Rivendell is surrounded by picturesque gardens on Wildwood Road in Yallingup. There are a few chalets near to the restaurant and Howling Wolves has co-located their winery to the cellar door, having moved from their old premises on Bussell Highway, nearer to Cowaramup.
The rain was coming down when we stopped for lunch so we didn’t take time to check out the surrounds but hurried into the cosy restaurant, taking a table by the window looking out over a covered deck, and streaming rain.
The small menu changes regularly, and on the day we dropped in included pork and mushroom spring rolls and chicken liver pâté, as well as the fried squid and roast pumpkin and kale dishes we chose.
Mains included duck breast with braised root vegetables, fried ricotta gnocchi, as well as our choices – beef bourguignonne and market fish.
Roasted chunks of pumpkin were served up with black kale sprinkled atop, and drizzled with a smoked yoghurt dressing and a zesty citrus vinaigrette; the pumpkin was well cooked, sweet and tender but still with a good degree of firmness, and the intensely flavoured yoghurt dressing provided an unusual and interesting lift. A hint of chilli and some macadamia nuts added to the flavour and texture combinations.
Crispy squid, in a light batter, sat on an aioli gently infused with wakame, topped by parsley, radish, coriander and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. The subtle sweetness of the seaweed complemented the tender pieces of squid, with the hint of chilli and fresh greens adding other flavour dimensions.
My fish, snapper I think, came on a cake of crispy fried rice, over a green papaya salad sitting in a coconut and kaffir lime reduction. The reduction had split somewhat although this did not detract from the flavour, only the presentation.
The fish was nicely cooked, moist, tender, and the refreshing slightly sour flavours of the papaya was an excellent backdrop. The rice cake was a little dry, but mopped up the sauce pretty well.
The beef, braised slowly with red wine and garlic was meltingly soft, deliciously unctuous, and potato dumplings and a variety of mushrooms in a rich, meaty gravy made for a perfectly hearty meal on such a wet, wild day. It looked good, tasted even better.
I was driving, and the rain continued to pour down, so we restricted ourselves to a couple of glasses of wine – firstly the Howling Wolves low alcohol Cabernáto, a moscato styled rosé, with toffee apple aromas, and sweet strawberry flavours followed by a glass of their Cabernet Sauvignon, plums and blackcurrants on the nose, soft chocolate and blackberry flavours on the palate.
We think Rivendell is well worth a visit – the restaurant turns out very good food, an interesting and changing menu selection; the wines are of a high standard, and the grounds – when you can get out and about in them – are quite enchanting. It is understandably a popular wedding and functions spot.