Aravina Estate was the final stop on our trip to the Margaret River region as guests of the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association. We were met by Aravina Operations Coordinator Sandra Newland, who showed us around and joined us for lunch in the restaurant.
Some Western Australian wine lovers may remember this property; it was originally established as Amberley Estate in 1986. Reborn as Aravina Estate in 2010, it’s a magnificent 180-acre estate, grand and beautiful enough to be the setting for a soap opera, epic romance or murder mystery. French doors in the elegant white restaurant lead to an outdoor terrace with comfortable cane chairs and spectacular views – that is the place to be.
The winery and restaurant are impressive, but there’s a lot more here. There’s a cellar door (of course) and private tasting room. There are unique homewares and gifts for sale. It’s the South West’s secret haven for revheads, with owner Steve Tobin’s shiny collection of sports cars on display, including a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, famous for being one of James Bond’s cars; 1974 Holden L34 Torana; 1972 Valiant E49 6 Pack Charger; and the sleek, distinctive lime green 1965 Lamborghini Miura S that once belonged to famous 60s British model Twiggy – the full list of cars is online. There’s a children’s playground, and the restaurant offers a children’s menu. We took a peek at the 200-seater function room and the private parlour/green room, perfect for bridal parties. We walked through the kitchen garden; indeed some of the vegetables on our plates at lunch were picked from the garden that morning. An apple and pear orchard is planned for planting this spring.
Executive Chef Tony Howell is a rockstar chef of the region, best known for being at the helm of Cape Lodge for 14 years. He wasn’t in the kitchen on the day of our visit, but his team put together a wonderful lunch for us, showcasing Aravina Estate’s seasonal and locally driven cuisine.
We started with marinated olives, freshly baked Aravina Estate bread and whipped truffle butter. This was followed by Rottnest tuna sashimi with ginger jelly, and seared Esperance scallop with pork belly, paired with the 2013 Semillon. Scallop and pork belly are two of my favourite things, even better together, but the tuna was a knockout – amazingly fresh, moist and tender. Even with all of this before me, Sandra’s vegetarian alternative almost gave me food envy, with succulent king oyster mushroom, noodles, avocado, wakame, sesame quail egg and amber droplets of soy gel.
Next, the Pemberton marron, destined to be among my top dishes of 2014, glistening with sage burnt butter and begging to be plucked from the curled scarlet shell, served with scallop tortellini, creamed corn and juicy Swiss chard from the garden. It seemed almost a shame to cleanse our palates with the lemon sorbet, citrus sherbet and strawberries, but with the arrival of our main course we were delighted all over again by the steamed duck yellow curry with rice, silken tofu and fresh herbs, paired with Aravina’s 2011 Vermentino, a grape associated with Sardinia, where it it widely grown. The soft tofu and rice soaked up the curry gravy and the duck fell off the bone – all I needed was my spoon.
Finally, coffee and dessert tasting plates: flourless chocolate cake and chocolate marquise; pear and frangipane tart with honey semi freddo; and spice cake. The gingery spice cake with ginger syrup and ginger tuille was my pick of the bunch. Add honey semi freddo and that smooth chocolate marquise, and any chance of restraint was gone.
With the drive back to Perth ahead of us, we said a reluctant goodbye after dessert. It was an exquisite meal and experience we’ll remember.
61 Thornton Rd
Yallingup WA 6282
Telephone: (08) 9750 1111
Restaurant is open for lunch 11.30am to 3.30pm
Closed Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day
Cellar Door is open 10am to 5pm
We dined compliments of Aravina Estate.
And if ‘Aravina’ sounds familiar, it may be a case of mistaken identity – don’t confuse Aravina Estate with Arimia Estate. Both are in Yallingup, both well worth visiting.
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.
This is the final post in the series. The full list of blog posts from this trip is below, in reading order:
- Discovery Menu, Voyager Estate, Margaret River
- Bettenay’s – Margaret River Nougat Company
- Dining in Margaret River town
- Lake Cave, Margaret River
- Brookwood Estate
- Margaret River Chocolate Company and Providore
- Margaret River Farmers Market
- The Berry Farm, Rosa Glen
- Two days in Yallingup, Part 1
- Goanna Gallery Cafe, Dunsborough
- Two days in Yallingup, Part 2 – Aravina Estate – this post
For more information about visiting the Margaret River region including how to get there, visit margaretriver.com
Apologies for the lack of blog updates recently. I came home on the weekend from 3+ weeks in the United States and am still catching up. I’m also in the middle of a necessary blog redesign and move to a new web host. I took over 12,600 photographs while in the US and begun working through them while continuing to work on my blogging backlog of posts from Hobart, Singapore and Perth. I’ve got another overseas trip next month.
If you don’t follow me on Facebook, you may like to check out these photos from my recent US trip. You don’t need to be logged in to Facebook to see them. There is a lot more to come.
- Santa Paula, California
- San Francisco, California
- Cody, Wyoming
- Denver, Colorado
- Los Angeles, California