Chows Table is a revelation – I had heard many compliments about this Asian influenced restaurant in the same complex as House of Cards winery but was not expecting to find just how good it is! The Malay/Chinese cuisine is superb. The room is beautiful as are the grounds viewed through the large windows, the service is spot on with the wine choices matching the food impeccably.
During these interesting times the a la carte menu has been placed on hold – instead a set price menu is offered – each table chooses three of six entrées and three of seven mains – along with steamed rice.
It was a tough choice with each dish described on the menu tempting – but we had heard that dumplings here are something to behold. So, the pork and chive and vegetarian dumplings seemed essential with Shark Bay scallops laksa flavours rounding out our starters, while Exmouth Spanish mackerel Malay curry, Shark Bay Venus clams and Spicy mapo egg tofu made up our mains.
And, indeed, the dumplings were sublime – the skins slippery and gelatinous dotted with sesame seeds, fried onion and chives; the fillings chunky and well-seasoned, while the accompanying sauce was wonderful – Chinese black vinegar and chilli oil based, it was salty, spicy, and bloody delicious.
Scallops, cooked on the shell, plump, succulent, with the characteristic flavours and bouquet of curry laksa – spicy, creamy, sweet – notes of lime and coconut and chilli, crisped curry leaves atop were a standout.
A large steak of tender mackerel, swimming in a rich spicy, tomato and chilli-based sauce, topped with sliced braised daikon kicked off the mains. Flavours and aromatics of garlic and ginger, lemon grass and chilli, turmeric and onion abounded, delightful.
A bowl of Shark Bay Venus clams steamed with salty Shao Xing wine and black beans came next – plump, juicy, briny, a taste of the ocean. Again, a beautifully presented dish.
The last, a custard of silken tofu nestling beneath a mildly spiced sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds, chopped chives and sprays of fresh fennel fronds, rounded out the meal.
The small wine list naturally features the wines of House of Cards – but with other wineries also making an appearance – and we found the Joker Rosé to be the perfect match – so much so we bought a dozen to go when we went to the tasting room after the meal.
There is a lot to like about Chows Table – effortless Asian fusion food, welcoming and gorgeous room and grounds, great service, excellent wine choices, pity it is so far from me, but that just gives me another reason to head south more often.