Dining in Margaret River town

To eat your way through the fantastic restaurants, wineries and food producers in the Margaret River region, you need to venture by vehicle beyond Margaret River itself; but there’s also great grub to enjoy right in the town centre. On our recent trip to the region as guests of the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association, Jac and I checked out three popular eateries located on the main street, Bussell Highway. It was approximately 20 minutes drive into town from our accommodation at Bettenay’s.

Muster Bar and Grill

We’re big fans of chef Russell Blaikie and have enjoyed fantastic meals at Must Winebar and Must Margaret River – which is now known as Muster Bar and Grill. We had dinner at Muster on the first night of our trip.

The place still has the familiar Must feel: floor to ceiling wooden wine racks that separate the bar from the dining room, converted wine bottle lamps hanging in the bar. Must signature dishes are on menu, including the wonderful Butterfield beef burger and angel hair pasta with crab and chilli.

We started with half a dozen freshly shucked oysters for Jac (with red wine and shallot vinaigrette $3 each, and ‘Cape Mentelle’ caviar chardonnay $3.50 each) and polenta bites, deep-fried crumbed cubes of polenta served with tomato chilli jam (AU$10 for 6 bites).

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For her main, Jac ordered a starter dish plus a spinach salad. The beef carpaccio was a meaty yet dainty presentation, thin slices of raw beef laid neatly on the plate, every piece meticulously adorned with grains, micro herbs, aioli and pickled radish.

Beef carpaccio (AU$16) - pickled radish, grains, aioliBeef carpaccio (AU$16) – pickled radish, grains, aioli

Spinach salad, avocado, feta, pine nuts, vinaigrette (AU$16)Spinach salad, avocado, feta, pine nuts, vinaigrette (AU$16)

I ordered the gnocchi with Arkady lamb, in a rich sauce with mushrooms, soft cooked tomato and gentle chilli heat. The lamb was outstanding – fall-apart tender and unbelievably flavoursome. Weeks later, we were still taking about the lamb – I’d eat this again in a shot.

Gnocchi with Arkady lamb, mushrooms, tomato and chilli (AU$21/36)Gnocchi with Arkady lamb, mushrooms, tomato and chilli (AU$21/36) – pesto and shaved parmesan on top

DSCF2654It was pumping in the dining room but quiet in the bar

Muster Bar and GrillMuster Bar and Grill

It was a busy and noisy Thursday night dinner. Not the venue I’d choose for deep and meaningful conversation, but for us, a really nice meal and an easy night out. Seriously oh, THAT lamb!

Muster Bar and Grill
107 Bussell Hwy
Margaret River WA 6285
Telephone: (08) 9758 8877

Morries Anytime

I had heard great things about the Morries breaky burger and I now can tell you: they’re all all true, magnificence amplified when you’ve got that burger in your hands. The chewy brioche bun is made by the Augusta Bakery, and it’s filled with plenty of bacon from The Farmhouse, smoky tomato relish, aioli, Swiss cheese and a crinkly fried Margaret River Free Range egg with a porntacularly soft oozing yolk. It got messier with every bite, but gosh, it was good. If I lived in Margs, I’d want this regularly.

Morries breaky burger(AU$13.50) with fried egg, bacon, swiss cheese, aioli, smoky tomato relish Morries breaky burger(AU$13.50) with fried egg, bacon, swiss cheese, aioli, smoky tomato relish

DSCF2756The money shot

Jac ordered the beetroot cured salmon, flame tree-coloured and served with fresh herb salad, crushed peas and crumbled feta on toast, with a jiggly 64-degree egg and a wedge of lemon.

Beetroot cured salmon, crushed peas, feta, 64 degree egg, fresh herb salad, lemon (AU$20.50)Beetroot cured salmon, crushed peas, feta, 64 degree egg, fresh herb salad, lemon (AU$20.50)

Virgin Mary and soy flat whiteVirgin Mary and soy flat white – top coffee of the weekend

DSCF2727A cosy corner to relax

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At night, Morries is a lively tapas bar and restaurant, but in the morning, it’s an easy-going, friendly cafe, opening its doors daily at 7.30am. We’d have loved to stay longer, relax with another round of coffee and watch Margaret River wake up – but we had an itinerary to stick to. I hope that breaky burger will still be on the menu next time I’m in town.

Congratulations to Morries Anytime on being a finalist in the Telstra Australian Business Awards!

