With daughter and prospective son in law in tow, the FWO headed to the Swan Valley – we were on a mission to buy some of Dorham Mann’s fantastic sparkling, and while we were out that way decided we should also visit a couple of other wineries for a tasting.
With that in mind, we also considered a spot of lunch essential. So we dropped into Stewarts at Brookleigh, on the Great Northern Highway. Brookleigh is a large equestrian venue and on any given day 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.
Anyway, the restaurant itself is in an attractive 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 picturesque.
Settling in we had a glance at the menu – it 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.
From the small plates a dish of Bang Bang chicken was chosen as well as some sweetcorn fritters, while from the large plates a fisherman’s stew and a pasta dish were our picks.
The chicken came with a green papaya salad with a sprinkling of fried peanuts and shallots over the top. It was slightly spicy, with a hint of chilli and ginger, and lightly poached. Bean shoots an vermicelli noodles completed the dish.
The fritters had been shallow fried and retained a lovely crunch, before the creamy interior was revealed – the tomato jam accompanying them had a little zing, as well.
The pasta – a large plate of spaghetti with a lot of smoked salmon and a cream based dressing drizzled over – was cooked al denté, and the saltiness of the seafood helped cut through the creaminess of the sauce, making it a well balanced dish.
I have had the fisherman’s stew on a couple of previous occasions and enjoyed it – this day was no exception. A large bowl full with seafood – fish, prawns, mussels and the like – soaking in a tomato soup flavoured with saffron, and accompanied by aioli and with some bread to mop up the soup. The seafood was all cooked well, still tender and moist and the flavours were well integrated.
With our meals, two of us had a glass of wine – a Watershed Rose and a Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, while PSIL went for a beer, James Squire Golden Ale.
We enjoyed the food, but had no time to linger as other obligations were calling so we toddled off towards Mann Winery and other points of interest.
Stewarts turns out good food and wine and is well worth a visit if you are out and about in the Valley and of course a must if you are into horses and similar pursuits.