Brookleigh is a large equestrian venue on Great Northern Highway and on any given day, and especially during school holidays, you are likely to run into hosts of people decked out in jodhpurs, riding boots and hats, and lots of “Caution Horses” signs on the back of the equine conveyances – all part of the character of the Valley.
The restaurant is in a building guarded by a heavy wood and iron door, which once opened reveals a large dining space, with additional seating outside in a covered garden area. It is all quite attractive and appealing.
The menu is divided into small plates designed for sharing and larger plates which are more of a main course size, plus desserts, cheese and a special kids menu.
On the day we dropped by for lunch they had experienced some refrigeration difficulties which resulted in fish and duck, at least, spoiled on and off the menu.
From the dishes that were available we picked out zucchini fritters and salt and pepper squid from the smaller plates and Scotch fillet from the larger serves.
The zucchini and sweet corn fritters had been shallow fried, had a nice crisp exterior and inside were moist but a little doughy, however with a good amount of corn and zucchini dispersed through. The accompanying with tomato kasundi provided sharp, mild chilli zing.
The squid was very tender, well cooked, although the advertised Szechuan pepper was not particularly evident; for me it lacked the lifted flavours of that spice. Passionfruit drizzled over the crunchy slaw gave an interesting sweet note to the dish, but the chilli elements of the dressing also seemed missing. So, it was fine as far as it went, but a little more spice would have improved it greatly.
The fillet cooked as required, was tender, moist, with a nice crust; the potatoes were cooked up with sage, adding some nice aromas and flavours; brocollini and roasted cherry tomatoes accompanied the steak, along with a red wine jus.
The wine list at Stewarts is not large, but it has a bent towards WA wines, and Swan Valley wines in particular; although the only rosé on offer was South Australian – pity since the Valley turns out some good examples.
Anyway a glass of the aforesaid 2014 Hahndorf Hill rosé, and one of Yalumba Y Riesling, followed by a glass of 2012 Castle Rock Cabernet Merlot for Lady FWO and 2012 Upper Reach Reserve Shiraz for me were pretty good choices.
On previous visits, Stewarts menu seemed to have a little more flair, with Asian fusion elements lifting it out of the ordinary; having said that the food is solid and pleasant enough; it is a nice middle of the road sort of place, lovely surroundings and a must if you are into horses and similar pursuits.