Welcome back to the blog Naomi who today is sharing with us her experience at Pepper and Salt Restaurant and Forest Hill Cellar Door in WA’s Great Southern Wine Region…
After reading that Pepper and Salt had won the cellar door with the best food from Gourmet Trader for Western Australia’s Great Southern region, I just knew I had to make a booking to see what the fuss was all about.
The Pepper and Salt restaurant is part of the Forest Hill Winery grounds, and head chef Silas Masih has been cooking here since 2013.
Pepper & Salt Restaurant
As I had made a booking online for lunch, we opted to have our meal first and then head down to the cellar door, which sits underneath the restaurant.
I was excited to visit, as I had also heard that the menu not only changes seasonally, but it is designed to showcase local and fresh produce. Fellow Perth food blogger Perth Munchkin caught up with Chef Silas Masih to have a Q&A and talk about how he came about to live and work in Denmark and what influences his menu.
As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you get a sense of grandness and brightness.
The restaurant overlooks the rolling hills of Denmark, Karri Forest and a paddock full of vines. The venue consists of floor to ceiling glass which allows you really absorb the beauty of Denmark.
As we had made the booking on a weekday, and with plenty of notice, we were lucky enough to have a window seat to soak up the view.
Our wait staff were wonderful and helped to guide us in the right direction for food and drinks. We had the option of a two or three-course meal. I wanted the whole experience, so for $75, I went for three courses, while my friend opted for the two-course option.
We had plenty of options to choose from the lunch menu, where the chef mingles Fijian, Indian and Australian cuisine.
On offer was:
- Japanese rice porridge, fried sesame tofu, mushroom xo, soy mirin egg & garlic yakitori dressing
- Crab, prawn, Chinese mushroom & egg drop spicy long soup
- Roasted seven spice Nabawarra marron, cucumber kimchi, lemon myrtle coconut
- Seared scallops, pork and chive dumplings, soused red cabbage tom yum butter
- Seared cone bay barramundi, shellfish bisque, fondant kipfler potatoes, fresh fennel tomato salad
- Plantagenet spice aged beef eye fillet, duck fat delaware potatoes, buttered greens, oxtail ragout
- Char-grilled sumatran chicken maryland, charred pumpkin, lemongrass & galangal glaze, sour coconut
- Slow cooked kojonup lamb shank, parmesan croquette, gremolata, lamb jus
- Belgium chocolate ganache, blackcurrant jelly, chocolate ice-cream, p&s chocolate shard
- Vanilla & kaffir lime panna cotta, matcha shortbread, botrytis riesling & anise strawberries, chilli orange ice-cream
- Opihr gin & tonic tart, lemon curd, toasted tonic water meringue, gin candied citrus, vanilla ice-cream
Once we had decided what we wanted (keep reading to find out), it was onto the most important part of the day – selecting the wine to match our meals.
We opted for a glass of the 2014 Forest Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and a glass of the 2018 Forest Hill Mount Barker Riesling.
I was really interested to see a Gewurztraminer on the menu, however, this was only offered by the bottle and as I was driving, the Riesling was the closest match by the glass.
We made our selection for lunch and while waiting for our wine and meals to arrive, we opted to walk out onto the verandah to take in some of the views until our food arrived.
Each dish delicious and presented with such care and beauty.
Seared scallops, pork and chive dumplings, soused red cabbage tom yum butter
The Curry of the Day Lunch Special – Duck leg
Plantagenet spice aged beef eye fillet, duck fat delaware potatoes, buttered greens, oxtail ragout
Vanilla & kaffir lime panna cotta, matcha shortbread, botrytis riesling & anise strawberries, chilli orange ice-cream
Opihr gin & tonic tart, lemon curd, toasted tonic water meringue, gin candied citrus, vanilla ice-cream (gf)
Our meals were an absolute delight – both a good size and value for money. I left feeling very full and satisfied with my three courses. But there was more to come. Next up we visited the cellar door.
Forest Hill Cellar Door
There are two options to reach the cellar door. You can take the stairs which are found at the entrance into the restaurant, or you can take the pathway from the carpark and enter via these stunning large arched wooden doors.
The room is dimly lit, providing a sense of romance and almost a step back in time with exposed walls and beams that point you directly to the tasting area.
The room is grand in size and I can imagine there are many events and weddings held in this part of the venue.
The wine list is extensive, with three labels:
- The Block Series – made from small, carefully selected parcels of the best old vine fruit from the Forest Hill Property including the original 1965 vines. The wine is from vines that are low yielding due to age and relying only on natural rainfall and if the vintage proves to be challenging, a block wine won’t be made for that year. Wines include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling
- The Estate Range – made from the original Forest Hill old blocks and the best younger vineyards. Wines include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Gewurztraminer
- Highbury Fields – wine from this range are from the Mount Barker property of the same name, producing exceptional fruit with the dry-grown vineyards occupying the best soils on this historic property. Wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, and Chardonnay.
For the cooler months, I can imagine the green couches getting a work-out as guests enjoy sitting by the gorgeous open wood fire.