We have long regarded the restaurant at Riverbank Estate as one of the best in the Swan Valley – and our visit on Friday evening confirmed that opinion. We went along to sample some dishes from the new menu which is moving away from standard entrée, main course towards the trending share plates arrangement.
Sitting inside the restaurant you have a fabulous view down across the vines to the river, and during the day sitting out on the covered patio is one of the better spots to relax in the Valley, we took this photo a few months ago.
The evening began with two appetisers – chicken liver paté, and marinated olives. The paté was rich, buttery and a backdrop of brandy or cognac giving it an added flavour dimension.
The small bowl of mixed olives in a sweetish chilli infused marinade – the marinade cutting though the bitterness of the olives to produce an array of flavours ranging from chilli heat through aromatic notes of cumin and black pepper; delightful. Even better we were given a small container of the olives to take home!
With the appetisers came a glass of sparkling rosé style wine – lifted strawberry aromas, with fine acid on the palate supporting raspberry flavours with a hint of citrus and a dry, satisfying finish.
On to the entrées and two boards – one of seared scallops and the other of soft shell crab.
Two crabs – moist and tender flesh inside the crunchy fried shell – sat alongside a salad of juicy sweet watermelon, halved cherry tomatoes, green leaves and boosted by radish and sliced chilli, and a smooth, mild mustard aioli adding a little pungency to the dish.
The second of the entrées was one of the hits of the night, we thought –tender, plump scallops, simply seared retaining their juicy ocean flavours sat on earthy, sweet green pea and aromatic mint purée, and were topped with strips of fried prosciutto – salty, crisp and crumbly. The combination of flavours and textures was spot on – an excellent plate of food and perfectly presented.
With the entrées we sampled two of the Estate whites – Chenin Blanc – a dry style with stone fruit aromas and melon and lemon flavours on the palate – and Semillon – aromatic nose of cut grass, lemon and lime, with a delicate citrus dominated palate; both excellent food wines, refreshing and elegant.
Two mains then made their way to our table – the first a brilliantly tender, meltingly so, piece of Wagyu beef, sliced and accompanied by a mound of spicy, sour kimchi and a bowl of dark dipping sauce – a mix of soy and sake producing a salty, sweet combo which really worked. Excellent.
The final main – squares of pork belly, roasted with a honey and soy glaze, unctuous, succulent, fatty and slippery, accompanied by a purée of sweet carrot pimped with ginger to add a mild heat buzz. Another beautifully presented dish.
With these, two reds – Merlot with a fragrant bouquet of black cherries and peppery spice while the medium bodied palate had an array of plum, chocolate and dark berry flavours supported by smooth tannins; and Sangiovese – a lighter style, brightly coloured with aromas of sour cherries, cloves and cardamom, and a palate redolent of mulberries and liquorice. Good accompaniments to the meat dishes.
Finally our dessert – a scoop of creamy, sweet banana ice cream atop a scattering of crushed nuts and surrounded by dabs of dark chocolate and caramel – another great looking, and tasting, dish to round off our night.
Riverbank is one of the Valley’s gems – they have built a deserved reputation for high quality and well-presented food; the restaurant looks the part, the tables covered in snappy napery and the waiters are friendly, professional, knowledgeable and welcoming. It is a popular spot for dining and increasingly as a function venue – beautiful surrounds add to its attraction in this regard. Highly recommended.
Disclaimer: Lady FWO and I were guests of the restaurant and all food and wine was supplied.