Dunsborough is around three hours drive from Perth, a popular holiday town located on the shores of Geographe Bay, in the South West of Western Australia. I was recently invited to join a media famil to Dunsborough organised by the Wyndham Resort Group Asia Pacific. We stayed at the Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough, attended a celebratory degustation dinner showcasing local produce and wines, and for two fun-filled days, explored the surrounds, including the Margaret River Wine Region.
Upon arrival at the resort, we checked into our individual apartments and snuck in a couple of hours rest before dinner. I was placed in a spacious ground floor two-bedroom standard apartment (one king bed + 2 single beds), with an open living area with a widescreen plasma television and DVD player in the lounge, dining table and a kitchen complete with full-sized fridge, microwave and electric stove. It’s a great setup if you plan to self-cater for at least part of your holiday.
In the kitchen, welcome gifts of chocolates and a bottle of MadFish shiraz – we visited MadFish winery during the weekend. I opened the fridge and discovered snacks left for me: a bowl of fruit (plum, seedless red grapes, mandarin) and a slice of chocolate cake. I kicked off my shoes, sat on the bed, munched on grapes and gave Jac a call to let her know I had arrived safely.
The upstairs apartments have balconies. On the ground floor, I had a courtyard that looked out onto the gardens. I’d prefer a more private courtyard but it was very pleasant sitting there in the cool late afternoon, listening to the swish of palm trees in the light breeze.
The beach isn’t far away – just follow the path past the tennis court, playground and barbecue area. There’s also a gymnasium and day spa at the resort but I’d be too busy getting out and about during my short stay to make use of those facilities. It was on this weekend I was surprised to learn that Dunsborough is a popular wedding destination – and accordingly, there are function rooms and a wedding chapel at the Wyndham Resort Dunsborough. See more photos I took of the Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough.
For dinner on our first evening we went to Toby’s, the Wyndham Resort Dunsborough’s on-site restaurant. We settled into the couches by the fireplace with kir cocktails made with sparkling wine and blackcurrant liqueur.
It wasn’t cold enough to light a roaring fire, but the couch was so comfy, the longer we sat there I found myself sinking deeper and sliding lower into the cushions (the cocktail may have also been a contributor). For a moment, I regretted not taking a nap and secretly worried that I’d nod off to sleep even before dinner began.
The main event tomorrow night would be the dinner with special guest chef Richard Ousby, the 2011 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year and sous chef at Quay Restaurant in Sydney, cooking alongside Toby’s Executive Chef Colin Lyttle. For tonight, Richard had the night off and joined us for dinner. He was really excited about the dishes he had created for the degustation and planned to go foraging at the beach tomorrow morning to gather sea herbs to use in one of them. He was happy to chat about what it’s like to work at Quay (he loves it) – no, he wasn’t working on the day of our meal of a lifetime at Quay, but yes, he’d heard all about it.
As we sipped on our kir cocktails, we shared a Toby’s Taster – with port wine pate, slices of slow-roasted pork belly and buffalo chorizo, confit duck salad, smoked chicken remoulade, pickled eggplant and housemade crispbread. Served with the tasting plate was fresh house-baked olive loaf and chorizo and capsicum loaf. The succulent pork belly was my favourite item, but I simply could not stop eating the duck salad and crispbread.
For main course, we moved to one of the tables with a view of the resort’s heated outdoor pool. Even on a chilly evening, the water looked gorgeously blue and inviting.
Half of our group chose the 250g eye fillet with cabernet merlot jus, potato rösti scented with thyme, garlic buttered broccolini and beetroot pickles.
The other half (me included) chose the szechuan maple crusted pork fillet with cranberry glaze, served with creamy parsnip, cauliflower puree, roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and buttered local asparagus. I was surprised when the dish arrived – there were three pork medallions on the plate, not a single fillet as I had envisioned. The szechuan pepper crust felt gritty under my teeth, but the pork was tender and flavoursome.
We shared two dessert platters – with rich chocolate brownie cake (I think the same as the cake in my fridge), pear and almond tart, pastry scrolls topped with glazed pear and fig compote, orange panna cotta topped with vanilla shortbread crumble and a smear of sticky thick toffee honey sauce, orange segments marinated in beetroot jus, raspberry sorbet, and three Margaret River cheeses served with lavosh crisps and chutney. The sorbet, panna cotta and cheeses were my favourite items. And oh, that toffee honey sauce – I think I ate more than my fair share.
We had an early start the next morning and a jam-packed itinerary planned. Stay tuned for more on my Dunsborough/Margaret River adventures.
More on Dunsborough
TFP stayed at the Wyndham Resort Dunsborough and dined at Toby’s Restaurant as a guest of Wyndham Resort Group Asia Pacific.
See more blog posts about my recent trip to WA’s South West.