Dinner in the Swan Valley at Chesters Restaurant

Chesters Restaurant in the Swan ValleyForget Rockpool or Hippo Creek, your next fine dining meal needs to be at Chesters Restaurant on West Swan Road. The food, the wine, the service and the ambiance of this winery restaurant is I hate to say it but it’s ‘totes awesome’

I won’t mislead you; this isn’t a five fork, 6 wine glasses per table seating type of place. It is actually a rather casual rustic restaurant, which simply blew both Mr. Spittoon and myself away. We are actually both biting at the bit to get back there for round two!

Chesters is a 3 times wining gold plate restaurant. It is quite a small-scale venue so I would suggest to book ahead. I booked on a Friday morning for that night and thank-fully I got the last table for the night. Phewww!

Since it was a Friday and both Mr. Spittoon and I were looking forward to a drink or 5 we decided to taxi since it isn’t too far from where we live. I cannot remember our waiters name but he was truly awesome!! What he didn’t know about the wine he definitely made up for in his pours.

We thought we would start with a glass of the Heafod Glen (this is the winery attached to the restaurant) 2013 Verdelho since it won the critics award at Viva Verdelho 2013 for $8.50 a glass filled to the brim!! The fresh orchard fruit and honey melon flavours of the wine were a perfect complement for the Baby Turkish Bread, Dukkah and Smoked Olive Oil entrée for $12. The 50-cent surcharge for their speciality house-made smoked oil is absolutely worth it. Truly divine!
Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Breads & DukkahNext up we asked our waiter what he would suggest to go with the mains we had picked. He suggested a couple and he even brought us out a wee tasting sample so we could make sure they were the ones we were after. Awesome!

For the main I went for the Nacho crusted fish of the day, zucchini & coriander fritter, spiced red pepper coulis, jalapeno avocado puree, and sour cream for $39 with a glass of the Heafod Glen 2013 Semillon for $9. Absolutely divine meal, the aromas coming from that fantastically designed plate were sensational. My only critique of this meal was that I would have preferred the nacho chips to be put on last so that they were crunchy – I wasn’t really keen on the soggy soft texture of them. However I still ate every bite!
Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Nacho FishIt was hard to get any conversation out of Mr. Spittoon as he devoured his, he was utterly food drunk. His Seared and roasted Katanning rack of lamb, caramelised onion Yorkshire pudding, pistachio salt, port wine & thyme syrup for $39 was AMAZE-BALLS! The lamb was cooked to perfection and the Heafod Glen 2009 Cab Shiraz at $9 a glass topped it off nicely.
Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Lamb RackBy this stage I was rammed (where are those stretchy pants when you need them!) however since it had turned into a mini-degustation I HAD to have dessert! The highlight of dessert for me was a half bottle of the Heafod Glen 2013 Damascus which is a blend of Shiraz and Viognier to create a moscato style dessert wine. This $21 bottle made my eyes roll back into my head and thank goodness I was sitting otherwise my legs would have gave way. I’m not really a sweet wine fan but this gorgeous silver pink elixir seemed to have the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity that it went down a treat! Mr.Spittoon was lucky he got in quickly as I swear I would have downed it all in a couple of gulps.
Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Damascus 2013To match such a delightful wine I went for the $15 Eton Mess – Vanilla scented chantilly cream, meringue, confit strawberries, strawberry champagne jelly, white balsamic syrup and vanilla pashmak which was lovely however nowhere near as insanely tasty as Mr. Spittoon’s Sticky date pudding, candied walnuts, salted butterscotch sauce with tonka bean ice cream for $15. Heaven on a plate, seriously!

Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Eton MessChesters Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Check out the Chesters Restaurant menu here.

We ended the meal with a $3.50 short black each, boy I needed something to help digest all that tucker! It’s safe to say Chesters is definitely up there in my top 3 restaurants in the Swan Valley. I can’t wait to go back again!

For more information check out the Chesters Restaurant Facebook page.

Chesters Restaurant in the Swan Valley - Sticky Date Pudding

Dinner in the Swan Valley at Stewart’s at Brookleigh

Stewarts at Brookleigh - swan Valley Restaurant

It was a spur of the moment decision to visit Stewart’s at Brookleigh in Upper Swan, however I could not think of a more lovelier way to spend my Wednesday night. The property straddles the Swan River and it’s made up of accommodation, a health & day spa, an equestrian centre and of course Stuart’s restaurant.

The restaurant is in an old homestead style building with a modern twist. From the thick pieces of wood framing to the hanging lanterns. It has a sense of elegance yet a very cosy homely feel. We weren’t dressed to the nines and despite this we felt very comfortable, I guess you could say that it had a laid back glamour to it. The perfect spot to chill out after a game of polo perhaps!