Morries Anytime
2/149 Bussell Hwy
Margaret River WA 6285
Monday to Saturday: 7.30am to late
Sunday: 7.30am to 10pm
Telephone: (08) 9758 8280

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen

After two days of wine tasting and over-indulgence, we were glad to share small plates for dinner at Swings Taphouse & Kitchen, where Winos used to be. At Swings Taphouse & Kitchen, you can get Swings & Roundabouts wines on tap, an innovative way to deliver ‘drink now’ wines by the carafe or the glass. Tempting as it was to try the tap Chenin Blanc, we decided a break from the booze was sensible and necessary – so instead, we enjoyed Swings’ housemade lemonade, which was pleasantly tart and very refreshing.

Swings Taphouse Swings Taphouse

Raw fish isn’t usually my first choice on a chilly autumn night but the kingfish ceviche was immensely appealing after a day of rich food. It was fresh and light, juicy and piquant, coconut milky cool with bursts of red chilli heat, everything we realised we craved as we devoured the tender strips of fish.

Kingfish ceviche, chilli, lime, avocado, coconut, coriander (AU$17)Kingfish ceviche, chilli, lime, avocado, coconut, coriander (AU$17)

Marinated eggplant and grilled haloumi, a match made in heaven – enticingly salty and slightly greasy, hidden beneath a fragrant herby forest and squeaky where it should be.

Marinated eggplant, grilled haloumi, tomato and herb salad (AU$16)Marinated eggplant, grilled haloumi, tomato and herb salad (AU$16)

Our last savoury dish consisted of three fried harissa chicken wings, enormous wings apparently from 747 chickens, served with a wedge of lime for squeezing to make them even better. We reduced these wings to a pile of well sucked bones. My mum would’ve been impressed.

Fried harissa chicken wings (AU$16) Fried harissa chicken wings (AU$16

I spent dinner staring at the blackboard specials on the wall in front of me and I guess the power of suggestion did exactly what was intended. By dessert time I had to order the apple tarte tatin, served with vanilla bean ice cream. The magic ingredient was sticky, golden caramel: caramel-coated baked apples in a sticky pool of caramel in buttery pastry.

Apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream (dessert special, AU$14)Apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream (dessert special, AU$14)

We shared a second dessert – a gloriously molten dark chocolate souffle with banana toffee puree and coffee ice cream. The banana toffee puree was smeared on the wooden board so it needed to be scraped off with a spoon. I’m not a fan of the artistic smear as a plating technique because so few things look attractive when smeared on a plate – I can tell you that banana puree isn’t among them. It was delicious, but resembled spilled hummus or baby food (already mushed up on the table by baby).

Dark chocolate souffle, banana toffee puree, coffee ice cream (AU$14)Dark chocolate souffle, banana toffee puree, coffee ice cream (AU$14)

It was a really enjoyable meal. I always want to try everything but even gluttons have their limits – and that’s what ‘next time’ is for. Hopefully we’ll be up for a taste of the wine on tap, and I’d love to sit on one of the stools facing the wood-fired oven so I can watch ‘live pizza TV’… while maybe eating a Swings wood-fired pizza. But yes, I admit, these were my thoughts as I sat licking caramel off my fingers.

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Swings Taphouse & Kitchen
85 Bussell Hwy
Margaret River WA 6285
Telephone: (08) 9758 7155
Open daily 12 noon till late

Prices have been included in this post for your information, but our meals were compliments of Muster Bar & Grill, Morries Anytime and Swings Taphouse and Kitchen.

These are just three eateries on Bussell Highway in Margaret River – there’s plenty more to check out, but make sure you’ve got your eating pants on.

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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  • Dianne Bortoletto

    Great photos Cyn. I love it down south – so many gorgeous places to eat (and drink). The farmers markets are awesome and make me want to live there x

    • Cheers, Di. Yes, it is one of the most gorgeous places in the world, I reckon.

  • Definitely want to check out that brekky burger at Morries!

    I can’t believe Wino’s is no longer, that place was an institution.

    • GG, it is worth checking out for sure. I never went to Wino’s, but so many people tell me about it. I missed out!

  • Craig Hind

    Hmm, that certainly is the money shot isn’t it! That looks amazing.

  • That breakfast burger looks just to die for – that oozing egg is incredible!

  • Cindy M

    The breakfast sandwich (you *happily* got me started on an oozing egg in the middle of one) and the apple tart with ice cream. Yaaahhh!!

    • I can’t wait till the next time we go to Margaret River – I’ll be saving a special place in my tummy for one of those breakfast burgers.