This beef rump cap elevates Vasse Felix to another level
compared to so many fine diners around Margaret River
We have been eating our way around Margaret River over the last few days that included lunches at Leeuwin Estate and Cullen Wines. And we find ourselves at yet another iconic venue in Vasse Felix for lunch today.
So much has been written up about these leading winery restaurants that our expectations seem to grow by the minute as we wander through these sprawling grounds.
If you’re not tasting wine, it is a good idea to take a stroll on the sprawling lawns around the vineyards that is sure to work up an appetite before the meal.
It’s a rather busy morning at the cellar door so we decide to skip tasting and head for the restaurant located upstairs.
There is a choice of bar style dining on high stools, al fresco that overlooks the beautiful vineyards and regular seating in the restaurant.
As it is the Christmas season, the restaurant is fully booked for lunch today.
Sourdough is always a good start for the palate to remain neutral especially if you are tasting the array of wines that included chardonnay, sauvignon blanc semillon, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.
Prawns, nectarine, iceberg, eggplant
We start off with a prawn salad of thinly julienned iceberg lettuce, nectarine and eggplant.
Flavours are beautifully balanced with the sweetness of chunky yellow nectarines currently in season and plentiful.
Emu, beetroot, macadamia, quandong
Flavours of diced emu are bold against the creamy nuttiness of macadamia. A single quandong offers a tangy taste against shards of sweet beetroot.
This dish turns out to be a delightful starter to our meal.
Cauliflower, yoghurt, pinenuts, mints
One bite onto a piece of cauliflower and I wonder why I have not been doing more of this at home.
Florets of cauliflower are boldly charred to impart smoky aromas against chilled yoghurt. Fresh mints leaves and roasted pinenuts are such a clever combination.
This humble side dish is good enough to be a star entrée in its own right.
Rye pappardelle, ricotta, broccolini, hazelnut
Sprigs of roasted broccolini are toasty with crumbly ricotta and crushed hazelnut.
Rye pappardelle might be getting ahead of this dish a little. I would have preferred regular egg pappardelle or perhaps a rustic hand-tear pasta.
Pork, daikon, witlof, peach
A chunky slab of pork belly with its super crisp rind is mouth-watering with thin ribbons of daikon and witlof leaves.
Peach is in season and offer a delightful sweetness that goes so well with roast pork.
Beef rump cap, mushroom, black barley, seaweed
Mysaucepan and I fell in love with beef rump cap (and also each other) when we first tasted a picanha rump cap cooked the churrasco style jointly hosted by Vic’s Meat Market and Tramontina, the supplier of quality meat knives.
A piece of triangular muscle above the rump section of the animal, the meat is cover with an even layer of thick fat on the top. Seared fat side down to an even medium rare, the ribbon of fat imparts a smoky charred flavour to the meat.
Paired with sautéed mushrooms, black barley and mushroom puree and seaweed, this is truly a standout dish of the three famous winery restaurants we have been thus far.
Barramundi, sunflower, celery, mussel
A fillet of barramundi a seared to deep golden brown, its skin crisp to the last bite.
We tried similar fish dishes at Cullen and Leeuwin in the last few days. The barramundi at Cullen was also spectacular and comes a close second to this one while the goldband snapper at Leeuwin is not even worth mentioning, let alone its ridiculously expensive price.
Apart from delightful company with Mysaucepan, my sister and mother-in-law, I am savouring this lunch slowly, bite by bite, convinced this is the standout lunch from our Margaret river sojourn.
Cherry, white peach, coconut, pink peppercorn
So dear readers, do you have a favourite winery restaurant at Margaret River?
Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive), Cowaramup,
Margaret River, Western Australia
Tel: +61 8 9756 5000
Opening Hours: Wine Tasting 10am – 5pm daily, no reservations required. Restaurant 12pm – 3pm daily, reservations strongly recommended.