Archive for the ‘Western Australia’ Category

Margaret River Gourmet Escape 2016

It’s the time of the year again to make plans to attend the upcoming Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Started in 2012, the festival this year will welcome over 40 culinary superstars from around the world including Nigella Lawson, Joan Roca, Dany Angove, Rick Stein and Singapore’s very own Janice Wong , who will share their knowledge and passion across an abundance of mesmerising food encounters. 

Margaret River Gourmet Escape

The festival boasts collaborative dinners, educational brunches, masterclasses, interactive question and answer sessions, held in various locations in the picturesque Margaret River. The Feast in the Forest, with meat cooked over an open fire sounds like just the thing I would want to go for if I were in Margaret River during the festival. Or perhaps the gourmet beach BBQ? And of course, not forgetting the Gourmet Village at renowned Leeuwin Estate Winery. Read more about the Margaret River Gourmet Escape here, but hurry, because tickets are running out fast!

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Perth – Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth

We stayed at the Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth, a service apartment, when we returned from our grand 5 day holiday in Margaret River. There are lots of options for accommodations in Perth city. One of the options was the service apartment/business hotel Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth, which we eventually settled for for the following reasons.


  1. Walking distance to Perth city centre – Where the shopping malls and car free zones are located (Hay Street / Murray Street). And also where the Perth Underground is located, for easy train access to numerous parts of Perth and beyond. There are also numerous eateries within 2 or 3 minutes walk from the apartment, as well as a supermarket about 5 minutes walk away.
  2. Along the CAT transport zone There are four CAT buses that ply the city centre for free, stopping at major places of interest. Interestingly, even if you board a normal bus, it’s free as long as you get on and off within the city zone limits.
  3. Service apartment amenities – It’s always such a convenience to have cooking facilities within the apartment because it means you can buy up delicious and beautiful local produce at farmers markets and cook them yourself! Particularly useful for us after amassing lots of goodies from our 5 day stay in food and wine paradise Margaret River.

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Aravina Estate

Even if you’re not a wine drinker, it’s still a good idea to visit a vineyard restaurant at least once while you are in Margaret River, or any other wine region around the world for that matter. As I can’t drink wine for the moment, it hadn’t really crossed my mind to put a vineyard restaurant visit into our itinerary, but it was great that we eventually did get the chance to visit simply for the views of the sprawling vineyard grounds. It’s one thing to walk through the vineyards (which itself is a lovely thing to do), but there’s a different experience to be had sitting and enjoying the views from a slight distance.

Aravina Estate (2)

Aravina Estate is popular as a wedding location and we bumped into a wedding entourage when we were there on a Friday afternoon. Sorry no blue sky picture for you since it had rained earlier in the day. Can you believe it, for the 5 days that we were in Margaret River, it had to rain on the day that we were going out to sea? So glad to have this beautiful lunch to look forward to.

Aravina Estate - French bread and butter

Warm crusty bread and French butter to perk me up and forget about my soggy shoes.

Aravina Estate - Citrus cured ocean trout, oyster cream, apple, burnt cucumber, celery (1)

Citrus cured ocean trout, oyster cream, apple, burnt cucumber, celery

As you can see, all the dishes are beautifully plated and well curated, with ingredients sourced locally as far as possible. Loved this deep pink ocean trout, the slivers disappeared far too quickly! Didn’t detect any citrus taste but I did notice that the trout was not as salty as when smoked cured. The sliced apples and puffed grains help to add a little crunch.

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Afternoon Tea at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort

When in Margaret River, wine is not the only beverage available. One can partake in the fine activity of sipping a spot of tea and having a few nibbles to go along, if you visit the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort near the Naturaliste Lighthouse. In fact, from now until 20 December 2015, you can enjoy their limited edition High Tea while enjoying a natural spectacle, the migration of the whales. They have a cute name for this too, it’s called Humpbacks and High Tea at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort. Makes me wish I’d bought a humpback whale soft toy to cuddle while writing this piece.

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort - Swimming Pool facing the ocean

The views!

If you’re wondering, yes I did spot quite a number of water spouts in the distance, which does indicate that the whales are out there. I didn’t even have to use the binoculars thoughtfully provided by the hotel to spot the water spouts. Unfortunately none came up close during the 2 hours that I was enjoying my afternoon tea. Not that I spent 2 hours watching for whales though, I quite forgot about them after the decadent 3 tier afternoon tea set was served.

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort - Three Tier Afternoon Tea (1)

Tadah, the 3 tier afternoon tea set

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Margaret River – Olio Bello Olive Farm + Cafe

When in Margaret River, it’s not just vineyards that you can visit. If you’re a teetotaller or just want to see more of what Margaret River has to offer, check out Olio Bello Olive Farm and Cafe. Apparently the hot summers are great conditions for the olives to grow and you will notice olive platters on many a restaurant’s menu.

I happen to love olives and had been gorging on them (like an entire platter to myself for 2 consecutive days since the Partner doesn’t like olives although he loves olive oil) so it made sense to visit the olive experts and see if I could stock up on olive oils and olives.

Olio Bello employs sustainable, organic food and farming systems, and everything that is grown on the farm is untainted by synthetic chemicals or fertilisers. Commercial olive oil makers use heat and chemicals for faster extraction of the oils from the olives, but not so for Olio Bello. Their extra virgin olive oils are unfiltered and allowed to naturally settle in stainless steel vats over a longer period of time.

Olio Bello Olive Farm (2)

You can visit their 10,000 olive tree grove to roam around on your own. I don’t think they do official tours on a regular basis, but if there’s a truckload of you arriving, they just might show you around the place.

Olio Bello Cafe - Augusta crumbed whiting, salad and beer battered chips $27 (1)

Augusta crumbed whiting, feta salad and beer battered chips $27

I highly recommend that you stop for lunch at the Olio Bello cafe like we did. Their fish & chips use Augusta whiting (a type of fish sourced from Augusta, which is like a 1/2 hr drive from Margaret River town) and it was simply delicious. We tried whiting in a couple of other places, but in my opinion, Olio Bello serves the best version. The fish was tender, piping hot and crispy. Dip that in the olive oil based mayo and you have a match made in heaven!

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