed the picturesque scenery. I did drink wine elsewhere on the trip.
Vasse Felix has three vineyards in Margaret River where the grape varieties best suited to each sub-region, soil type and topography are grown. The oldest vineyards are located here at the estate.
The striking timber and stone building that houses the Vasse Felix cellar door, restaurant and art gallery was constructed using local materials including granite that was removed from the first vineyard blocks at Vasse Felix in 1967 and wooden beams from the original Busselton Jetty. The art gallery features exhibitions from a collection of over 4,000 registered artworks by Australian and Western Australian artists, with a strong emphasis on Indigenous works. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and is available for private functions. The grounds are pristine and stunningly beautiful.
Lurking among the trees is a sculpture that reminds me of Aragog the acromantula, which is like a gigantic tarantula from the Harry Potter books. There are many more sculptures around the Vasse Felix grounds featuring (less arachnid-like) works created by local artists.
Our lunch was already spoken for, but I'd like to return sometime and dine at the Vasse Felix restaurant.
Corner of Tom Cullity Drive and Caves Road Cowaramup WA 6284
Telephone: (08) 9756 5000
Cellar Door opening hours
10am to 5pm, 7 days
Restaurant opening hours
Morning Tea - 10am to 12pm
Lunch - 12pm to 3pm weekdays
12pm to 4pm weekends
Art gallery opening hours
10am to 5pm, 7 days
The Margaret River Chocolate Company
The Margaret River Chocolate Company has been making and selling chocolate since 1999. You can get all kinds of chocolate products here - chocolate bars, handmade truffles, chocolate sauces, chocolate coated goodies and more.
The most popular corner of the shop has to be the free chocolate pastelles station where you can eat white, milk and dark chocolate pastelles to your heart's content. Grab a handful to munch on as you browse the rest of the shop.
The cafe sells hot and iced chocolate and a range of chocolate delights including chocolate fondue, mud cake, and brownies. If you'd prefer something savoury, you can get a toasted panini with roast beef, ham off the bone, turkey breast or the vegetarian option, with fresh tomato, zucchini and two cheeses, mozzarella and aged cheddar. You can also get an ice cream cone featuring local ice cream made by Simmo's.
There are over twenty styles of handmade chocolate truffles, nut clusters and chocolate-coated nougat.
There are also body products available including chocolate lip balm, chocolate-flavoured massage oils, chocolate bath salts, chocolate soap and cocoa butter. Just make sure you know exactly what you're buying so you're not disappointed when you get home and find that delectable 'chocolate sauce' isn't what you were expecting at all!
The Margaret River Chocolate Company
Corner Harmans Mill Road and Cullity Drive
Metricup WA 6280
Telephone: (08) 9755 6555
Open every day of the year 9am to 5pm except Christmas Day.
Cafe open 9am to 4.30pm
The Margaret River and Swan Valley chocolate factories provide viewing windows so you can watch chocolate products being made. Tip: If you'd like to watch the chocolate maker in action, don't go around lunch time! I must be the queen of bad timing as I've missed out on seeing the chocolatier every time I've been at the Margaret River Chocolate Company.
See my blog post A food Lovers' tour of the Swan Valley for a write-up of the Swan Valley store. You'll see the store layouts are almost identical.
There's a newish Margaret River Chocolate Company Concept Store in Perth city at 317 Murray St, next to Country Road.
TFP visited South West WA including Dunsborough and the Margaret River wine region as a guest of Wyndham Resort Group Asia Pacific.
See more blog posts about my recent trip to WA's South West.