Carilley Estate in the Swan Valley is set in pretty garden surrounds and is a popular spot for weddings. At lunch on the fairly bleak day we went along we were one of only two tables for lunch, but on previous visits, especially at weekends, it can be quite busy.
They serve their own wines as well as beers; the wine list is quite small – three or four whites and similarly reds. A glass of Merlot for Lady FWO and one of Shiraz for me seemed to fit the bill.
As far as the food offerings, if you weren’t looking for meat as a main you would have been somewhat disappointed – there was a vegetarian ravioli dish but no fish or other seafood, which was a pity. However we found three starters which sounded interesting and so we went with those to share.
Our first dish was described as blue swimmer crab broth, with golden pear and white fish croquettes.
This was served on a board – a couple of bowls containing shredded crab meat, toasted cashews and green leaves with a separate jar of broth poured over at the table; another tub of croquettes and a bowl of dipping sauce.
The broth had a savoury, earthy flavour with a hint of chilli to provide a little heat. It combined well with the crab meat, and the accompanying croquettes were nicely cooked – crisply skinned, moist, sweet flavours inside; a mild creamy dipping sauce completed the dish.
It was a little different and pretty enjoyable.
Garlic prawns were served in a metal ramekin, with green apple slaw sitting on prawn crackers and a serve of potato wedges.
It sounded somewhat strange, but the prawns were well cooked, firm to the bite, juicy and had a good hit of garlic – not much oil which we appreciated.
The slaw was fresh and zesty, and the prawn crackers were, well prawn crackers. The wedges looked a touch overdone – too brown – but they were pleasantly floury inside.
Our final dish, eggplant tart with pickled vegetables white miso and almond gazpacho wasn’t quite up to the standard of the others; while the pickles were good – crunchy, vinegary, the tart itself, in a short pastry, was very bland – it lacked seasoning.
The gazpacho also was lacking in flavour – a little more seasoning may have helped here, too.
All in all, Carilley offers reasonable food, and some of the dishes on offer show a bit of imagination and flair. On a sunny day it is a pleasant place to sit outside or at least by an open door to catch the rays.
The wines are not at the top end of Swan Valley offerings, but are of reasonable quality and you should find something to suit most palates.