Fairbrossen winery in Carmel Road produce some very good wines, with grapes sourced from their Perth Hills site as well as another vineyard in Margaret River. They also have a café with pleasant views out across the vines and the valley below; on Friday I went along with daughter in tow for a taste of the wines and a little light lunch.
Vintage is in full swing so the wine cellar was closed – but tastings were being conducted in the café area and after a few tastes – and the review of the wines on display as well as others they produce in an experimental range, Side Project, with grapes from other regions, will be the subject of a forthcoming article – we went on to lunch. Suffice to say the wines are good, and competitively priced. Fairbrossen is worth a visit for those alone.
To the café and food – we sat near a window looking out over the vineyard and the wishing well at the front – and checked out the menu. Since I was here last the menu has certainly expanded from what was a range of vineyard platters – now as well as a breakfast menu (bacon, eggs various ways, pancakes) the lunch menu includes pâté, bruschetta, mushrooms to start, with the aforementioned platters, burgers, lentil patties and quiche as lighter meals, and beef fillet, fish, chicken, and beef and mushroom pie as more substantial offerings.
We decided, after ordering a couple of glasses of wine to accompany the meals, on Fairbrossen chicken and pan fried sweet lip snapper.
My fish, a sizeable fillet, was served with a salad of potato and greens, doused in a mild mustardy sauce; the fish had a well-browned slightly crisped exterior revealing tender, moist and juicy flesh. The salad was crunchy and fresh with the buttery, creamy sauce adding a little complexity.
The chicken breast had been marinated with bush spices and came with a salsa of chopped tomato, onion and basil. Tender and succulent the chicken was well-seasoned, with the spices providing an aromatic and slightly zesty lift. It was also accompanied by the potato salad with mustard sauce.
Fairbrossen is a casual family friendly spot – playthings on hand for the kids as well as a special kids menu. The waiters are welcoming and personable and the rural location is pretty and peaceful. The food is hearty, simply cooked café fare and well-priced. At the gateway to the many excellent wineries in the Hills, Fairbrossen is a perfect stopping place.
The very good wines adding to its attractions. The Perth Hills region, especially the Carmel and Bickley Valleys, is a hidden gem so close to the city and well worth a visit.