I had made a booking earlier on in the day, just in case. The restaurant was bustling but not overly busy which made for a nice chilled out romantic evening. As I had perused the menu earlier on in the afternoon I thought I had made my decision… Until I heard the special of the day!

So here is what Mr. Spittoon and I ordered:

Entree:

Shared plate of shaved “San Danielle” prosciutto & “El Conquistador” Serrano jamon, marinated feta & grilled toast AU$18

Main:

Atlantic Salmon served with fondant potatoes, an avocado guacamole, steamed asparagus, dressed with a Chardonnay butter sauce and served with a wedge of lemon AU$36

Pork loin saltimbocca with sweet potato & pumpkin confit, green beans & Spanish ham AU$38

Dessert:

Flourless chocolate cake served with thick cream, chocolate crunchies and berry sauce AU$12.50

Vanilla cheesecake, lemon curd, caramel almonds berries and meringue AU$12.50

Entree at Stewarts at BrookleighSalmon at Stewarts at BrookleighPork 2 Ways at Stewarts at BrookleighChips at Stewarts at BrookleighDessert at Stewarts at BrookleighChocolate at Stewarts at Brookleigh

First up, I think all the prices above were great value and they are pretty decent for the Swan Valley as prices are seeming to soar at the moment. The entrée was divine, I love how they took the simple idea of meat, cheese and bread and made it amazing. It was a great start to our meal and teamed up well with glasses of Upper Reach Reserve Shiraz (read my tasting note here) and the Latour Charlemagne Médoc Cabernet Sauvignon (read my tasting note here). The Latour had us both gushing with delight, heavenly!

Next up, wow the mains were awesome! Mr.Spittoon loved his ‘pork 2-ways’ and my salmon… was absolutely divine! The bright yellow Chardonnay sauce round the bottom of the plate was to die for! The worst part of the meal was that they didn’t give me enough of that sauce, I was basically licking my plate to get every last drop of it! It also was a superb match to the Upper Reach Chardonnay (read my tasting note here).

No meal is complete without dessert right? We loved the sound of all 4 desserts on the menu so we figured instead of sharing one like we normally do that we would just get two and share those… Very logical! The cheesecake is actually a new addition to the menu at Stewart’s and kudos to the chef. Such a pretty and very tasty dessert. The mini meringues were gorgeous and that sorbet had us both reminiscing of jellytip ice creams (I’m not sure if these are only a New Zealand thing – think, chocolate, vanilla ice-cream and red jelly all mixed into one). However the super moist and absolutely delectable chocolate cake was literally a match made in heaven for our dessert wine the, Talijancich Julian James Reserve Muscat 1961 Solera (read my tasting note here and find out what a Solera is).

Stewart's at Brookleigh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato I am literally in a food and wine haze just from the memories of eating at Stewart’s. The perfect spot for a date night (Mr. Spittoon earned LOTS of brownie points for this one) or just a really delicious meal, laid black glamour style. I would definitely go back. Check out Stewarts at Brookleigh menu’s here.

Dessert Wine at Stewarts at Brookleigh

Rockcliffe Wine Dinner at Jezebelle, Guildford – Perth

Rockcliffe wine dinner at jezebelle in Guildford

I just loved the electrifying fizz of the two put together…

Jezebelle is a trendy little tapas type bar in the historic town of Guildford, a 20 minute drive from Perth City. Recently Jezebelle have teamed up Rockcliffe wines from Denmark, West Australia to hold wine dinners. These wine dinners are aimed at showcasing how food and wine can harmoniously and mouth-wateringly marry together. Wine and food matching is not an easy feat and the trial and error process can be exhausting, however Jezebelle & Rockcliffe will take care of that for you!

Rockcliffe wine dinner at jezebelle in Guildford
The dinner I attended was on Thursday the 30th of May. The evening begins around 6pm and finished approximately 9:30pm. The ticket price is a very reasonable AU$80 which included 10 wines (a glass of sparkling to start with following by about a 55ml pour of 8 different wines), 9 delectable tapas presented like works of art, a gorgeous host (big thanks to Phillipa!)  to guide you through the wine and food matching throughout the night and of course a great setting with plenty of fellow wine and food appreciators so you can mingle and chat the night away.

The restaurant is set up with long tables so you can chat easily and freely over your delectable delights. I have been to Jezebelle on various occasions, for breakfast (big favourite!! Read my review here), for lunch and for cocktails & tapas. I have never been a fan of the interior design of the restaurant, I am thinking maybe because every time I have been it was during the day however when having dinner at Jezebelle I actually thought the interior design felt at place. It seemed very suave and cosy, however the chairs didn’t get any more comfortable sadly.

