As part of our winter escape / relaxation & recovery holiday to Margaret River, we naturally decided to sample some of the fine restaurants in the area. There are so many high quality places to choose from, but we started with lunch at The Studio Bistro & Gallery in Yallingup, which opens for lunch every day except Tuesday and offers degustation dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.
There is plenty look at (and buy) in the Studio Gallery, which presents a selection of new Australian artists and studio crafts. There is a working studio with two artists in residence and also a performance stage. You can find more about the gallery here.
You can sit inside or outside, and we made a reservation for 1pm however there were plenty of tables available on this wintery Monday. The service was friendly, attentive and efficient without being over the top.
There is a substantial wine list on offer, however I chose this Harcourt pear cider from Victoria ($14) which I haven’t tried before. It was really nice, I think having it served ice cold in a chilled glass helped.
To start with we ordered a warm baguette ($8) and a generous serving of Margaret River Venison Farm chorizo ($9). The bread was amazingly soft on the inside. I only recently discovered how good venison chorizo is, and I have to order it whenever I see it on a menu.
Renay chose the potato gnocchi with sautéed Narrogin mushrooms, peas, beurre blanc and parmesan from the vegetarian menu, which was absolutely delicious. She said it was the best gnocchi she’d ever had, and the combination of quality ingredients and flavours was exceptional.
This might look a little delicate compared to something that I’d normally eat, but once I saw it on the menu I knew I’d have to try it. It is a leek tart with compressed pear, blue cheese and witlof salad, pear emulsion and walnut crumble ($19). This was a vegetarian entree and was simply divine, a perfect combination of flavours and textures. Other entrees include prawn cutlets, steak tartare and a trio of salmon ($19-$22).
Keeping in mind the budget, expanding waste-line and tempting dessert menu, I resisted from trying a main course of slow cooked pork belly ($36) – it helped that they serve it with cauliflower cream, because no matter how hard I try I just can’t bring myself to like cauliflower. I did see it being served to another diner, and it looked phenomenal. Other main courses include fish of the day, sous vide duck breast, marinated quail and fillet steak (all $36).
Onto dessert, and Renay tried the chocolate ganache and pedro ximinez (sherry) tart with salted butterscotch and crème fraiche ($14), which was very rich but not too heavy and didn’t need pastry after all. The salted butterscotch sauce was amazing.
The passionfruit meringue pie was hard to pass up, however I chose the dessert special of the day, an apple & quince crumble with vanilla ice cream, brown sugar custard and mini palmiers ($14). This was the perfect dessert for a chilly winter’s day – the quinces certainly kept their heat right until the very end!
You can find the Studio Bistro’s different menus (including a children’s menu – lucky kids!) here.
Neither of us could fault anything about this meal, apart from me regretting not having the pork belly. This is one of the best meals I can remember having in a very long time, and the fact that I had a vegetarian entree for my main course shows just how good it was. We will most definitely be back again given the opportunity, and I can’t recommend The Studio Bistro enough.