The restaurant/café at Oakover in the Swan Valley has had quite a makeover – internal walls removed, floor tiles stripped off and the concrete polished, false ceilings removed, rustic wooden tables installed, distinctive red entrance doors.
As well, there is a long counter/bar extending down one side and around a corner to where the Fiori coffee roasting and grinding facilities are situated – this causing a heady aroma of toasted coffee to waft around the place. And you can sample some of the blends as well.
At one end of the large area are shelves holding wine and a few couches to settle in to drink coffee or wine, the rest of the space taken up by the tables and chairs of the dining room.
We were quite taken by a couple of tables made from old doors with various objects laid on them and then lacquered in place – one with spoons, another with brokens CDs and, for those of us who remember, broken vinyl records.
The menu is quite small, and geared towards share plates, with a few larger dishes also on offer. The food is simple pub food style. A charcuterie plate, fried chicken wings, burgers, steak sandwiches, pan fried gnocchi and salads are among the offerings.
Their own wines are available as well as a range of beers – including those from local hero Feral Brewing.
We dropped by for lunch earlier this week and came away pretty impressed by what we experienced. For our meal, we settled on beef cheek croquettes, fried prawns, and a side of fries.
The prawns – Clarence River school prawns from NSW – were served on a board; the prawns – small and sweet, bringing memories of those we used to catch in the Swan some years ago – cooked whole, crisp and crunchy, simple, delicious, and set on top of a creamy mayo.
It was a very tasty and well-presented plate of food, we thought.
Our croquettes were packed with gelatinous, fall apart beef cheek, slow cooked in a wine jus, tender, juicy, full of meaty flavours, and served over creamy mash. A good dish for a cool wintry day.
The chips also showed some good cooking skills – nice crisp exterior, floury, moist potato inside, and the cheddar infused aioli was a fine accompaniment.
With the food we enjoyed a bottle of Oakover rosé, made from shiraz, a lovely bright pink, with strawberry and red berry aromas; on the palate juicy raspberry flavours, and finishing reasonably dry. It is very easy drinking style.
Oakover has certainly stepped up from its previous incarnation, the food is admittedly simple fare, but it is well cooked and presented, the service we experienced prompt and friendly, and the atmosphere of the place welcoming.
The rustic fit out is appealing and outside the rolling lawns and pretty little lake – complete with paddle boats – make this an attractive option in the warmer months as well.