There are many places to eat (and drink) in the Swan Valley, particularly amongst the selection of wineries in the area, although it can be hard to choose where to go – as well as varying quality there can also be vast differences in price from one place to the next. Thankfully the City of Swan is on hand to help, and offers the Swan Valley Food and Wine trail map to help you explore the area – download it here.
One relatively mild Sunday summer’s afternoon in February we decided to have lunch at the Houghton’s Winery Café. Given the time of year, we were surprised that there weren’t many people around, although the restaurant itself was quite busy. We had no problems getting a table, however, and you could even order from the restaurant and eat at a picnic table on the grass – a very nice touch. There were also groups who had brought their own picnic. You have to walk through the tasting area to get to the café so there’s plenty to see on the way through.
You can download the café menu here. The top half of the menu – and the highlight for me – was the “something to share between two” platters, and there are five to choose from ($45-$55). I was keen on the “mann” platter (peach & lemon chicken shanks, slow braised sticky pork ribs, nut crusted deep fried brie, flame grilled lamb, chef’s salad, chef’s relish, orange infused Kalamata olives, crostini & fresh baked bread selection) but Renay wasn’t convinced so I ordered the sticky ribs whilst she ordered the wagyu beef burger with caramelised onion, tomato, horseradish aioli & melted cheese served with chips & salad ($25). Various tables around were ordering the platters and they all looked quite delicious, not to mention beautifully presented.
The ribs were nice – but not the best I’ve had – and were coated in a mildy spiced, almost curry flavoured sauce. The chips were nicely spiced and very tasty.
Renay’s burger was huge, well assembled and full of quality ingredients.
I couldn’t resist the nut-crusted deep-fried brie at $8.50 for two huge chunks, some plum liquer and half a packet of crackers – outstanding value for money.
If you wanted wine with lunch you could order by walking back to the cellar, although this sounded like a nuisance – barging past the crowd of testers might prove to be a little difficult. The cafe offers a full selection of non-alcoholic drinks, including this rather nice iced coffee.
With drinks we paid under $50 for a very nice lunch for two in a beautiful setting, although I don’t know how enjoyable it would have been if it was more crowded. This would be a great place to go for lunch with a group of friends or family, with the sharing platters making the food choice easy. Recommended.
149 Dale Road
Phone: (08) 08 9274 9543 (cafe)