The Blue Duck, Cottesloe

Hi everyone,

While the family was in town a few weeks ago we went to The Blue Duck in Cottesloe to celebrate a family member’s birthday. I didn’t manage to get a photo of every single dish we had as there was too many of us but I managed to grab pictures of those around me before they proceeded to polish off their meals.

I got there a few minutes late and the tasting plates had already been partway demolished so I didn’t manage to get any pictures of those but everyone had enjoyed them immensely. I did however arrive in time to attempt to capture a shot of the sunset that night, unfortunately my phone’s camera could not do justice to the sunset that night as it really was spectacular with all the cloud cover that evening.

View of the Sunset from the table.

View of the Sunset from the table.

For mains there was a range of dishes ordered from the menu. Those which I managed to grab a photo of were:

Lamb.

Roasted Marinated Lamb.

Fish and chips.

Tempura Fish and chips.

Mushroom.

Stuffed Field Mushrooms.

Gnocchi.

Pan Seared Gnocchi (Entree sized).

The gnocchi dish was mine and it was delightful! I wish I had ordered the main however at the time I ordered I knew there would be cake so I didn’t want to have too big a portion, however upon trying the gnocchi I could have happily eaten plate-loads of this dish! The gnocchi melted in my mouth and was accompanied by pumpkin puree, roasted tomatoes, sage butter, feta cheese and cashew nuts of which none remained by the end and the flavours worked beautifully together! This is a dish you could safely say that I would happily reorder. I also had a chance to sample some of the lamb and boy was that tender and well cooked. The fish and chips also came with the most amazing sauce (grebiche). The chicken dish off the menu was ordered by some people on the night as well and was also enjoyed by many but I did not manage to grab a photo or taste of it. The portion sizes were also well done and everyone at the table was happy.

And as it was a birthday celebration cake was obviously necessary so we had a cake arranged through The Blue Duck. The supplied us with a carrot cake which was moist and delicious!

Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake.

I would love to come back here in the summer and sit out on the deck for dinner to see how it is out there. For me the food alone (the gnocchi in particular) is worth heading back for!

Until next time!

The Blue Duck on Urbanspoon

Swan Valley

Hi everyone,

With the overseas family in town over the weekend that just passed and we decided to take them to the Swan Valley so we could all explore it for the first time together. We only had a few hours in the Swan Valley and many of our visitors wanted to see the Woodbridge House so we ended up only going to two wineries and a nougat factory as my family has a long line of nougat lovers, and then ending our Swan Valley dash a quick late lunch at the restaurant by Woodbridge House.

1st Stop: Houghton’s.

Our first stop was at Houghton’s, as it is one of the most well known Swan Valley wineries and therefore one to show the international tourists. The grounds were spectacular and I will have to return in the future for a picnic there.

Wisdom Sparkling.

Wisdom Sparkling.

At Houghton’s they had a tasting flight of three white wines and three red wines for $3. In the flight we tasted:

Wisdom Pemberton Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay

2012 Wisdom Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Wisdom Pemberton Wooded Chardonnay

2010 175th Anniversary Limited Edition Red Blend

2010 Wisdom Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 C.W. Ferguson Cabernet Franc

Red's from tasting flight at Houghton's.

Red’s from tasting flight at Houghton’s.

I didn’t mind the white wines beside’s the Chardonnay, for some reason it did not impress nor appeal to me. The red were quite nice, they showed potential but were still quite young.

I left Houghton’s with a hamper of wines from Moondah Brook as we were not allowed to sample their wines and their Rose looked quite tantalising – we ended up having the Rose with dinner that night and it was a great wine for the summer! A full review of the Rose will be in Sunday’s post.

Moondah Brook Hamper.

Moondah Brook Hamper.

2nd Stop: Mondo Nougat.

We left Houghton’s and headed for Mondo for a quick stop here for some gelato and nougat for the rest of the day as well as a few pieces for them to take back home with them. The Nougat here is gluten and dairy free which is a big plus if you or any one you know who loves nougat has these alleges! Also in the shop was the cute Mini Cooper pictures below, not sure if I could drive something like this as it would continually make me hungry!

Mondo Mini Cooper.

Mondo Mini Cooper.

3rd Stop: Cheese Barrel and Olive Farm Wines

We ended up deciding that the Olive Farm would be our last stop before lunch as we heard it had the Cheese Barrel next door and being greeks anything with ‘olive’ in the titled would gamer our attention! The driveway to the Cheese Barrel and the cellar door for Olive Farm Wines was straight through the middle of the vines and with the blue skies that we had this past weekend it was photo-op worth.

Arriving at Olive Farm Wines and Cheese Barrel - wonderful driveway!

Arriving at Olive Farm Wines and Cheese Barrel – wonderful driveway!

Cheese Barrel Sign.

Cheese Barrel Sign.

Cute and unique seating at the cheese Barrel.

Cute and unique seating at the cheese Barrel.

We didn’t stay too long at the Cheese Barrel but we did grab a few different cheeses of which I have had some and they were interesting, the European cheeses were a lot stronger than the Australian cheeses I have tried in the past. Definitely will be visiting this place again when I head up to the Swan valley as the wine barrel tables were adorable and the view from the elevated location of the cheese barrel over the back of the property made for a relaxing location for a cheesy Sunday lunch.

Sign for Olive Farm Wines.

Sign for Olive Farm Wines.

After checking out the Cheese Barrel we walked over to the cellar door for the Olive Farm Winery and found the counter at the cellar door packed with people doing tastings – a good sign when you know nothing about the winery besides it being the first winery planted in the region.

At the cellar door I sampled:

Olivine Brut

2011 Dry Verdelho

2012 Chenin Blanc

2012 Viognier

2012 Rose (sweetish)

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Grenache Shiraz

2007 Shiraz

Liqueur Muscat

Liqueur Verdelho

Stari (fortified)

My favourites from what I tasted was the dry Verdelho, Viognier, Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Shiraz and all the Liqueurs were delightful also. I ended up leaving with a bottle of the Rose, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon and mum also bough a bottle of the Liquer Verdelho and we were recommended to try it over a quality vanilla ice-cream and this is something I am dying to try after hearing of it!

I will be back to try the rest of their wines for sure! And the two guys who were flat out at the counter of the cellar door were a delight to talk to and did a good job of looking after all the people who wanted to try their wines. Also the olives they had for tasting while they got back to you were delicious and well worth a visit just for their home-made marinade!

4th Stop: Woodbridge House and Riverside Restaurant

The portions were more than generous at the Riverside Restaurant. And the flavour combinations were interesting and in the case of the Spinach Salad they were delightful! The sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the salad that accompanied my Frittata was not the right dressing for my liking but other than that I could not fault the food. The service from both the owner and her staff at the restaurant was friendly and they went over and above what was needed to look after us even though we came in right at the end of their lunch service. I highly recommend the staff and food at Riverside!

Sweet Potato Frittata with Smoked Salmon.

Sweet Potato Frittata with Smoked Salmon.

Tasting plate of the day.

Tasting plate of the day.

Spinach Salad.

Spinach Salad.

This was a wonderful introduction to the region and I will be back checking out the wineries over this summer for sure!

Until next time!