Discovery Menu, Voyager Estate, Margaret River

There was rain lurking in the clouds but after parking the car, Jac and I stepped out into a magnificent property, a big sky land surrounded by scores of vines that rustled in the breeze.

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We’d driven the three or so hours from Perth to Margaret River for a long weekend organised by the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association, to be hosted by local businesses and restaurants. We’d skipped breakfast at home but stopped briefly for coffee and a shared sausage roll at the Miami Bakehouse Pitstop on the way – we were now ready for a late lunch at Voyager Estate.

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We followed the winding path that took us past topiary hedges, rose bushes and manicured lawns to the Cape Dutch-style manor house. Voyager Estate’s distinctive Cape Dutch gardens and architecture are inspired by the farmsteads of Cape Town in South Africa, a tribute to the first wine grape vines introduced to Western Australia in 1829 from South Africa. This grand estate would make a perfect setting for a classic murder mystery – whodunit, the retired colonel, the groundskeeper or the cook?

DSCF2378-2The Wine Room (cellar door) and Restaurant are in this white manor house.

We were here for the Discovery Menu, an interactive dining experience that tells the story of Voyager Estate and its wines from the vineyard to the glass. Each of the six courses represents a chapter of the story, and to go with each course/chapter, an illustrated postcard which is yours as a keepsake.

With each chapter, our waiter poured the wine and explained the symbolism of elements on each plate. It was a sumptuous, sensory, memorable meal, rich in flavour and texture as well as the pride and history of Voyager Estate’s story. The menu may vary seasonally, with ingredients sourced from local producers and produce picked from the kitchen’s herb garden. Allow three leisurely hours for this meal, and if you have it for lunch, you may not need dinner.

In the descriptions that follow, I’m deliberately leaving certain details out, so as not to entirely spoil the discovery. I’ll leave it to Voyager Estate to tell their story.

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Tomato water with herb oilThe amuse bouche of tomato water with a squirt of herb oil tasted green, clean and healthy!

Caraway bread with garlic and mushroom butter Caraway bread roll with garlic and mushroom butter – we tried very hard not to fill up on this, but gosh, that bread was good with the butter. Actually, I could’ve just eaten the butter straight from the jar.

Our waiter Manuela Our lovely waiter Manuela poured the wines and was our guide for the discovery.

PostcardThe postcards are beautifully illustrated by artist Simon Fieldhouse, a long-standing friend of Voyager Estate founder the late Michael Wright.

Dukkah-crusted labna egg,  beetroot soil, olive oil powder Dukkah-crusted labna egg, beetroot soil, olive oil powder, paired with 2013 Chenin Blanc. I usually find dukkah more like dust and so appreciated the chunky blend encrusting the creamy labna, adding addictive crunch and curry-like spice.

Pouring broth onto crayfish dish Pouring broth onto crayfish dish.

Crayfish, baby vegetables, saffron jelly Crayfish, baby vegetables, saffron jelly, paired with 2012 VOC Collection Sauvignon Blanc. Sweet crayfish, exquisitely tender baby vegetables and jelly that melted into the broth, probably my favourite course. Thoughtfully served with a spoon.

Pouring the Voyager Estate  2010 Chardonnay for the spatchcock course. Pouring the Voyager Estate 2010 Chardonnay for the next course.

Smoked spatchcock, mushrooms and chardonnay gel Smoked spatchcock, mushrooms and chardonnay gel, paired with 2010 Chardonnay. It was like a magic show, fragrant smoke escaping when the dome was lifted, revealing tiny mushrooms and spatchcock in a shape we didn’t expect.

Crisp pressed duck confit, fragrant broth Crisp pressed duck confit, orange peel and fragrant broth (in jug), paired with 2011 Girt by Sea Cabernet Merlot. I poured my broth into the dish and onto the leafy kale, not over the duck, so as to preserve the crispness of the skin.

Wagyu, potato twigs, truffle vinaigrette Wagyu, potato twigs, truffle vinaigrette, paired with 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. A hefty slab of beef – after all this heroic eating, I couldn’t finish mine. The ‘twigs’ (not ‘fries’) are part of the story, nothing to do with fine dining snobbery. I hate parsley and usually pick it off the plate – how do you get me to willingly eat it? Transform the detested herb into a ludicrously green 30-second sponge.

Citrus yoghurt mousse, coconut and white chocolate shooter Pre-dessert: Citrus yoghurt mousse, coconut and white chocolate shooter. The most sensory surprise crackled here!

2012 VOC Collection Cane-Cut Semillon2012 VOC Collection Cane-Cut Semillon – my favourite of the wines. As soon as I hear ‘cane-cut’ I’m there.

Citrus, macadamia, passionfruit Citrus, macadamia, passionfruit, paired with 2012 VOC Collection Cane-Cut Semillon. Lychee, passionfruit, crushed candied macadamia nuts and to my delight, more sponge.

Petit fours - Turkish delight, chocolate truffle and vanilla macaron with raspberry ganache Petit fours – Turkish delight, chocolate truffle and vanilla macaron with raspberry ganache – which we enjoyed with soy flat whites.

Dining roomThe dining room is gorgeous – spacious and elegant, with wooden furniture, tall windows, high ceilings and brass chandeliers. We were seated in comfy high backed chairs around a table tucked in a corner of the room.

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DSCF2382As you walk into the white house, you can’t miss the shop, a showcase of gourmet products. Among them, bottled non-alcoholic Voyager Estate Sparkling Grape Juice made from estate-grown grapes.

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Wine tastingThe Wine Room offers different wine tasting experiences. At the tasting counter, visitors can taste four wines from the Estate Range and VOC Collection – this option is free and bookings are not required.

DSCF2390There are also seated tastings with premium wines (price varies $10-$30 per person depending on the wines chosen) – guided or private tastings with the sommelier or self-guided with a specially designed iPad app. Bookings are recommended.

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Voyager Estate
Stevens Road, Margaret River, WA 6285
Telephone: (08) 9757 6354

We dined as guests of Voyager Estate.
Discovery menu

  • Food only $110
  • Food + matching wines from Estate Range and VOC Collection $150
  • Food + matching wines, with three museum vintages $180

A la carte dining is available from the restaurant’s seasonal Vintage Menu.
High tea is also available (24 hours notice required).

Voyager Estate also conducts Estate Tours that take visitors around the property in a 10-seater open-air bus to learn more about the estate, its vineyards and the winery.

DSCF2546The estate grounds are beautiful. After lunch, a walk was probably necessary.

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About this trip and this series – Margaret River 2014

We visited the Margaret River region in the south west of Western Australia for four days in May as guests of the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and were hosted by restaurants and businesses in the region.

We drove to the region and used a Margaret River Region Map to guide us to the stops on our itinerary.

The full list of blog posts from this trip is below, in reading order:

For more information about visiting the Margaret River region including how to get there, visit margaretriver.com

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  • Nice one. I really enjoyed my time at Margaret River when I was last there a few years ago. This place would’ve been such a perfect place to have a meal and really enjoy the area. Amazing wagyu!

    • Winston, I love MR. I’ve been a few times now and there’s always somewhere I haven’t been before or somewhere new. The Discovery Menu is perfect with great company and nowhere to rush off to. Wagyu isn’t my favourite beef but it was done very well.

  • It looks absolutely heavenly, and I love that everything comes with its own story. The smoke under the cloche in particular looks amazing!