So let’s move onto the actual wine dinner! Check out this gorgeous menu:

Rockcliffe wine dinner at jezebelle in Guildford menu
I have to admit the wine pairings were exceptional and it was great having all 3 tapas and the 3 wines at the same time for each course so you could play around with the flavours of the food and flavours of the different wines. My favourites of the night had to be the Tiger Prawn Taco (the guacamole was insane!) matched with the 2013 Riesling, the Beef Fillet with PX
Shallots and Blue Cheese Butter matched with the 2008 Shiraz and I just loved both the Baked Camembert & Quince as well as the Panna Cotta & Sherbet (this was a match made in heaven with the Sparkling Shiraz for me, I just loved the electrifying fizz of the two put together!). Check out my mouth-wateringly enticing photos here.

Rockcliffe wine dinner at jezebelle in Guildford first course

I actually have to admit I loved all the courses. My only qualms would be that some of my tapas were a touch cold when I got them, would have loved them to be a bit warmer but hey I still loved them. I also would have liked to have had different wine glasses, I know this is my wine snob side coming out, but I truly believe a decent glass can take a wine to that next level of enjoyment.

Jezebelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I will be popping up tasting notes in my 365 Wines in 2013 facebook album, please note there was absolutely no spitting tonight so all my notes are based on the full wine-food-atmosphere experience (that’s the best kind isn’t it?!). I definitely have taken away some new wine and food matching skills and I am looking forward to trying these new delicious combos on friends and family, watch out guys!

PS: Good news everyone, Jezebelle will be hosting a Spanish Wine & Degustation Evening as well as a French Wine & Degustation Evening over the next couple of months. For information on events at Jezebelle please click here. And for more information on Rockcliffe wines pleas click here.

Manhattan Grill – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Everyone loves a good steakhouse – minus the veggie lovers of course (though this may be the best one for the veggies of us anyway!). In the past 6 months I have visited the Manhattan Grill at Dubai’s Grand Hyatt twice and its horrible to say but everything bar the steak was exceptional. I don’t know if I am simply being fussy as I am no connoisseur of steak but really if I am struggling to cut through my medium cooked steak that is not a good sign. If this is really how they wish to cook their steak perhaps they should invest in sharper cutlery?

However on the other hand we have a beautiful ambience – dark wood, low lighting, candles and all the quirks for that perfectly romantic evening. Portions were great, with my chewy steak came thick potato chips on the side as well as grilled avocado (delish!), artichokes and spinach. The dessert was also delectable – Oreo cheesecake with a berry sauce on the side.

Now both times I went were work related, so the first dinner was completely matched with Edward Mouiex’s wines (unfortunately no Petrus but the Chateau Hosanna 2004 was surprisingly delectable), and the second was a GlenGrant dinner (a good single malt alternative to Chivas!). Though I was able to grab a couple of glasses off the wine list – with my cesar salad I was served something I knew oh too well – Wither Hills 09 Sauvy and in contrast to my last review of this wine it was a treat with the cesar salad – the freshness reflecting in both the food and wine. With my steak I was served a Brown Brothers Shiraz, which was as disappointing as the steak – I didn’t even finish the glass, which is so unlike me!

I would definitely recommend going there but perhaps opt for the lamb or salmon over the beef – and also make sure you take your date for a stroll through the indoor rainforest in the hotel. Yes, you read it right, indoor rainforest ! Only in Dubai !!!

Restaurant Wine Lists on iPads

A wine list in a restaurant can only say so much, and recently I have noticed they don’t seem to say the things which I actually want to know about the wine. Also the last thing I want to do on a date / lovely dinner is sit there and ask fifty billion questions to the waiter or sommelier about all the products on the menu – and rule of thumb is don’t piss off the people serving your food or drinks.

So when I heard about top Atlanta restaurant Bone’s implementing the iCellar I have started to believe that restaurant wining and dining is coming into a new area and I like it. Diners at Bone’s are not given a dusty old heavy leather bound wine list anymore but a swanky new iPad – holding tasting notes, ratings and all the info one could need about their 1,350 bottle long wine list.

Now there are two reasons I would not be a good date at Bone’s; firstly I would want to play with the toy and secondly, 1350 wines – I would want to crawl up into the corner with a glass of vino and read away, undisturbed. But really it is a fantastic idea and bulls*** about all this taking the job of the sommelier away – heelllooo I haven’t recently seen an iPad walking around lately with arms and hands to decant that Cab for me. Plus some people would prefer to discuss their choices so in the end it is just another aid to their wine service.

Bone’s have already noticed an 11% increase in wine sales, this could be due to the novelty of the idea but time will surely tell and if you ask me I am sure these handy widgets are going to be popping up in restaurants all over the globe.