Tag Archives: restaurants

Luxury Dining in McLaren Vale

Luxury dining experiences in McLaren Vale are set to challenge convention with the opening of the d’Arenberg Cube scheduled for late 2017. Offering sensory experiences designed to entice and stimulate the senses, the appointment of head chef, Brendan Wessels, is the first of many exciting announcements about this highly anticipated restaurant. Assisting with research, development and implementation of the culinary experience is Lindsay Dürr.

After many years training in a Michelin starred kitchen, travelling and learning about global gastronomy, and more recently working at The Lake House and Leonards Mill, South African husband-and-wife team Brendan and Lindsay are working together to create a unique dining adventure.  d'Arenberg Cube

“The restaurant will serve exceptional dishes that engage the imagination of our guests, amusing and delighting them,” Brendan said. “It’s not just about the food, it’s about the individual experience for each customer.”

The man behind the d’Arenberg Cube is fourth generation family member and current Chief Winemaker, Chester Osborn. “The restaurant is going to be very unique,” he said. “Every aspect has been carefully considered to create an environment that stimulates the senses, with a playful element. There are dining chairs that explode with colour, tables crafted from old oak barrels, and eclectic pieces of art I’ve collected over the years.”


Attica tops Gourmet Traveller Awards

Ben Shewry’s Melbourne eatery, Attica, has been named the number-one restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller magazine at an awards ceremony held at the Sydney Opera House last night.

Attica in Melbourne

Attica in Melbourne

The magazine’s editors singled the restaurant out for its surprising and highly personal take on fine dining, incorporating both indigenous ingredients (red kangaroo with bunya nuts, say, or whiting and pearl meat cooked in paperbark) and touches of whimsy, whether in the naming of some of the dishes, or leading guests into the garden, mid-meal, to stop by the ice-cream stand for a cone.

Other winners include Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Brisbane for Bar of the Year, and Magill Estate’s husband and wife team Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill awarded Best New Talent.

Wine List of the Year went to Perth’s The Print Hall, Nick Hildebrandt of Bentley Restaurant and Bar was named Sommelier of the Year, Christian McCabe from The Town Mouse won Maître D’ of the Year and the peer-voted Chef of the Year award went to Martin Benn of Sepia. Victorian restaurant, Brae, took out two awards – New Restaurant of the Year and Regional Restaurant of the Year.

The full list of winners can be found in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller.

Vasse Felix restaurant – The standard to be measured by

Hoping from winery to winery in Margaret River can give you a sense of a region, but sometimes it’s nice to be ensconced a location for a good few hours soaking in the wines, food and scenery.

Vasse Felix in Margaret river

Vasse Felix in Margaret River (image supplied)

Possibly one of the best meals I enjoyed in Margaret River was a relaxed lunch at Vasse Felix, overlooking the river and vineyards, dotted with sculptures.  The whole team – front of house, back of house, and cellar door staff – delivered an experience which many a winery restaurant could learn from.  In fact I would recommend all winery restaurants send their staff here purely for research purposes.

Vasse Felix lunch

Vasse Felix lunch

The food is modern Australian, meaning that executive Chef Aaron Carr draws inspiration from local produce and a broad range of international techniques.  The dishes complement the wines and the wines highlight aspects in the dishes, neither shouting over the other.

As an example; the 2010 Heytesbury Chardonnay’s complex funky wild ferment characters matched the gnocchi and truffle dish.  To make it possibly the best food and wine match I’ve experienced in a winery restaurant. And surely that’s what a restaurant is supposed to deliver and a standard to be measure by.

(Thanks to the team at Vasse Felix for assisting with this post).

Perth CBD’s Small Bars & Restaurants: The Hidden Resource Boom

At first glance Perth city may seem somewhat of a gourmet wasteland of office blocks and shopping malls.  This is slowly changing with the opening of a number of small bars, in addition to the quality restaurants.  Perth city’s treasures still lie hidden, to be discovered by those foodies in the know.

Perth City Bell Tower

Perth City Bell Tower

When you arrive at Perth airport for the first time, don’t feel left out if you forgot to pack any high-vis clothing.  It seems that everyone travelling through Perth Airport is adorned with this apparel.  No this isn’t Australia’s national dress, nor are they are super conscious about safety.  Rather the fly-in fly-out mining sector has a significant impact on Western Australia’s and especially Perth’s city economy.

This can also be felt with the price of accommodation and restaurants in Perth CBD.  There are higher occupancy rates at hotels and therefore higher accommodation rates than Sydney and Melbourne.  So come prepared; for example, $46 for (great quality) steak and chips.

Perth City Bell Tower

Bell Tower

While Perth’s CBD does have a number of commendable establishments, a good proportion are in the nearby suburbs of Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco, and Mt Lawley.



Within the Perth city a few of our favourites include;

Helvetica Bar

Helvetica Bar – in the daylight.

Lowdown or Standing Room Only – Both of these locations are great for the caffeine addicted.  Score your hit of single origin coffees, served by barista’s who know their trade.

Helvetica Bar – dont worry about the dodgy dimly lit Perth laneway, this chic little bar is a great spot for a range of classy cocktails, scotches and wines (with a noticeable proportion coming from South Australia).

The Cheeky Sparrow – a friendly spot for casual shared plate and a drink.  Can be quite busy at times, so be flexible.

Pata Nedra – in Nedlands (easy staggering distance from Perth CBD). Spanish tapas bar with relaxed service and incredibly tasty food.

Greenhouse  – both the building and the menu are designed with sustainability in mind.  A funky restaurant with a diverse winelist from WA and around Australia.

Halo Right on Perth’s Swan River’s edge, delivering modern Australia cuisine with enthusiastic and attentive service.

Glasshouse Restaurant

Glasshouse Restaurant in Perth CBD

1907  – in Queen Street.  Classic fine dining cuisine with a contemporary edge.  With a broad and an enthusiastically priced wine list.

Print Hall is Perth’s latest multilevel dining and bar venue to open at Brookfield Place precinct on St Georges Terrace, in the Perth CBD.  Print Hall has four levels of eating and drinking options. Paying homage to the heritage-listed Newspaper House on St George’s Terrace the Print Hall offers a bar and dining room headed up by David Coomer (Star Anise and Pata Negra).  Print Hall was the winner of Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award for 2013. The awards, presented by premium wine distributor Fine Wine Partners and Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine.

While Western Australia may be in the middle of a resource boom, some of Perth’s treasures are there for the finding.  And you don’t need to wear high-vis clothing to discover them.

Where are some of your favourites in Perth? Leave a comment or tweet us at @Que_Syrah_